When Sarah Palin returned to Iowa on Thursday to promote her new book, America By Heart, the former Alaska governor and possible 2012 presidential hopeful found herself caught off guard when confronted by reporters about whether she plans to mount a bid for the White House in the next election cycle.
The unanticipated run-in between Palin and the press went down at a local Walmart in the Hawkeye State. With supporters of the conservative star on the scene, a crew from CNN cut straight to the chase and asked if she was any further along in her decision-making process about a presidential run. Jim Acosta and Bonney Kapp report:
The country music that Palin's handlers had blaring at the signing station presumably to drown out such questions suddenly stopped. We asked the question again.
"Am I doing interviews?" the former Alaska governor asked. "I thought I got to talk to the nice people. And where's our music and where's our good enthusiasm?" she persisted.
We repeated the question. "Not any closer. No," she responded.
Since breaking onto the political scene during the 2008 presidential campaign, Palin has developed a reputation for maintaining an icy relationship with the mainstream media -- or the "lamestream" media as she often puts it. Despite embarking on a book tour packed with public events, the Tea Party favorite has reportedly made attempts to dodge the press along the way.
Nevertheless, the CNN crew managed to hit Palin with one more question during Thursday's book signing. The topic: an apparent shot taken by rumored 2012 presidential hopeful Mitt Romney the night earlier on NBC's "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno.
"What did Governor Romney say on the 'Tonight Show'?" responded Palin when asked about the criticism in question, which seemed to take aim at her decision to resign as governor of Alaska.
GOP12 relays the exchange focusing on Palin that went down on the late night show:
LENO: Now let me ask: you were governor of my home state of Massachusetts. And this is the one thing I think will stop -- well, not stop -- but I think really impede Sarah Palin -- the fact that she quit as governor.
Now you were a governor of a state. Could you ever see yourself quitting for any other reason?
ROMNEY: No, it's hard to imagine a circumstance where I'd have quit. I loved the job. The truth was: being governor is the best job you can think of, because you have a real impact on the lives of people you care about, you meet wonderful people, you can improve schools, and get health care for folks.
After being filled in on what Romney had to say, Palin told responded to CNN, "Oh, he probably had some different conditions."
During Romney's interview with Leno, he also made a point to shower Palin with praise. "She's a remarkable, energetic, powerful figure in my party -- and attractive too," he said. "She's a qualified, capable person."