“The video ends with her signature mama grizzly giving a roar and a message: ‘Thank you Iowa! See you again September 3rd.’ Palin heads back to the first caucus state that day to headline a tea party rally.
“Although there has been speculation that Palin may make her announcement that day, sources close to Palin do not believe that is likely. She is still seriously considering the decision and her husband Todd is encouraging her to join the race.”
“In some ways, this will-she-or-won’t-she mirrors Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign kickoff in August. The signals all pointed to Perry announcing a run at the RedState event in South Carolina, but there was just enough wiggle room to keep the expectation building right up to the moment Perry officially announced. Palin could be, and probably is, doing the same thing with her Sept 3 Iowa speech. There is a GOP debate at the Reagan Library on Sept 7. That debate’s location makes it a natural place for Palin and every other GOP contender to stake their claim to the Reagan mantle, so my gut call is that if she plans to announce, Sept 3 is the date, to set up her first moment on stage alongside the other contenders at the Reagan Library debate. Giving a ‘major, major speech’ on Sept 3 and then passing on the big debate that follows just a few days later doesn’t make a great deal of strategic sense.”
“Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of event host Tea Party of America, told FoxNews.com he doesn’t know what Palin will do at the rally, but that ‘all we’re being told is that she’s going to make a major announcement.’
“Tea Party of America has already started running radio ads in Iowa promoting the event. And the group’s website has a poll asking readers not if but ‘when’ Palin will announce her candidacy…
“John Fund, senior editor with the American Spectator, said he thinks Palin is merely toying with the media. He said he does not think Palin will enter the race at this point, and dismissed claims that the Republican field is too flawed to be competitive against the incumbent president.
“‘Every Democratic field has been accused of having the same problems,’ he said, citing the 1992 field from which emerged Bill Clinton. ‘Once someone has the nomination, they will have demonstrated campaign skills, campaign abilities that will become apparent. And they will be competitive.'”
“‘This is her last chance,’ Rove said. ‘She either gets in or gets out [after the Iowa visit]. I think she gets in.’
“A late entry into Iowa always raises questions about whether a candidate has the time to raise money, build an organization and meet voters face-to-face. Rove was asked whether a Palin candidacy might operate from ‘a different playbook’ — that is, one that does not touch the traditional bases in Iowa. ‘She thinks the normal rules don’t apply,’ Rove said. ‘If you’re Sarah Palin, you just show up and the money comes and the organization comes and the people come.'”
“If Palin gets in, she is going to have to work very, very hard to rehabilitate her image among not just independent voters, but also — and I think this is key — conservative Republican voters who long ago gave up on the dream of a Palin 2012 candidacy and moved on. Many of those voters have signed on to other campaigns.
“While Palin fans may assure themselves that those former Palin supporters would come home quickly, I don’t yet see any evidence for that and think, at least initially, Palin would drag down everyone except MItt Romney.
“Don’t count Sarah Palin out. She keeps surprising everyone. But don’t count her the winner either.”
“Her brand depends on her running because if she doesn’t, her followers will feel let down and she will have no apparent next act. Once there are two new nominees on the 2012 ticket, she is old news with no office to change her narrative. By 2016 she would be ancient history with either a Republican president in office or with a brand new crop of highly qualified challengers ready to pounce on what should be the slam dunk of replacing a term-limited Obama.
“My prediction is that she gets in and runs almost exclusively an air war intended to create the appearance of a real primary campaign without any of the hassles. She knows that her vote is pretty much set in stone and it won’t be impacted much, if at all, by creating a traditional organization. If she is as smart as I think she is, her goal would be to exceed low expectations and finish a respectable second to Romney and thus use the campaign to change minds about her for the future. In a sense, she would then become a hybrid of Romney and Mike Huckabee after 2008: technically ‘unemployed’ but well known and respected enough to sustain her viability into the future…
“If things break her way, she could end up as the last Tea Party Star standing up against Romney (not counting Ron Paul) and it would be possible that Romney would not be popular enough with the base to reach the vote threshold needed to put her away. Still, she could not beat Romney in a protracted battle because, as Obama proved in 2008, winning a delegate battle is still all about organization, an area when Romney would dominate Palin, who frankly may not even want to actually win the nomination.”
Q: When is a good time? Do you have a timeline?
Palin: I have said that that August/September timeframe is important for logistical and legal reasons to jump in there, but…
Q: So by next month?
Palin: I think that just practically speaking that has to be kind of a drop dead time. Also, in fairness to supporters, who are standing on the timeline, and this is what I have told Todd over and over again, I don’t want to be seen as or perceived as stringing people along, asking supporters, ‘Oh don’t just jump in there on someone else’s bandwagon because I may jump in, so hold off a little bit.’ That is not fair to them. After another month or two goes by, they need to know who it is that they can jump behind. Now more than ever, everybody has got to get involved in this 2012 election. They need to get out there and campaign for their chosen candidates, its all the more reason to hurry up and decide.
A few moments later, there was this exchange:
Q: Will you know by the next time you are here in Iowa whether you will be in, over Labor Day?
Palin: I doubt it. By the next time I am here by September 3? I don’t know if within the next couple of weeks I will be ready for an announcement or not.
“Three years ago DC pundits predicted with glee the demise of Sarah Palin’s political career. This past weekend their tune changed, citing false information that she has made a decision and set a date regarding a future campaign. Any professional pundit claiming to have ‘inside information’ regarding Governor Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public. These are the same tired establishment political games that fuel the 24 hour news cycle and that all American’s will hopefully reject in 2012, and this is more of the ‘politics-as-usual’ that Sarah Palin has fought against throughout her career.”