Palin embraces unconventional strategy ahead of possible 2012 bid
June 1st, 2011
09:48 AM ET
3 years ago

Palin embraces unconventional strategy ahead of possible 2012 bid

Jersey City, New Jersey (CNN) - A presidential campaign typically begins at the micro-level in Iowa or New Hampshire, with small town meet-and-greets and well-timed endorsements from elected officials and grassroots leaders.

But nothing Sarah Palin and her team do these days seems typical.


Palin’s advisers are confident, in fact, that she can avoid entering the race until as late as October of this year, when certain states begin to have filing deadlines for their 2012 primary contests.

Yet while the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee will appear in New Hampshire later this week and has plans to visit Iowa in June, she appears in no hurry to reach out to local officials and political operatives in those key early states that hold such sway over the presidential nominating process.

“Well, I figure that politicians in office are really busy and they don’t need to be bothered by someone just knocking their door,” Palin told CNN and RealClearPolitics in a lengthy interview Tuesday at the New Jersey hotel where she stayed on the third night of her “One Nation” bus tour.

Palin’s detractors in the GOP establishment and in the campaigns of her potential rivals claim that such talk signals a politically-fatal lack of discipline or seriousness.

Their suspicions might have been affirmed Tuesday when news leaked that Palin was to meet with Donald Trump in his gilded apartment in Manhattan - hardly a regular night out for the kind of hard-working voter that Palin must win over if she seeks the GOP nomination.

Palin’s advisers, though, say that multiple factors, including a still wide-open Republican field, happen to be working in her favor as she contemplates a bid.

Her megawatt celebrity and built-in appeal to the Republican base gives her a more flexible timeline for making a decision about the race. While she may not be able to entirely bypass the political groundwork needed to mount a campaign, she can at least afford to delay the process.

Instead of hiring a large staff and building goodwill with all the right people in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the onetime city councilwoman and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska said she prefers a more homespun approach to politicking.

“We were in Wal-Mart last night in Gettysburg and I met one of the local city council members who happened to be there in line, so it’s not that we avoid them,” Palin said, once again pressed on her seeming indifference to building the political support traditionally required to mount a national campaign.

Her political skills were on display Tuesday during a bus tour stop in the central Pennsylvania hamlet of Dillsburg, where Palin breezed into a coffee shop and happily sat down with two locals.

With a common touch that sometimes seems to elude several of her potential rivals for the Republican nomination, Palin got the two men to open up about their personal lives before veering into a conversation about the sluggish economy.

“I would never lose that ability or that desire to get to be with that one-on-one relationship with people,” Palin said in the interview. “I think it’s the most valuable thing a person, a professional politician, anybody can have, is that desire to have that one on one relationship with people."

“That’s how you learn and grow and figure out what the needs and concerns are so that you can know what to concentrate on to help meet those needs,” she continued. “So yeah, if someone was to lose that, you become a typical politician. And that’s pretty tragic, in my eyes.”

Palin has also been at ease with the news media, her sworn enemy, throughout her bus tour. She has confounded both local and national reporters with her stubborn refusal to provide details of the bus’s itinerary, which is being planned out, often at the last minute, by Palin and her husband Todd.

But she has lingered with reporters and television cameras at several stops, ultimately granting more access to reporters outside of Fox News - where she has an exclusive contract as a network contributor - than at any point over the last two years.

Palin’s trip to New Hampshire later this week will be closely scrutinized, not just by the media but by the Granite State’s demanding primary voters, who insist on seeing candidates up close for several months before they go to the polls.

They might be miffed, though, to learn that Palin doesn’t regard them as any different from voters in other states.

“I honestly don’t look at states according to when their primaries are. To me, an American is an American no matter what their primary election dates,” Palin said, words destined to make blood boil in the offices of the New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board.

Palin said New Hampshire voters are special, “but not just because they have a certain date of a primary election.”

“They’re special because they are Americans and obviously they want jobs, they want safety in their communities, they want strong national defense, they want the same things that everybody else wants, so I don’t know, I guess that’s that non-politician in me not looking at a New Hampshire voter any differently just because they have, you know, an earlier primary than somebody else,” she said.

After the interview, Palin wandered freely around the lobby of her hotel, chatting with CNN photographers about good fishing spots in New York and posing for pictures with a few guests.

Mostly, though, she went unnoticed - a remarkable turnaround from just a few hours earlier, when she was mobbed by the press outside her Manhattan meeting with Trump.

She then sat in the hotel lobby with her mother and daughter, aides nowhere in sight, as she waited for a supporter to arrive from New York City to talk about the prospect of a campaign for the White House.

- On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on CNNPolitics.com and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.


Filed under: 2012 • Sarah Palin
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. foote

    CNN: Are you completely embarrassed about your coverage of this? Or only somewhat embarrassed?

