Ed Reinke / AP
Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin addresses attendees at the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Saturday.

Sarah Palin hints at presidential run in 2012

GOP superstar Sarah Palin said in an interview Sunday that she was open to a presidential bid in 2012, and that President Obama wouldn't win if elections were held today.

Will she or won’t she?

On Sunday, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) fueled speculation about a potential presidential bid when, after a rousing speech at the Tea Party convention Saturday night, Ms. Palin told Fox News Sunday that she hasn’t “closed the door” on a 2012 run.

“I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country,” she said, when asked whether she would consider running for president in 2012, adding, “I don't know if it's going to be seeking a title though.”

She would make a bid, she said, if she believed “that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so.”

Also supporting the idea she's considering a presidential run: Palin now receives daily e-mail briefings on domestic and foreign policy from a group of Washington advisors.

In her 2008 campaign, she was widely derided for not being sufficiently knowledgeable on policy, especially foreign policy.

On Sunday, she told Fox News’s Chris Wallace she was more knowledgeable now on these issues. “My focus has been enlarged,” she said. “So, I sure as heck better be more astute on these current events, national issues than I was two years ago."

Following an energetic speech that had the audience at the National Tea Party Convention cheering, “Run, Sarah, run,” Palin’s Sunday interview had political analysts upping the chances that she would take on President Obama in 2012.

Her tea party speech was “so much of a campaign speech," wrote the Atlantic's political writer Marc Ambinder, "that I am revising upward my estimate of the chances she runs for president in 2012.”

Palin’s speech at the closing of the three day National Tea Party Convention was perhaps her most high-profile since her turn as vice presidential candidate at the Republican convention in 2008. She spent much of her speech Saturday bashing Mr. Obama and the Democrats on the economy, on healthcare reform, and for being soft on terrorism.

Whether she will use the populist tea party movement – a broad collection of largely libertarian activists – as a springboard for her next political move was unclear Saturday night. While the tea party activists enthusiastically embraced her as one of their own, she disavowed any ambition to be their leader, saying it should remain a grass-roots movement.

Still, the tea party activists are a “natural base” for Palin, Republican strategist John Feehery told the Associated Press.

“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,” he said.

But Feehery said he is skeptical that Palin will run for president. “What she is doing, frankly, I think, is trying to make some money,” he told AP.

Other highlights from Palin's Sunday interview:

Eric Holder should resign: While giving Obama faint praise for sending more troops to Afghanistan, Palin criticized the administration, and specifically Attorney General Eric Holder, for trying the Christmas Day bomber and other terror suspects in civilian courts. “These are acts of these war that these terrorists are committing. We need to treat them a little bit differently than an American who is worthy – an American being worthy of our US constitutional rights. I don't think the terrorists are worthy of our rights that people like my son fight and are willing to die for.”

Rahm Emanuel should also resign: Palin criticized White House aide Rahm Emanuel for his insensitive language – he recently apologized for describing some people as “retards” – and for giving the president “poor advice.”

Obama's chances in 2012: If the election were today, “I do not think Obama would be re-elected,” she said. But he has a chance if he gets "tough" on terrorism, she added. “Say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.”

Repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” not a priority: “I don't think so right now," she said on repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the military. She added, "I'm surprised that the President spent that on his State of the Union speech when he only spent about nine percent of his time in the State of the Union on national security issues. And I say that because there are other things to be worried about right now with the military."


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