Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – On Friday afternoon, the day after a nationally-televised Republican presidential debate, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty went largely unnoticed as he strolled around the Iowa state fairgrounds with a couple of aides.
It was an entirely different scene just minutes later, when Sarah Palin - former Alaska governor, worldwide celebrity and potential White House hopeful - appeared in the “Hall of Champions” livestock barn on a different side of the park.
Palin had been expected to attend the state fair, which is ground zero for presidential politics ahead of the Ames Straw Poll on Saturday, but her aides remained tight-lipped all week and revealed nothing about her whereabouts.
Her Iowa visit marked the opening of the Midwestern leg of her “One Nation” bus tour, which launched this spring with a tour of historical sites along the East Coast.
When she did show up at the fair, dressed in a white t-shirt and a pair of black jeans from her favorite Alaska designer, Palin was immediately swarmed by dozens of reporters and television cameras as news of her sudden appearance ricocheted around the fairground.
The press pack tiptoed around prize-winning cattle and errant pitchforks while thrusting microphones toward her face and bombarding her with questions about her national ambitions, the emergence of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Thursday’s GOP debate.
She welcomed Perry, a friend and political ally, to the presidential field but said she still sees “room in the field” and said it would not impact her decision-making process about the race.
“He is a great guy, I look forward to seeing him in the debates,” she said. “He was adamant that he wasn’t gone to run, so it’s surprising. I am surprised that he changed his position on that. But I am glad that he is going to be in there.”
Palin was escorted through the fairgrounds by a team of advance staffers and an Iowa GOP operative, Becky Beach, who has assisted Palin during past visits to the Hawkeye State. She had more staff on hand Friday than she did during the first leg of her bus tour.
Her husband Todd, who expressed enthusiasm about a potential campaign, was also at her side. He seemed to be enjoying the spotlight.
“After she resigned they said that she was washed up and done right?,” he said with a grin. “And you guys are still here.”
As for her own thinking about the race, both she and Todd said there is plenty of time to make a decision. Palin said she would not be a candidate by the time she returns to the state over Labor Day weekend, when she is slated to address a tea party rally in Waukee.
“There is a still a lot of contemplation that needs to go into such an Earth shattering, life-changing decision,” Palin said.
She engaged with the media for more than an hour, all while signing autographs and posing for pictures with star struck fair-goers.
Palin had nothing but kind words for the candidates who could become her rivals for the GOP nomination.
She praised former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s combative performance in Thursday’s debate, said she would happily support former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney if he becomes the nominee and dismissed any idea of a rivalry between herself and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann.
“Just because there may happen to be two women in the race, that they would, you know, as Michele had put it once, get in the mud and be cat-fighting,” she said. “It’s ridiculous. It’s kind of even a sexist notion to consider that two women would be kind of be duking it out. If I’m going to duke it out, I’m going to duke it out with a guy or a girl, whoever the opponent is.”
Palin also defended Romney after the GOP frontrunner told an Iowa crowd a day earlier that “corporations are people.” He was accusing President Barack Obama of creating a greater tax burden on businesses.
"The people pay the taxes. It’s not an entity, the corporation itself, that pays the taxes. It’s the people who pay the taxes. So Mitt Romney was right,” Palin said.
After her lengthy walk and talk with the press and supporters, she walked into a private, roped-off function to meet with local Republican activists and munch on corn dogs.
Palin's bus tour is expected to take her into Illinois and Missouri in the coming days.
BEHOLD our next and greatest President Sarah Palin. She is the one person who will fix our broken economy and government. She will implement Palinomics which will create record number of jobs. She will control our govt spending and have the budget balanced in her 1st year and have greater surpluses than Clinton with less taxes than Dubya in the remaining 7 years. President Palin will drive our debt and unemployment down to ZERO! President Palin will completely root out and purge the corporate corruption in our govt and restore it back to the people. Palin is our Savior and Messiah as well as the one true champion of the people. Palin 2013-2021!
corporations run by one person? I dont think so, but if it were they are still living in mansions and some poeple can not get jobs so tax the ehll out of the corporations not the little people
The vehement hate shown towards Sarah Palin in this thread is quite disturbing. You'd think she had personally affronted you or your families.
