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.
When are you going to wake-up and realize that, starting in 2008, there is only one way to become President. That way is to have rock star status. And for the Republicans, there is only one person who fits that category and the Democrats know who that is. I don't embrace all that she is and stands for but she does meet the one and only requirement necessary.
• That's not an appropriate shirt for a presidential candidate–much less anyone over the age of 16.
• If she IS planning to run, then she is gutless for skipping the debates.
• If she IS NOT planning to run, then she is just a classless goofball that loves the center of attention.
Where else would you find her? Did she win best of show and get the blue ribbon – oink onik.
I LOVEEEE!!!! Sarah Palin!!! Most certainly tougher than all the declared "Republican Candidates." Interesting isn't it that women always seem to attack a gorgeous, strong, square female that is not a democrat.
Women should be supporting her for the very same reason that many voters supported President Obama. You know, because he was hot, right? Isn't that the reason? Oh and yes he is absolutely a great orator and charming individual, but leader, I think all the people without jobs might have a different perspective.
After seeing the headline I was hoping this story involved killer bees, but sadly it doesn't.
Looks like she was swarmed by FOX ..................................
I believe Sarah Palin is about the best thing it could have happened to our country. Sometimes, I disagree with what Obama is doing, sometimes I don't think he is being a good leader, but then I hear something Sarah Palin said or did and it reminds me that regardless of how bad things are right now, they could be much, much worse. That contrast would not be nearly as pronounced without Sarah Palin around. Sarah, please continue doing what you are doing, it really helps to keep everything in perspective.
People are not foled by Sarah Palin. They just like celebrity.They know she doesnot have enough information to be President, but she may very well run as Perry's vice preseident.Then she would not have to be so worried about facts in debates. She is oe shrewd cookie who knows the media and markets herself well. You can't fault her for that, but you can fault her for making peollethink she is smart enough to be presidential which she isn't.
She will not run. She has no intention of running. She is just going to milk the morons as long as she can.
Swarmed? Yup, just like flies swarm on a warm cowpie in Iowa's August.
There was a pile of dog crap that was swarmed. By Flies!
Andrew – She made perfect sense. Corporations are run by ONE person. That's the person that both her and Romney were referring. I'm not sure why that would confuse anyone.
I don't know what's worse, the fact that Palin does not understand what Mitt was saying, or that you do not understand what either of them said. In any case, it is clear that neither of you understand the structure and purpose of a corporation.
Indeed she looks loke she lost a lot of weight. Perhaps, she precticed "submission" too?
Am I the only one wondering why that black guy is there? Reporter? Bodyguard?
shoot, a corndog can be poison to the female figure don't cha know...
"There is a still a lot of contemplation that needs to go into such an Earth shattering, life-changing decision,” $arah, what's going to be shattered is not the Earth but your ego. Please run, I can't wait to see Obama make your "life change".By the time he gets done with you, you will need, you would have shrunk to the size of a one-year old.
BTW when are you going to learn to communicate properly? I recommend you let Obama teach you how to to do so. It will be difficult with a morron like you but not impossible. Well, maybe.
Swarmed?? Hopefully by angry africanized bees. LOL
This woman is an embarassment to the political process and denigrates the people who have seriously pursued the highest office in the land. She is usurping the GOP candidates on this straw poll weekend and frankly, wasting the time of the American public.
you know, plainlame is not that attractive at all. she and bleechman are both at best average. if you hold them up to like, barbara bush then maybe you have something but really, not all that pretty without all the makeup and hair dye...
Oh the liberal hypocrites are insane with jealousy and envy toward white woman of accomplishment
Sarah Palin may be very good looking but that is the "icing on the cake" where her KINDNESS, HONESTY, and ACCOMPLISHMENTS shine through like no other candidate.
She is "the most vetted" candidate EVER. Thousand trolling her emails to find "anything" that would make her look bad....they FOUND NONE, ZIP, ZILCH. Just "competent governing" from the center.
It's about time America elected a woman who is a walking example of rugged individualism.
She is a Fiscal Conservative, who can Shoot an Elk at 400 yards, run The State of Alaska with 15,000 Employees with an operating budget of $11,000,000,000 billion, and raise a family of 5 kids AT THE SAME TIME.
Obama CAN'T TALK STRAIGHT without a Teleprompter......
Sarah Palin walks the talks, and looks good while doing it!
Sarah Palin ROCKS!
She is a looser people. She left office before she was done and will do the same as president.She sold out for book money. You talk about wanting a honest president she is not it.
Maybe she'll ride the sling shot and get flung out into space.
Was she matching wits with sheep? (Sorry sheep)
My god Sarah, mix in a few meals and som botox. Okay unfair to talk about how she looks but, her trying to rationalize Romney's statement, well, that one ups the "I can see Russia from my porch" statement. Uh WCinWI, coorporations are not run by one person. But I would not expect you mininum wage fast food workers of the Tea Party to understand that.
This idiot will never get the party nomination period. If she is even on the tcket as the VP then that party will lose in a landslide-WAKE UP FOLKS SHE IS POISON !!