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 Queen of Crosshairs is the pin-up girl for every Teabagger and GOP truck owning garage/carport parking would-be evangelical extremist. They would hang a picture of her in their garage/carport/tool shed and while throwing back a couple of cold ones with their redneck buds would vulgarly discuss how they would spend an evening with the Queen...but they would never vote for her. I think it's genius that she is taking so much $$$ from these ignorant souls on the pretext that she has their best interest at heart and in a way, she does....the interest that their $$$$ is accruing in her accounts. It's a brilliant strategy...get rid of the little ignorant Teabagger guy, making him believe she is looking out for him but first take as much of his $$$ as she can.
Whacka-do! I'm sure the other 'real' candidates appreciate the Sarah Circus much in the same way one appreciates ants at picnic. Uninvited intruders who spoil the event and contaminate everything they touch.
What does think, I think she purposely showed up, she was journalism major in college and had public relation courses. Yes, she did know what she was doing when showed up, she wanted up stage the competation.
Palin was swarmed the way Snooki would be swarmed - by tasteless people attracted to other tasteless people.
Of course there's a Fox News microphone in her face.
Did you catch that? She's not stealing the spotlight? Barf!
Yikes. I agree with the comments that she looks a little wasted. Makes me reconsider Frank Bailey's observation that she gets emaciated when worried, which might explain the timing of this latest PR sashay.
hope nobody asked her any questions. don't want to ruin the moment.
Ever wonder what Palins job is this is,,, less then a month old of headlines for her,,,ask the media they put her on daily with slapping headlines Quote::::3,785 CNN results for Palin,,,Sarah Palin hogs summer limelight,,, Ticker: Palin's 'terrorist' charge,,,Palin blasts Obama tactics,,,Palin's 'domestic terrorist' punch to Obama,,,Sarah Palin the answer to the country's problems?,,,Ticker: Palin says 'I told you so',,,Sarah Palin slams Obama,,,Sarah Palin wants first lady apology,,,Palin on downgrade: I told you so,,,Fox News hosts: Palin 'pulled punches' admission a 'joke',,, Ticker: Palin crashing GOP party,,,"Ticker: Palin's big Iowa gig,,,Ticker: Palin at Iowa State Fair,,,Palin: I'm not stealing the spotlight,,,Ticker: Palin swarmed at Iowa State Fair,,,I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some . . . people out there in our nation don't have maps, oops how that get in there its for beauty pageant people!
It was actually bees swarming, with missy's beehive do, they thought the hive was moving!
Beehives must still be the "must have" fashion look in Cornpone, Iowa.
Sarah Palin has the magic, the sparkle and vivacity that just naturally attracts people to her. Undeniable charisma. She is a natural leader - strong, brave and principled - a true servant of the public as the recent publication of her emails made during her governership revealed. As president, she would be a shining example of American optimism, hard work, and joyful goodwill that the world would appreciate. She loves God, family and the people of America. That love radiates out and thus the reason she attracts crowds wherever she goes.
I look forward to seeing this sack of rancid un-american filth get defeated once again, just like the traitorous loser she is.
I see Sarah is performing her pathetic attention seeking behavior ....again. The uninvited guest who shows up at a party and stays too long.
It just goes to show how stupid some Americans have become to think she is a two time quitter, doesn't know the basics of American History and Geography and these people like that. Maybe she is what they deserve! Stupid lasts forever!
Do yall realize that this B is campaigning? She won't have to raise any money...she won't have to attend and debates...She'll simply add her name to the ticket...All this exposure will keep her in the heads of the voters...Slick, isn't it?
Corporations are not 'people' but they are made up of people... Kind of like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square... Tomatoe, Tomato... etc. Life is never black and white. It's only seen that way by ignorant people. Sarah Palin for example... and most of you.
Corporations are not 'people' but they are made up of people... Kind of like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle is not a square... Tomatoe, Tomato... etc. Life is never black and white.
"a pair of black jeans from her favorite Alaska designer"?
Whatever happened to the "Soccer mom who just buys second hand clothes from the thrift store in Wasila"? She built her reputation on being the soccer mom next door, now she wears designer jeans while pretending to be one of the people.
Is her head getting bigger?
Just goes to show how much Iowans love their swine.
Just like when a circus comes to town many people run to see the oddity that it is. Not everbody, just the same ones who slow down when they drive by a scene where cops & EMTs are pulling a destroyed car out of the woods. The same ones who love "malice & discontent" – the tea-baggers.
Go home Sarah. Your village is missing it's idiot !!!!!
Nuts, after reading the title, I thought that hornets would somehow figure into the story.
Frankly I'm impressed that she didn't accidentally visit the Idaho state fair instead.
Palin at the livestock checking out the lipstick on a pig.