(AFP) – Nov 12, 2008
MIAMI (AFP) — Defeated Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin returns to the national stage here Wednesday for what could be the first stop of her 2012 presidential bid, with a starring role at a conference for Republican governors.
The conservative Alaska governor's emergence on the national scene as John McCain's running mate has been seen by many Republicans as the redeeming feature of their failed presidential campaign, setting her up for many as a hope for the party's future.
Palin is scheduled to deliver a speech on Thursday at the annual meeting of the Republican Governors Association on "Looking Toward the Future." She will also hold a press conference and conduct several national television interviews.
Since Democrat Barack Obama's historic White House victory on November 4, Palin has been a constant presence in the media, fielding nearly as many interviews in the last week as she granted during her entire run on the Republican presidential ticket.
Immediately following the defeat she told CNN television: "Right now, I cannot even imagine running for national office in 2012."
Five days later she told Fox news she hoped God would "show her the way" before she decides on a future bid for the White House.
"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door. Show me where the open door is," she said.
The Miami conference comes as Republicans are seeking a party leader to help them rise from the ashes of a Democrat drubbing at the polls, which lost them seats in the House of Representatives and Senate along with the White House.
Alongside Palin, the meeting will see other young Republican stars: Governor Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Governor Charlie Crist of Florida.
In post-election interviews Palin has presented herself as a key Republican mouthpiece, candidly assessing the party's defeat and laying much of the blame on the current administration of President George W. Bush.
"I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads, like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a 10 trillion dollar debt in a Republican administration?" Palin told the Anchorage Daily News.
She has also hit back forcefully against allegations from anonymous McCain aides who have blasted her for "going rogue" in the final weeks of the campaign and being hopelessly ignorant on a wide array of important topics -- even alleging she did not know Africa was a continent, not a country.
Speaking to the leftist blog Think Progress shortly after the election, Palin said the aide who leaked the confusion over Africa was a "small, evidently bitter type of person" and that the allegations were "foolish" and "false."
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