Sarah Palin doesn't want a feud with Michelle Obama. We think.

In a wide-ranging, unscripted address to business leaders on Long Island, Sarah Palin mixed in Michelle Obama, rising inflation, and her vision of the ideal presidential candidate.

Craig Ruttle/AP
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin answers questions at the Long Island Association Meeting and Luncheon in Woodbury, N.Y., Thursday.

Sarah Palin doesn’t really want to start a feud with Michelle Obama. At least, we don’t think she does. Ms. Palin did take a poke at the first lady during her hour-long appearance Thursday at the Long Island Association, a business group outside of New York. But she sort of softened the joke at the end.

Or perhaps she didn’t. Maybe we should just report and let you decide.

It happened at a point where the ex-governor of Alaska was talking about the potential for inflation in America. Gas prices are rising, grocery prices are going up, she noted.

Then she said this: “It’s no wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you better breastfeed your baby – yeah, you better – because the price of milk is so high right now.”

The crowd laughed. Then Palin did a bit of a back flip. “And may that not be the takeaway, please, of this speech,” she said, according to news accounts of her appearance.

Does that mean she kind of regretted the comment and wanted the crowd to forget it? Or did it mean she just wanted people to remember other things she said as being more important?

It’s true that Ms. Obama is urging mothers to breastfeed their babies as part of her campaign against childhood obesity. Conservatives sometimes belittle that overall campaign as unworthy of a White House.

Greece is the word

But Palin has made many comments recently about the prospects of inflation. Conservatives also worry that America’s huge debt will soon cause a fiscal crisis that might turn the nation into a place of sky-high interest rates, a debased currency, and rampant inflation. In other words, Greece.

For instance, Palin also told the Long Island crowd that she does not believe Congress should vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling – an issue lawmakers will soon have to consider.

Such a vote would simply “create the allowance for big spenders to get in there,” rather than keep the Treasury Department from defaulting on debt payments, said Palin.

Thursday’s appearance was unusual for Palin in that it was unscripted. She took questions from the president of the Long Island Association at the group’s annual meeting. It was a fund-raising opportunity, with the LIA offering ticket packages costing up to $50,000 apiece for corporate sponsors.

Someone like ... me

Palin was playful when asked whether she’s going to run for president in 2012. In describing what sort of person should lead the GOP ticket – theoretically speaking, of course – she outlined somebody a lot like herself.

“No one is more qualified, really, to multitasking and the things you need to do as president than a woman, a mom,” said Palin.

Whoever runs, the campaign will be unpredictable and feature unprecedented use of such tools as social media, she added.

“That’s what going rogue is all about,” she said.

Do we need to mention that Palin is highly experienced at using Twitter and Facebook to promote her message? She has about 2.7 million Facebook friends. Mitt Romney has about 700,000.

Guns and 'death panels'

In other comments, Palin defended her claim that Obama’s health-reform legislation would lead to “death panels” able to determine who receives what kind of medical treatment.

“My question was, who are these faceless bureaucrats on a panel who will decide? Will it be my baby with Down syndrome, who maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have. So maybe if rationed care is part of this, maybe he wouldn’t receive the care.”

Asked whether she would support additional gun-control measures in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Palin said she would not.

“There are already on the books many gun-control measures, and I do support those that are on the books,” she said. “I do not support taking away more freedom from the good guy.”

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