    June 1, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. Sniffit

    L I P S T I C K

    June 1, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  3. John

    Saran Palin Is a IDIOT ,she could never win. All she will do Is be American laughing stock. All she does Is Spread hate and she LIES all the time. And she does nothing but Complain about everything. She never has any Idea of her own. And the Only reason she don't want to talk to the Media ,Is she know they will ask her she know nothing about. Fox news tell her a head of time of what they are going to ask her and than tell her what to say. She all so a QUITTER, I can't see why anyone would think this woman Is QUALIFIED to be President. They can't be that many IDIOT out there. Let face It you Idiot all ready make her RICH ,Isn't that enough.

    June 1, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    How a candidate runs a campaign office is a very good predictor of how they would run their elected office.

    June 1, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  5. Anonymous

    "unconventional" as stupid? "unconventional" as in scaring away moderates & independent voters? "unconventional" as in never going to get elected?

    June 1, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Idesign

    I see that Sarah Palin gets media all wee weed up....LOL

    June 1, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  7. Four and The Door

    Sarah Palin is showing a great approach to 2012. She is enjoying this, she is getting with the people and displaying a profound contrast to the arrogance of the other party's candidate. See, he knows what the American people want. His political advisors told him what that is. I think he underestimates the intelligence of the American public. Sarah Palin listens closely to them herself. Here's the difference. She respects the public.

    June 1, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  8. Just Me

    Enough of this idiot already! But I would be happy if she does indeed throw her hat in the Republican circus. I would be even more happy if she wins their nomination so that Oboma could mop the floor with her. Her one cell brain would not be able to keep up with the "lame stream media" or better debate Obama on a national stage. I sure wish Tina Fey would have given birth already and back in shape to portray her on SNL. We all could do with the comic relief. So come on Sarah...jump in. Remember that "fire in your belly'? It's 1600 Pensylavania Avenue calling. Go for it! Wink Wink (idiot)

    June 1, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  9. Emmet D.

    This reminds me of the movie "Idiocracy." The movie is about a future American, where society is so "dumbed-down" that even an average person of today would be a genius. Yeah...it's cool Sarah rides a Harley. Man, she can shoot! Wow, she speaks her mind! I bet she can smash beer cans on her forehead and belch louder than the average teenager. And she don't believe in all that "Edu-ca-tion" stuff. She's just like us! Make her president! It would be better than that snobbish O-bama-a. What's he got? Some fancy degree from one of them poison-ivy schools. Bet he can't star in a reality show!

    Talked to a neighbor the other day....a Rush ditto-head. Asked him what good things Obama has done for America. Couldn't think of one. Not even one? Even if President Obama was the worst President in our history, and that would take some doing, surely he's done at least one right thing...even if by accident.

    We've become a nation of "reality" show, talk-show, circus junkies. This is not the America our brave soldiers died defending. This has become something else.

    June 1, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  10. Chuck

    I find it amusing that Republicans don't realize the damage she is doing to her own party, except for the right wing christian MINORITY!!! She is giving them false hope, as the rest of the nation, including many republicans find her antics to be very childish and grandiose. Her mantra in all of her stops has not changed since 2008. She is still as hatefilled as ever, and has absolutely NO chance of winning a national election. I would much rather have someone in the White House with a brain in their head, than with a fire in their belly. She is embarrassing.

    June 1, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  11. Futon Torpedo

    When a real Republican candidate for POTUS shows up...wake me.

    June 1, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  12. Anthony

    You know the funny thing is, Sarah is actually doing something different and people are criticizing her. Hello Obama was not qualified to be president and he won. NOT the best choice in my opinion, but hey I am an American and my vote counts. I think it is great she is going out and seeing our contry. How many times can you say our President has gone anywhere that wasn't a disaster zone in our country? NEVER. He takes vacations, but doesnt get out and see our country, see our American people hard at work in the real world. Finally, at least she has the balls to go up Obama because someone as to and she is not affraid to say her piece. She is out spoken and that is what we need. Oh wait we also need someone who is willing to go the distance for our country and get our debt in control, get our people back to work, and start relying on our own oil, and our own resources that we offer in our contry. It would be amazing to see our country actually make something again compared to just buying everything from other countries.

    June 1, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Steve, New York City

    Why do elements of the extreme right lionize stupidity?

    We have so many urgent needs as a country and as a society. Members of the media, if you're going to bludgeon me with imbeciles, then I'd say at least give me more Charlie Sheen (equal entertainment value, and is not looking to become president of the USA – in contrast, this makes Palin an "EXTREMELY DANGEROUS IDIOT").

    June 1, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  14. chris24

    you can't us logic to define the illogical.

    June 1, 2011 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  15. skponggol

    For the first time in a very long time, CNN has at least been fair to the Palin in this article. It seems that Palin One Nation Tour is very educational to the American journalists, bringing them back to the roots of American foundation.

    June 1, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. NVa Native

    Disengenous-diva Palin doesn't care about anything but that warm fuzzy feeling she gets when people pay attention to her – except that warm fuzzy feeling when she cashes that fox paycheck into her warm and fuzzy vault.

    June 1, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. kcl

    I've just decided not to pay any attention to Palin reports anymore. I've put her in the Snookie and Kardashian category, I don't care what they are doing, who are they anyway?
    I've had enough CNN.....these stories belong in tabloids.

