Sarah Palin is roaring back on to the national stage with a strong speech and a new website, reigniting speculation that she will run for president in 2012.
In her first major political appearance in weeks, the former Alaska governor gave a speech in Madison, Wis., over the weekend and defended the state’s governor, Scott Walker, who has come under fire from liberals for curbing the collective bargaining rights of public employee unions.
Palin praised those in the crowd in the liberal college town who had faced “death threats and thug tactics” in their support of Walker.
She also ripped President Barack Obama and Republican leaders in Washington for not going far enough to cut the budget, saying those leaders “need to learn how to fight like a girl.”
And in a statement possibly hinting at her plans for next year, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate declared: “The 2012 election begins here!”
Palin on Monday also launched a new website for her PAC, her “first serious foray into online fundraising that harnesses her social network popularity,” according to Jay Newton-Small of Time magazine.
Politico notes: “The new site, in conjunction with the speech, is the first move in some time that will give oxygen to speculation that Palin is planning a presidential run.”
The new site, sarahpac.com, features videos of her Madison speech and several recent TV interviews, a sign-up box for email updates, and links to a contribution page.
The site “is a necessary step if Palin intends to run for president and for the first time gives her organization the ability to interact with her supporters by providing a centralized location to collect data and solicit donations,” Politico also observes.
Palin aide Tim Crawford said: “We needed a new website, one that was more interactive. We’re certainly engaging with Sarah’s supporters.”
Newton-Small’s recent article in Time offers “reasons not to count Sarah Palin out in 2012,” including her repeated statement that she would get into the race only if there was no other viable candidate and the Republican base’s current “hankering for a candidate” with “flair.”
Palin, Newton-Small declares, “still has the potential to be the queen of the tea party.”
He also points out that Palin has made “all the traditional motions of a presidential candidate in waiting”: She published two books; she endorsed, campaigned and raised money for midterm candidates in 2010; and she traveled abroad to Israel earlier this year, “an essential pilgrimage for any Republican presidential wannabe.”
Politico concludes: “After a period in which most of the coverage about her related to either her tangles with the media or falling poll numbers, expect to see more public appearances where she can take the offensive.
“Palin and her team recognize that with Republicans like Michele Bachmann and Donald Trump crowding into their spaces, that’s the way to remain in the mix.”
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