Sarah Palin is on the road, stirring speculation with a bus tour that she may be laying the groundwork for a presidential campaign in 2012.
The former Alaska governor's trip kicked off Memorial Day weekend in Washington, D.C. At the launch, she jumped on the back of a Harley and participated in the "Rolling Thunder" ride, which began at the Pentagon and concluded at the Vietnam Memorial.
The "Rolling Thunder" website describes the group as an organization dedicated "to bring awareness to the plight of prisoners of war (POW) and to those missing in action (MIA)."
Below, video of Palin at the kick-off of the event in the nation's capital. Scroll down for the latest updates on the potential presidential candidate's bus tour.
Via Patch.com, Sarah Palin and U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), made a surprise visit to The Golden Egg restaurant in Portsmouth on Friday morning for some breakfast before leaving New Hampshire.
At about 6:45 a.m., server June Ferland saw someone who she thought looked like Palin get out of a silver SUV and told her co-workers that woman looked just like the former Alaska governor, who had spent the night at the Residence Inn Marriott hotel downtown after attending a clambake in Seabrook Thursday evening.
Then Ferland realized it really the woman who was wearing a dungaree jacket and sported those familiar spectacles really was Palin.
"They just showed up," said Ferland who has met and waited on Presidential candidates during every New Hampshire Primary over the last 24 years including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who announced his candidacy for president in Stratham on Thursday, former President George W. Busy and former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani. ...
Ferland said Palin just had some coffee as she and Ayotte chatted. Piper ordered a cinnamon bun and some orange juice.
While following the Freedom Trail in Boston, Sarah Palin incorrectly recounted Paul Revere’s ride through the city to warn the American colonists of the impending British invasion.
Palin, speaking to the media at the Old North Church, said Revere’s ride was to warn the British that the Americans would be free.
Seeking to capitalize on Palin's stop in New Hampshire coming the same day as Mitt Romney's presidential campaign launch in the Granite State, the Democratic National Committee released the following web ad:
CNN's Peter Hamby writes in a tweet, "Palin just ripped apart Romneycare at Bunker Hill. Said Mitt will have problems with tea party folks."
During a stop in Boston, Sarah Palin came face to face with a female impersonator of herself. Politico relays a clip of the exchange that went down when the pair crossed paths.
Palin will be in New Hampshire Thursday -- the same day Mitt Romney is set to announce his presidential candidacy. Will any one pay attention to Mitt?
The Boston Herald's Joe Battenfield writes:
Romney, meanwhile, will be lucky to get a few hours of the spotlight with the more traditional "I'm running for president" speech today. The former Massachusetts governor has been running for years, anyway, so it's barely even news. The only news will be how much Palin disrupts Romney's event by coming to New Hampshire at the same time.
Palin, for her part, dismissed the fact that she's in the state on the same day as "coincidental."
"More power to Mitt as he mounts his campaign and best of luck to him," she told CNN.
On the way to Boston Wednesday night, Palin's bus narrowly missed the deadly tornado that ripped through Massachusetts.
Nico Hines, of the Times of London tweeted:
|@ NicoHines : So, just to be clear. A tornado ripped across the road in front of the #palinbustour - we don't know how many minutes difference yet|
The AP reports on the aftermath of the twister, which left at least four people dead:
The storm pulverized or sheared off the tops of roofs on Main Street in Springfield, a city of more than 150,000 about 90 miles west of Boston. A mounted video camera captured dramatic footage of a debris-filled funnel as it swept into downtown from the west, then crossed the Connecticut River.
Gov. Deval Patrick declared a state of emergency and called up 1,000 National Guardsmen after the storms, which brought scenes of devastation recently wreaked in the South and Midwest to a part of the country where such violent weather isn't a way of life.
While in New York, Palin stopped by Fox News, prompting speculation that she might be giving up her contract with the network in order to step up her political activities. After the meeting, however, Palin's status remained unchanged.
"Right now there is no change in her status with FOX News," executive vice president of programming Bill Shine said in a statement.
"I did get to speak to Roger Ailes, and we always have great conversations," Palin told CNN.
"Any time we get to New York I like to hop in and say hi to the folks there who work so extremely hard and get to see some of the hosts and some of the reporters," she continued.
HuffPost's Mark Blumenthal reports:
As Sarah Palin's unusual "One Nation" bus tour winds its way through the Northeast, Republican insiders seem convinced that the former Alaska Governor will not run for president. But if Palin defies the conventional wisdom and decides to seek the presidency, does she have a path to the Republican nomination? Although her negative ratings are high with Democrats and Independents, Palin remains popular with Republicans, and a surprising number remain open to her candidacy.