And Sniffit and Chuck– to blindly treat Corporations as faceless entities just shows your total lack of perspective. It's really not that hard to understand. When Corporations are taxed more, their profit goes down. When profit goes down it can affect many *people*. These people include share holders, employees (EPSS, layoffs) and their families, and surrounding communities (hiring freezes).
I understand that you may not agree with her (or Mitt) on tax topics, but to chastise her for a statement that is obviously true just shows your partisanship and injudicious thoughts.
Sarah Palin is a joke. The media infatuation with her is pathetic. Even the people in her state don't like her. I wonder why?
"Palin swarmed at Iowa State Fair." I thought you meant by bees. What a disappointing article.
She needs to go back home and take care of her children!
Main attraction at the livestock exhibit was the pit bull with lipstick. The noises it made sounded nearly human. Then somebody yelled, "Hey! That ain't a animal – that's Sarah Palin!" A heated argument followed, ending when security removed the Alaskan from the pen where she had been mistakenly confined.
WAKE UP EVERY ONE OF YOU WHO COMMENTED. Let's focus on the real issue here. What in the holy hand-battered state fair hell is that woman next to Palin wearing? And a popped collar. Fight the "real enemy." – Dems & Repubs for Sanity 2011
'Swarmed' with 10 people and a Faux News microphone.
nothing screams potential leader of the free world like an undershirt with an iron on decal on it.
As a parent of a disabled child I can state that the one thing that child needs to make progress is plenty of contact with their parents. RIt appears this parent only wants to pull her child out for photo ops and is investing as little time as she can in his future development. Tood is too busy with his girlfriend back home. Let's report on that.
"swarmed in Iowa"..... ridiculous. Palin is about fame, power, and wealth. Her politics are as bush league, vapid, and play to the lowest common denominator.
God I cannot wait until after the 2012 elections so "HOPEFULLY" we don't have to hear another word about this bozo. P.S. I know she is getting rich right now but the good thing is she is ONLY getting the stupid Republicans money. YEA
She looks like Peggy Hill in this picture, but she has the brains of Beavis and Butt-Head.
Even the dumbest of the dumb conservatives are finally seeing what a fncktard this bitch is. GO AWAY, SARAH!
they all just wanted to someone dumber than themselves.
Utterly revolting! She does not have coherent thought. (At least her cuckhold husband showed with her)
God Bless Sarah and the entire Palin family. The Sarah Nation has your back and will deliver the votes so you can clean those maggots out of the White House.
Here comes that Twilight Zone theme song again!!!
It seems to me that evey time that there is an article posted about Sarah Palin it is then that she gets 'swarmed'. If she is so irrelevant why do so many of her haters 'swarm' her in this manner/
she says she is not stealing the spotlight, hell, she did not even know that she was in Iowa, hehehehehe
Sarah is frankly just not viable. Elton John would get swarmed if he showed up in public. That doesn't make him a viable presidential candidate, just a media phenomena. Same with Palin. As for all the people in the US trying to blame US corporations for their troubles, remember that these corporations are the engines that run our economy. If you have a job, it is likely that you work for a corporation. They are not big, giant scary things somewhere off in a big city. They are in your town, in your state. They are a direct result of the capitalist system. If the company you work for gets taxed too heavily, they will start to have difficulty paying salaries and benefits. You will likely lose your job. The unemployment benefits you would hope to get come from taxes. If a company or corporation is downsizing, they will be making less money and paying even fewer taxes. Fewer taxes mean fewer benefits from the government. If you don't believe that, then ask yourself why there have been such dramatic cut backs across the country by governments at all levels. It's because the taxes collected have been reduced due to poor business and a bad economy. Raising taxes never jump started an economy. Ever. As for Palin, the state of Alaska's economy went from good to bad during her watch. I don't think I want her in charge of an ailing economy. In fact, I'd barely trust her to go to the store with a shopping list. She's probably a very nice person. Just dumb as a bag of hammers.
90% of these comments are from Democrats. The GOP does not take her very seriously, but I cracks me up how insane the liberals get over her. You libs are obsessed with Sarah.
Corporations don't have a soul, therefore aren't persons. One just can't go through life expecting everyone else to pay the bills and do all the work submitting to ignorance.... Mrs. Palin is looking about as thin as the stick lady in the photo. Appears as though she's weighing in pretty light these days. None of these candidates seems particularly "presidential".
Jill, if you look like her in that picture, get a transplant