Palin ‘Won’t Close the Door’ on Presidential Campaign

Monday, February 8, 2010 - 12:25pm

Sarah Palin said she “won’t close the door” on a potential presidential bid during an interview on the “Fox News Sunday” program.

“It would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country,” she said.

Asked why she wouldn’t run for president, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee responded that she has not ruled it out.

“I would if I believe that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family,â€

Palin, 45, said she is receiving daily e-mail briefings on domestic and foreign policy from Washington advisers and that she is more knowledgeable on those topics than in 2008.

“My focus has been enlarged,” she said. “So, I sure as heck better be more astute on these current events, national issues.”

Palin said some of President Barack Obama’s decisions have been “misguided” and that he expects Americans to “sit down and shut up and accept” his policies.

“Instead of lecturing, he needs to stop and he needs to listen on health care issues,” she said.

War Card

Palin predicted that Obama could win a second term, if he “played the war card” and declared war on Iran or took other more aggressive military action.

“People would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, well, maybe he’s tougher than we think he is,” she said.

Palin is scheduled to campaign today for Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican facing a primary challenge from Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison.

She has been employed as a contributor at Fox News, owned by New York-based News Corp., since January.

The interview’s broadcast came the morning after she criticized Obama’s first year in office by saying “the list of broken promises is long” during a speech to the Tea Party movement’s inaugural national convention.

The campaign-style speech at a dinner in Nashville, Tennessee, was a frontal assault on the administration’s handling of national security and terrorism, even though she stopped short of declaring ambitions for a 2012 presidential bid as her audience chanted “Run Sarah, Run!”

America is ready for another revolution

Christmas Bombing Suspect

Palin questioned whether the suspect in the attempted Christmas Day bombing of a Northwest Airlines flight to Detroit was interrogated aggressively enough.

“Treating this like a mere law-enforcement matter places our country at grave risk because that’s not how radical Islamic extremists are looking at this,” she said. “To win that war, we need a commander in chief, not a professor of law standing at the lectern.”

The current Democratic administration can no longer blame its Republican predecessor for the nation’s ills, Palin said.

“They own this now, and voters are going to hold them accountable,” she said.

A hero of the leaderless Tea Party movement, Palin told the audience in the U.S. country-music capital that their grassroots efforts will empower voters.

Republican Primaries

Palin said she planned to endorse specific 2010 candidates and that the Republican Party should not be “afraid of contested primaries” within its ranks.

Her appearance — the first of several Tea Party events Palin plans to attend in the coming months — marked the end of the three-day National Tea Party Convention.

The convention at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel was the first national meeting of a movement that emerged last year amid protests over the policies of Obama and the Democrats who control Congress.

Palin is planning to speak in March at a Tea Party rally in Searchlight, Nevada, the hometown of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat who is in a tight re-election race. She is also scheduled to appear in Boston in April to mark the movement’s one-year anniversary.

Tea Party activists, drawn to Palin’s anti-Washington rhetoric and working-mother personality, would form a natural base for her, should she decide to make a White House bid.

Washington Outsider

Palin burst onto the national scene 17 months ago when Senator John McCain picked her as a running mate for his Republican presidential campaign. She sold herself as a Washington outsider and “hockey mom,” and after losing the election capitalized on her exposure with a $1.25 million advance to write her memoir, “Going Rogue: An American Life.”

“The more she can talk to them and talk to conservative evangelicals, the more she can have a passionate following and appeal to a fairly large swath of GOP voters and independent voters,” said John Feehery, who advised former Republican House Speaker Dennis Hastert.

“She has attained rock star status,” he said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean she has a great voice, but she has attained celebrity. For a lot of folks she is off-key. But for her supporters, she’s the best thing since Elvis.”

Feehery said he is skeptical Palin will run for president.

“What she is doing, frankly, I think, is trying to make some money,” he said.

Palin was paid $100,000 for her speech, according to the Associated Press. She told her audience she would give her compensation “to the cause.”