Among all adults, Palin's favorable ratings have grown steadily more negative since 2008, as shown in the chart below. These eroding numbers are why Palin fares consistently worse against Barack Obama than equally well known potential candidates, such as Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, in a series of national surveys conducted in recent months. (Huckabee announced in May that he will not run.)
Click here to read more.
Amy Gardner at the Washington Post reports:
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s bus tour of national historic sites this week has been more of a whirlwind of photo-ops than a deep dive into American history.
Palin skipped the slave quarters during a 45-minute tour of Mount Vernon, George Washington’s pastoral estate on the Potomac River. She spent 30 minutes studying the nation’s founding documents at the National Archives, less than an hour touring Independence Hall in Philadelphia, and only 20 minutes at Fort McHenry — not enough time even to enter the five-sided redoubt at the mouth of Baltimore Harbor.
Click here to read more.
Piper Palin appeared to physically block a reporter when he welcomed her mother to the City of Brotherly Love and tried to ask her a few questions. The former governor herself did not shy away from engaging with members of the press in a clip of the action from local station My Fox Philly.
CNN's Peter Hamby writes in a tweet, "Palin says she is meeting with bosses at Fox before departing NYC ..."
Sarah Palin is lining up additional legs of her bus tour, according to Real Clear Politics.
Following her current "One Nation" tour of the Northeast, Palin will next journey to the Midwest, where Iowa will be front and center. Plans are still being drawn up, but she may visit the World Pork Expo in Des Moines.
During the third leg of her tour, Palin will travel to South Carolina and may also appear at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where several other current and potential GOP White House hopefuls are scheduled to speak.
NBC New York reports that Sarah Palin signaled that she remains undecided on whether or not to run for president in 2012 on Wednesday morning. The former Alaska governor made the indication to reporters as she headed out to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. (Click here to read more.)
Below, a video clip of what Palin had to say from the local outlet:
View more videos at: http://nbcnewyork.com.
"Well, we do like each other and I will tell you more than anything else she loves this country," he said of Palin. "She's got a great passion for the country. I can say behind her back that there's no winking, there's no laughing, there's no smiling, she really loves the country. And, that comes through to me I think more than anything else. She really is passionate about what's going on and what's going wrong. And she picked up on my theme of China and a lot of people don't pick up on it. China's just absolutely ripping us. First thing she said to me was that nobody made that point better than you."
The indication from Trump comes one day after he met with the former Alaska governor when she stopped in New York City on her bus tour of the eastern United States. After much teasing that he could launch a campaign for the White House in 2012, the billionaire signaled last month that he would opt against entering the GOP primary mix.
The AP reports:
Sarah Palin and Donald Trump exchanged words of admiration Tuesday after a brief meeting at the real estate magnate's penthouse in a Manhattan skyscraper bearing his name.
Palin, the former Republican vice presidential nominee, said she and Trump shared similar ideas for improving the U.S. economy, while Trump called Palin a "terrific woman and a terrific friend" who he hoped would seek the GOP presidential nomination.
The meeting, part political parley and part reality TV show, capped the third day of Palin's bus trip through historic sites along the East Coast. Palin has said she is considering joining the field of Republican candidates vying to challenge President Barack Obama next year. (Click here to read more.)
Here's a picture capturing the pair in New York City via the AP:
According to ABC News, after meeting at Trump's apartment, Palin and The Donald will be dining at Famous Famiglia Pizza near Times Square Tuesday night.
"She wanted pizza," a source told ABC News.
HuffPost's Jon Ward caught up with Palin in Philadelphia on Tuesday:
"In a brief interview with The Huffington Post and Politico just a few feet away from the Liberty Bell, Palin continued to stick to her script, saying she wanted to 'highlight these historical sites.' She added she wanted to make sure 'that people are very aware of our foundation, learning about our past so that we can see clearly these days ahead that are going to be heady days ahead.'
That may be part of her rationale. But over the last few days other likely motivations for Palin’s free-wheeling and headline-grabbing road trip, which she said will head to New York next and then on to New Hampshire at some point, have become clear."
Read the whole thing here.
ABC News' Michael Falcone writes in a tweet, "Sarah Palin to meet with Donald Trump at Trump Tower tonight."
Click here to read more about the pair's plans.
