Sarah Palin Bus Tour Stokes 2012 Campaign Speculation

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   May 26, 2011   |   3:25PM   |   Washington, DC

Former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been seen for months as potentially unlikely to run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination to face pro-abortion President Barack Obama. Today, speculation is running rampant that she will run.

The new guesswork comes as the political action committee set up by the former governor announced she will unveil a feature-length film about herself that will premier next month in Iowa, the first caucus state, and tout her work as governor and the conservative record she built there. Palin has also reportedly purchased a home outside Phoenix, Arizona from which some political observers speculate she will base a presidential campaign.

But nothing is stoking speculation more than news unveiled today that she will embark on a bus tour that will take her across the country and have Palin in New Hampshire, home of the first presidential primary election. According to the SarahPAC website, Palin will start the tour in Washington, D.C. at the Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally and the tour will take her to numerous states over several weeks.

“Starting this weekend, Sarah Palin will embark on a One Nation Tour of historical sites that were key to the formation, survival, and growth of the United States of America,” the statement reads. “The tour will originate in Washington, D.C. and will proceed north up the east coast.”

Palin commented on the tour in commented posted to the PAC web site today.

“Our nation is at a critical turning point. As we look to the future, we are propelled by America’s past. It’s imperative that we connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward. A good way to do this is to appreciate the significance of our nation’s historic sites, patriotic events and diverse cultures, which we’ll do in the coming weeks on our “One Nation” tour,’ she said. “We’ll celebrate the good things that bring Americans together; those things that will give us the needed strength to meet the heady challenges ahead. I’ve said many times that America doesn’t need a “fundamental transformation,” instead we need a restoration of all that is good and strong and free in America! So, together let’s prepare ourselves for the days ahead by reminding ourselves who we are and what Americans stand for.”

“We’ll celebrate the meaning of our nation’s blueprints, our Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, which are the threads that weave our past into the fabric necessary for the survival of American exceptionalism. Our founders declared “we were born the heirs of freedom”, and despite our difficulties and disagreements, we remain one nation under God in freedom, indivisible. Through visits to historical sites and patriotic events, we’ll share the importance of America’s foundation,” Palin added. “We encourage you to support the pro-America events we’ll be privileged to participate in during these coming weeks. Discover the ties that bind Americans, our history, our traditions, and the exceptional nature of our country.”

After decisions by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, business mogul Donald Trump and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee to not seek the Republican nomination, some political observers thought the field may be set, with the exception of Palin. But her entry into the race could shake up the Republican primary as she would bring with her a core group of supporters and voters eager to see her run for president — but ignite other pro-life Republicans who like her but are concerned she would be trounced in a matchup with Obama at a time when the White House needs to be returned to the pro-life side.

Palin also raised eyebrows of those who thought she might not run when, last week, she told Fox News she has the “fire in the belly” to make a race.

“I think my problem is that I do have the fire in my belly,” she said on Fox News. “I’m so adamantly supportive of the good traditional things about America and our free-enterprise system, and I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012.”

Some see the bus tour as a way to gauge support for a presidential campaign should she decide to mount a bid and it could operate as a de facto exploratory committee.

“I’ve never really run for anything conventionally. … I’ve just jumped in there and done it when I’ve known it’s the right thing to do. So it’s going to be an unconventional run if I choose to do that,” she told Fox.