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.
Presidential Hopeful? I don't think so!!! More like "Presidential – NO Fing Way!" Livestock Barn – she should fit right in!
Palin is not joining the race right now in order to miss the debates. She will go home and let her writers post on Facebook.
I was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. Let me tell you, Palin and/or Bachman could NOT win an election there. Yes, we have more than are share of right wing crazies, but the majority know what's going on.
She is a fraud, nothing more, nothing less.
She's still on the Fox payroll, and as long as she is, she's only taking sucker's money who keep on "believing" in her.
@California BC – We already know how utterly stupid and incompetent she is. We learned that in 2008. We we can't understand is why anyone would still want her in any elected position. She has already shown she can't stay in the kitchen with the heat. Just look at her short lived governership. I just can't for the life of me understand how anyone could possible take this woman seriously on anything. . . I guess American really has been "dumbed down". How sad!
Who would you rather be in the WH on January 20th, 2013, a beautiful, sexy, smart, media savvy, resourceful woman who has prospered, worked very diligently, succeeded in revitalizing politics for the people, is working to save and renew the great values our Founding Fathers instituted, and knows (and will support) the will of the people. Or would you rather re-elect a man who wants to make America into a Banana Republic, a man who has never held a job (unless you consider swinging a stapler at telephone poles to recruit Chicago activity meetings), couldn't even run a hot dog stand with out ACORN affirmative action help, has been nursed and given everything to him by leftist, progressive, liberals and has replaced Jimmy Carter as the worst president in the US? The answer is for you lefty, progressive, liberals is Sarah Palin. Yea. I would vote for her. She has done more just by brewing a cup of coffee, than Obama.
Well I am amazed at what I just seen with the short interview that Don Lemon and Sarah Palin, she was actually answering questions that could be understood. Don Lemon just got the best lamestream media interview I have ever seen from Sarah Palin and the good news is it seems pretty clear that she will not run for POTUS.
Swarmed by flies maybe.
Wolf Blitzer is falling all over himself saying how good it was for Palin to stay around to answer all the questions. Of course, Wolf, what else would she do? She's playing you guys for the suckers you are, she's looking for every possible way to keep the focus on her self. Why, Wolfe, are you so naive here?
Palin was swarmed at the fair. So was the pig section of the livestock barn but the media didn't cover that.
@WCinWI – Here's a little business education for you. Corporations are NOT run by one person. There is usually a President, a CEO, a CFO, a Board of Directors and others that run the company. No wonder you stick up for this nonsense. You don't know what you are talking about!
Some types of voters swarm to Palin like flies swarm to (fill in the blank). I'm sticking with the bees.
“After she resigned she said that she was washed up and done right?,” [husband Todd Palin] said with a grin. “And you guys are still here.”
Mr. Palin nailed it: Why are "you guys" (the national media) still following and hanging on every utterance of someone who did not finish her term of state leadership, has not declared her entry into any political race and is now simply another television personality?
This obsession with publicizing the meanderings of the "grizzly bear" grandmother of two children conceived out of wedlock is mystifying and frustrating.
You Palin-haters are too much fun.
Palin in a livestock barn? How appropriate. Please run Sarah, Democrats everywhere are praying you will. Didn't see you at the debate though. So typical of this know nothing, headline grabbing idiot.
Swarmed by flies?
Someone posted "she is dangerously unqualified...."People who listen to her and nod their heads sagely as if she's some political oracle or font of economic wisdom need to be slapped in the face unti they wake up". Not that I would vote for her but geez, look at the jerk you voted in!?!? Never had a job and was nothing but a community organizer and is now, along with Reid, Pelosi, Durbin, Frank, Dodd, etc., destroying our country. Obama is the most unqualified president ever and obviously is absolutely clueless about the economy.
No big news here. Flies are known to swarm around heaping piles of steaming Palin.
i guess she scared to debate, so she prefers to just show up at the fair. it an easy way out
like watching a car accident
Good Lord, Palin looks anorexic, and the Botox has taken its toll.
What can we expect from a people who eat deep fried butter sticks?
Oh, if we could only get those "Alaska Designers" to do a show in New York or Paris . . . Then we could all be dressed inappropriately like this idiot. Grow Up $arah. Realize American's are sick and tired of you (except for the uneducated, biggoted ones). You make a mockery of our political system and of American's as a whole. Do you not realize that when your name is mentioned in Europe or other foreign lands people actually laugh? You are a running joke around the world and will never be anything more than a really bad reality star. Go home, stay home and do your grandchildren a favor. What a legacy of shame you are leaving for them. Unfortunately, it seems too late for your children, so think of your grandchildren. The more you publicly show your ignorance, the more the will have to endure. Go home already! We do not want you in any political position or in the lower 48 for that matter.
There is no surprise at all that Sarah Palin came to Iowa. She craves the spotlight and of course, the media handed it to her. It is very unfair to show up where Republicans have gathered to debate and be part of a straw ballot when you know you will cause a commotion.
This woman is very aware of what she is doing. She knew she could get the attention of the press. She does not even regret the fact that she has overshadowed the Republicans who are running for President. Either declare or go back to Alaska. It is that simple. Those who are running need an opportunity to put his/her case forward to the electorate.
Don't people go to the fair to see the freak show?