Palin rolled into Philadelphia today and visited the Liberty Bell. "More than a hundred tourists, fans and members of the media -- and at least a few terrified/starstuck children" crowded around, ABC News reports.
HuffPost's Jon Ward reports:
Any chance that the trip held news value, as a result, had been severely diminished by the time Palin visited the Liberty Bell with her husband Todd, her 10-year old daughter Piper, and her parents Chuck and Sally Heath. That did not mitigate the media frenzy around her arrival here -- a pack of cameramen and reporters sprinted around the museum to try to catch a glimpse of her and a local TV station filmed her from a helicopter. It did however raise the question: What exactly does Sarah want?
(Click here to read more.)
Here's some footage of her bus rolling into the city, courtesy of the local NBC station.
Next up? New York.
"She may not be sure which way she wants to go yet. If she gets a good response and her numbers go up in polls she might take the campaign part more seriously," said Stephen Wayne, a political scientist at Georgetown University.
"Right now, she looks like Donald Trump," he said, a reference to the publicity-loving real estate mogul who earned a burst of attention earlier this year when he floated the idea of running for president.
If Palin ran for the Republican nomination and the right to challenge President Barack Obama, she would be the most well-known candidate in a field that has so far failed to impress many in the party. Her star power could be enough to help her catch up even after a late start.
Click here to read more.
In conjunction with stopping in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on her bus tour of the eastern United States, Sarah Palin took to her political action committee's website to share her thoughts on the historic site. Here's an excerpt of what she wrote in a blog post on Tuesday:
Today, when we speak of "fundamentally restoring all that is good in America," we remember the debt of gratitude we owe to those who sacrificed to create and preserve our union. From the Civil War to the struggle for Civil Rights, generations of Americans have made great sacrifices necessary to pass on to us this great gift of freedom. It’s our duty to them to preserve it, cherish it, and pass it on to our children, so "that these dead shall not have died in vain…and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."
When duty calls, are we willing to answer today? Please remember that freedom isn't free - the price paid for our liberty has been great.
The reminders of the past costs are seen at Gettysburg. The way forward in protecting our unified body is encapsulated in Lincoln's 2nd inaugural address: "...with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds."
Click here to read more.
Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, told reporters on Tuesday that he's not pushing her either way about running for president.
"It's up to her what she decides to do," Palin said. "It's her decision."
Todd also dismissed concerns that the family wouldn't be up to handling a presidential run.
"This family has been tested," Palin said. "These kids grew up around the mayor of small town. Local politics is in your face every day. It's not like you get on a plane and fly to D.C. or Juneau."
Todd spoke to reporters at a cafe in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, where the bus pulled over on the way to Philadelphia.
Palin may have disappointed fans waiting for her at Gettysburg, but she did indulge the throngs of reporters camped out at the Marriott hotel where she and her family were staying.Time reports:
When the elusive Palin finally emerged from the hotel wearing a white Alaska running store t-shirt, shorts and flip flops, 30 reporters converged on her to ask a barrage of questions as she posed for pictures with fans.Would her campaign look like this?
"It would definitely be unconventional and non traditional knowing us," Palin replied.Will she run for President?
"It's still a matter of looking at the field and considering much,” she said. “There truly is a lot to consider before you throw yourself out there in the name of service to the public because it’s so all consuming. Right now we’re just having fun."
As the questions continued, however, Palin's daughter began to tire of the media frenzy.
At that, Palin’s daughter Piper began to get impatient. “Okay, mom, please?” she begged. They started edging toward a waiting SUV.What are her big ideas?
“The big ideas are for big tax cuts in order for the job creators to be able to keep more of what they are earning,” Palin said.
“Ooookay, mom, please?” Piper said.
According to Real Clear Politics, Palin is using her bus tour as a test run to see whether her family can handle a presidential election campaign that will be heavily reliant on bus travel.
"The road trip was designed as a test run to find out whether she can execute a decidedly unconventional campaign game plan," RCP reports. "Palin -- and especially her husband, Todd -- is said to be leaning toward running. But multiple sources said that their foremost remaining concern was whether it would be logistically feasible for their large family to hit the road together for the next several months."
Sarah Palin has found a new way to keep her political faithful guessing.
Palin was a no-show for several hundred supporters, celebrity-watchers and media who turned out in hopes of seeing her at the Civil War battlefield of Gettysburg on Monday. She and her entourage arrived at a hotel outside the town late in the day and spoke to a smaller group of people gathered there.