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.
The crowd would have swarmed any political comedian. Tina Fey may have drawn a bigger crowd and is probably more politically informed.
If Sarah runs I vote for her in a heartbeat! Nothing would make me more happy than to see Obamas acceptance speech of defeat from Palin in 2012. That moment would be epic and the best feeling ever in m y life! I can see the liberals face hahahahahaha I pray this happens!
I thought maybe she was swarmed by admirers or maybe flies, this is a state fair after all, instead it was the media? Of course they swarm her, she is always good for a great quote (laugh). I don't know what she is waiting for if she is going to run, look what happened to Giuliani, so I hope she is going to declare soon. I want her to be a viable Republican candidate and win the party nomination. Then I want President Obama to clean the floor with her.
Would someone please tell Toddy that she IS washed up...and he better get a paying job.
Will someone please tell Sarah that corporations DO pay taxes. Or they're supposed to, anyway. Oh, I get it! Maybe that's a policy point for her, that corporations shouldn't pay any taxes.
news flash – Sarah Palin was escorted through the Iowa fair to eat a corn dog and then she was escorted to the bathroom to get rid of the corn dog. Stay tuned for exciting minute by minute coverage of this developing story. Film at 11.
Sarah – time to either get in the race or go home to your double wide with the outhouse in Wasilla so you can keep track of what Putin is doing. Democrats everywhere want you to run.
Great if corporations are people then I want the same tax loopholes and corporate welfare they are getting. If GE pays no taxes then I should as well. Afterall it is about equality for all "people".
One last thing – your decision to run or not run is in no way "Earth Shattering". You getting elected – now that would be "Earth Shattering"! You are so full of yourself. I, personally, would love to see you run. It would be very enjoyable to see you try and go up against our POTUS. You are not fit to wipe the bottom of his shoes, much less stand in his shoes! Good luck with that one girl!
The irony here is so thick you'd need the jaws of life to cut through it! Really Iowa, really?? The STATE FAIR is your big launching pad for POTUS candidates?! I can understand the swarming behavior however – that's usually what happens when something stinks. And to cap it all off – did anyone else notice the only microphone in the picture is of course......faux news?! LOL LOL LOL
Swarmed? By what? Birds, bees, or rats? Yes.....I can see how any of them could be confused by that nest on her head.
After reading most quotes from this dingbat, I'm left scratching my head like the Aflac Duck. Huh?????
Like flies swarming to a pile of.....
That doesn't speak well of Iowa.
Yup..she can draw a large crowd and that is why she abandoned Alaska for the speaking circuit. Why would she give up a lucrative career to run for the presidency?
Swarmed but not torn to shreds. Shucks. Maybe next time.
I so used to enjoy the Iowa State Fair...when it was about Iowans and leisurely fun.
Can't miss the Fox News mic, can you?
To bad a bull didnt gore her and end the insanity.
A corporation is a legal entity, and is treated like a person before the law. Romney was speaking as a lawyer. That does not change the fact that to anyone who has not gone to law school, that is about the stupidest thing a person running for a public office can say. Romney, who has a law degree from Harvard Law School, should have known better.
Is this what America has become? I guess, that's why we now have a AA rating and the miseducating of our people. I wouldn't wish for more than Sarah to go home and raise her children afterall, they are the family that are miseducating our society.
Palin wants to run but right now she's running from those darn debates and even the Republicans are saying Palin's posting on Facebook and Faux news just ain't going to do it. If Palin doesn't run, we know one thing for sure, no Republican in their right mind will put her on the same ticket with them, Palin faces a delima. As for her husband Todd, he should be busy working or getting an education and stop pimping off her and the women in America who have hard working husbands.
The Iowa State Fair livestock barn was the perfect place for Sarah Palin to make her entrance. Moooooooooooo
P.S. Even Bachmann's husband has a education and a job, Todd Palin is sorry.
wow, this woman needs about 50 iq points just to get to 100.
Palin's a loser. Fox should fire her. Voters shouldn't get to nominate their party candidates.