Friday, June 3, 2011

RCP: Palin Plans to Meet Key Early-State Leaders

It is increasingly apparent that she is seriously interested in the job.
For months now, the media has assured us that Sarah Palin cannot be seriously considering a 2012 run for president because she has not taken certain steps essential to mounting a presidential challenge. These include building a staff, meeting and greeting voters in the early primary states and meeting with elected and unelected officials in those same states.

Just three months ago, Gov. Palin hired Michael Glassner as her chief of staff, a move followed two months later by bringing Hoover Institution Fellow Peter Schweizer on board as foreign policy advisor. Just days before she launched her One Nation Tour, Gov. Palin reactivated event planners Jason Recher and Doug McMarlin. On the tour, the former GOP vice presidential candidate has conducted a virtual seminar on retail politics, meeting and greeting people every time the bus stopped, shaking hands, signing autographs, posing for photographs, engaging in conversation and passing out copies of the Constitution.

Despite all of these tell tale signs and a few others, such know-it-alls as Charles Krauthammer and Dick Morris have maintained that she's not running. These people couldn't be more in denial if they were standing waist deep in the middle of a river in Egypt. The refusal of such pompous pundits to wake up and smell the coffee prompted RealClearPolitics political reporter Scott Conroy to tweet,
"I predict if Palin announces her candidacy, there will still be people on TV giving reasons why she won't run."
Indeed. By sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting, "I can't hear Sarah running," Krauthammer, Morris et al cannot hear the sound of that other shoe pounding the ground, although they will soon feel its impact.

If meeting with Granite State Republicans at a clambake Thursday isn't compelling enough evidence for the naysayers, her breakfast with Sen Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and her comments afterward should finally raise the flag. Conroy reports:
The former Alaska governor had purposely steered clear of high-profile Republicans on the first leg of her nationwide bus tour this week, but that changed suddenly on Friday morning when she had coffee here at The Golden Egg Diner with New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte.

Palin endorsed Ayotte during her hard-fought primary battle last July, and in a brief interaction with reporters here, the former Republican vice presidential nominee indicated that she was not yet finished making the rounds with key GOP officials to whom she lent her support during the 2010 midterms.

"I just heard from Nikki Haley the other day in South Carolina, and she'd love for us to hit her state, too," Palin said of the first-term South Carolina governor to whom she provided critical backing last year.

Asked if she also intended to meet with Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad during her impending trip to the nation's first presidential voting state, Palin told RealClearPolitics, "I endorsed him, too, early on, so yes."

An aide to Branstad told RCP that Palin has not yet reached out to the Iowa governor.

Palin's eagerness to talk about her outreach to these three key early-state leaders is yet another indicator that she is earnestly contemplating a presidential campaign -- a decision that she may put off until as late as October.

Palin said that in addition to her impending visits to Iowa and South Carolina, she also now intends to take her bus tour to the West Coast.

The denier can continue to deny, but the longer they do so, the more foolish they appear to be. They can continue to make ludicrous pontifications, as did Krauthammer when he said Gov. Palin won't get into the race and shouldn't because, he claimed, it's Michele Bachmann's turn. When has it ever been a U.S. Representative's "turn" to be any political party's presidential nominee? With all due respect to the Rep. Bachmann, only one sitting Congressman has ever been elected president, and that was James Garfield in 1880. But none of the antics of the punditocracy can hide the obvious. Sarah Palin has taken and continues to take the steps necessary to challenge her party for its presidential nomination.

- JP

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