    June 1, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  18. Anthony... proud tax payer

    CNN, you do realize you are chasing helping to feed this monster with your coverage.
    This isnt high school, yet you guys are hanging on her every move as if you were waiting for her to decide who she was going to take to the PROM.
    She isnt Paris or Lindsay or Britney. Hell, even those women have more talent.
    Nope.. instead she is a media attention loving, media hating, ex Gov who never finished her term in office
    and helped sink McCain's Presidential run.
    Her accomplishments list as zero, her family is a wreck, her reality shows a flop,
    and she is STILL on the FOX payroll.

    As a child I used to believe adults knew everything.. they were grown, they had answers and acted responsibly.
    I eventually came to realize it didnt matter what age you were.. 40 year olds, 50 year olds are still capable of acting like 17 year olds a certain level of maturing never took place.

    I dont want "Unconventional" in the white house.
    I dont want "Maverick" or "Cowboy" or "Loose Canon" or "Rogue"

    I want responsible and sensible and mature and intelligent.
    I want decisions to be thought out and I want Obama for another 4.

    June 1, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. libsrretards

    anyone who'd vote for an idiot is surely one themselves. So that's what happened to the W.H. Palin is playing with u racist libs and media. she isn't going to run. but watching you all run around with your panties up your butts is funny.

    June 1, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. Not All Docs Play Golf

    Go OBAMA 2012! The Republicans are going to be shocked at how much support Obama has in this country. If you only watch Fox news, you'd think everybody hates him and thinks he's incompetent. But, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, and even Karl Rove, yes even Karl Rove... none of those 4 have college educations! Read their bios yourself if you want to confirm that! Look at the crowd in the background at her rally. They don't speak for all of America, by any means.

    June 1, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Sniffit

    "Here's the difference. She respects the public."

    The only thing Jaberwocky Barbie respects in the GREEEEN she's able to suck out of the tinfoil hat wearing automatons who buy her schtick. Telling an interviewer that she reads "all of them" when asked what magazines, papers, etc., she reads on a daily basis to keep informed is not "respecting the public." Blaming the "lamestream media" for every instance of her word salad failures to recite her talking points correctly is not "respecting the public." LYING about "death panels" and other nonsense for her own personal gain is not "respecting the public." Pushing the limit with a website that sticks rifle sites over "target" Dems and telling people to "reload" and using other allusions to violence in order to play up a "revolutionary" theme is not 'respecting the public." QUITTING YOUR ELECTED OFFICE HALFWAY THROUGH YOUR TERM SO YOU CAN GO ON A MONEY-GRUBBING MEDIA JOYRIDE IS NOT RESPECTING THE PUBLIC. The list goes ON AND ON AND ON. This woman disrespects the public, our political systems and political culture, our democratic institutions and our sense of reasonableness, rationality and sanity every time she opens her silly twit mouth or finds some way to get "news" media morons to plaster meaningless, substanceless articles all over the internet in a mad bid for ratings and ad revenue. She's disgusting personified.

    June 1, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  22. debbie

    Sarah Palin/TP are what I see,as a ( so called Christian?) leader of Religous Extremism! Gop is behind Pro-Life extremism" Pro-Lifers extremism puts our doctors and nurses lives in danger. The very people who are dedicated to helping women make the right health choices? Kind of sounds like the "Tailiban" to me? What a thought that is? Scary!!!!

    June 1, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. PNWjim

    When Sarah has to debate the rest of the repubs she will get ate up by the likes of Mitt and Newt, and if she pulls the same crap as she did with Biden[ not answering or making up her own questions]she will loose more fence riding repubs.Lets say she some how tricks all you repubs in thinking she is the one, now she has to pick up the middle ground independents which she wont beable to do with upseting her base.
    And if all that happens because hell is freezing over, then Hillary and Joe trade positions. OBAMA/CLINTON 2012

    June 1, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  24. Indy

    Sarah Palin is famous for
    20 mill debt in Wasilla
    Yes to Bridge to nowhere
    Socialist Governor
    Nothing of significance in half term of Governor
    VP failure
    Death Panels
    Guilty of expense fraud
    Guilty of abuse of power
    Reality show that prooved she did not know how to hunt or fish afterall
    Blood Libel
    Preys on the weak to make her rich
    Fox News only (heavely scripted)
    Sucked the entire media into thinking she might run for President, while getting mega rich
    Nice Resume !

    June 1, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Paul1st

    So far there are no GOP candidates that have drawn the support of the behind-the-scenes GOP power brokers who ultimately will generate the momentum needed to propel a candidate to success in the primaries. Trump was entertaining but never had a solid foundation in the party. Gingrich doesn't have the support. Romney is the current "safe bet" in case no one else emerges. Pawlenty still needs to make his case. Palin is trying to be like Obama in the last election. If she can generate enough popular support among the party faithful and independents, and she is willing to stick to a platform that is palatable to the big-money party members, then she can ride into the primaries as the white knight arriving to save the party. George Bush had Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove who did the hard work behind the scenes. Obama got a huge boost from Kennedy to legitimize his candidacy within the Democratic party. Palin? we'll see.

    June 1, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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