Palin embraces unconventional strategy ahead of possible 2012 bid
June 1st, 2011
09:48 AM ET
11 years ago

Palin embraces unconventional strategy ahead of possible 2012 bid

Jersey City, New Jersey (CNN) - A presidential campaign typically begins at the micro-level in Iowa or New Hampshire, with small town meet-and-greets and well-timed endorsements from elected officials and grassroots leaders.

But nothing Sarah Palin and her team do these days seems typical.

Palin’s advisers are confident, in fact, that she can avoid entering the race until as late as October of this year, when certain states begin to have filing deadlines for their 2012 primary contests.

Yet while the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee will appear in New Hampshire later this week and has plans to visit Iowa in June, she appears in no hurry to reach out to local officials and political operatives in those key early states that hold such sway over the presidential nominating process.

“Well, I figure that politicians in office are really busy and they don’t need to be bothered by someone just knocking their door,” Palin told CNN and RealClearPolitics in a lengthy interview Tuesday at the New Jersey hotel where she stayed on the third night of her “One Nation” bus tour.

Palin’s detractors in the GOP establishment and in the campaigns of her potential rivals claim that such talk signals a politically-fatal lack of discipline or seriousness.

Their suspicions might have been affirmed Tuesday when news leaked that Palin was to meet with Donald Trump in his gilded apartment in Manhattan - hardly a regular night out for the kind of hard-working voter that Palin must win over if she seeks the GOP nomination.

Palin’s advisers, though, say that multiple factors, including a still wide-open Republican field, happen to be working in her favor as she contemplates a bid.

Her megawatt celebrity and built-in appeal to the Republican base gives her a more flexible timeline for making a decision about the race. While she may not be able to entirely bypass the political groundwork needed to mount a campaign, she can at least afford to delay the process.

Instead of hiring a large staff and building goodwill with all the right people in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, the onetime city councilwoman and mayor of Wasilla, Alaska said she prefers a more homespun approach to politicking.

“We were in Wal-Mart last night in Gettysburg and I met one of the local city council members who happened to be there in line, so it’s not that we avoid them,” Palin said, once again pressed on her seeming indifference to building the political support traditionally required to mount a national campaign.

Her political skills were on display Tuesday during a bus tour stop in the central Pennsylvania hamlet of Dillsburg, where Palin breezed into a coffee shop and happily sat down with two locals.

With a common touch that sometimes seems to elude several of her potential rivals for the Republican nomination, Palin got the two men to open up about their personal lives before veering into a conversation about the sluggish economy.

“I would never lose that ability or that desire to get to be with that one-on-one relationship with people,” Palin said in the interview. “I think it’s the most valuable thing a person, a professional politician, anybody can have, is that desire to have that one on one relationship with people."

“That’s how you learn and grow and figure out what the needs and concerns are so that you can know what to concentrate on to help meet those needs,” she continued. “So yeah, if someone was to lose that, you become a typical politician. And that’s pretty tragic, in my eyes.”

Palin has also been at ease with the news media, her sworn enemy, throughout her bus tour. She has confounded both local and national reporters with her stubborn refusal to provide details of the bus’s itinerary, which is being planned out, often at the last minute, by Palin and her husband Todd.

But she has lingered with reporters and television cameras at several stops, ultimately granting more access to reporters outside of Fox News - where she has an exclusive contract as a network contributor - than at any point over the last two years.

Palin’s trip to New Hampshire later this week will be closely scrutinized, not just by the media but by the Granite State’s demanding primary voters, who insist on seeing candidates up close for several months before they go to the polls.

They might be miffed, though, to learn that Palin doesn’t regard them as any different from voters in other states.

“I honestly don’t look at states according to when their primaries are. To me, an American is an American no matter what their primary election dates,” Palin said, words destined to make blood boil in the offices of the New Hampshire Union-Leader editorial board.

Palin said New Hampshire voters are special, “but not just because they have a certain date of a primary election.”

“They’re special because they are Americans and obviously they want jobs, they want safety in their communities, they want strong national defense, they want the same things that everybody else wants, so I don’t know, I guess that’s that non-politician in me not looking at a New Hampshire voter any differently just because they have, you know, an earlier primary than somebody else,” she said.

After the interview, Palin wandered freely around the lobby of her hotel, chatting with CNN photographers about good fishing spots in New York and posing for pictures with a few guests.

Mostly, though, she went unnoticed - a remarkable turnaround from just a few hours earlier, when she was mobbed by the press outside her Manhattan meeting with Trump.

She then sat in the hotel lobby with her mother and daughter, aides nowhere in sight, as she waited for a supporter to arrive from New York City to talk about the prospect of a campaign for the White House.

– On Monday, June 13, CNN will host the first New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate, live from Manchester, NH at 8 p.m. ET. Follow all the issues and campaign news leading up to the debate on and @cnnpolitics on Twitter.

Filed under: 2012 • Sarah Palin
soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. guster

    She's a shyster. Using money from her PAC for a "Family Vacation". She's not going to announce her candidacy until her little publicity tour is over. If she announced it during, she wouldn't be able to use the PAC money to fund her little journey through the ganduer of delusionment.

    June 1, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  2. Emmet D.

    To "Not All Docs Play Golf".

    I'm afraid that for many Americans, a college degree means you're not "one of us." I used to listen to Rush and thought he made a lot of good points. Yet, after going to college, after seeing a bit of the world, after knowing people outside my own circle, I realized what a hate-filled misinformed propagandist he was.

    Unfortunately, a large percentage of America could care less about an education. They could care less about seeing the world from another perspective. They could care less about reason, thought, and careful deliberation. They want a "shoot-from-the-hip" cowperson with fire in their belly.

    If the economy goes even further south, and Obama faces a serious terrorist attack, and Sarah runs a gorilla-style campaign, she has a shot. That's what scares me. Sarah: vindictive, hateful...but with a tremendous gift for speaking and connecting with a large percentage of Americans.

    She CAN be elected. Never underestimate the stupidity of the human race.

    June 1, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  3. logic in LA

    She will soon find out that national politics is not for a hockey mom. They don't play with pads on a national scale and having quit once for fame and fortune, she won't go anywhere- if she runs at all. Right now she is promoting a movie and trying to get back her speaking gigs. Only the press says she's running.

    June 1, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Sorry Sarah, trying to rebrand yourself may help you if this were beauty contest but those debates will still be waiting for you. Palin knows she's limited and she's also lazy otherwise she would spend time studying the Constitution instead of just using the word, reading magazines and newspapers, studying the map so she knows Africa is a Continent as well as knowing the unseeable distance of Russia from Alaska and STOP USING THOSE WORDS THE "LAY OF" over and over like an iliterate idiot.

    June 1, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  5. PalmReader

    Goodness. One would think that pushing the daily Palin coverage actually serves a pupose beyond that of trying to keep America distracted from the failed policies which have become the Republican Party. Fortunately, there are many other viable news outlets which DO cover the policies being debated that actually will effect miliions of Middle Street Americans. And, yes, we ARE paying attention.

    June 1, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  6. Expat American

    Palin is not a legitimate presidential candidate.
    Palin is more of a Snookie, Kardashian, Hilton or Lohan. Albeit about 25 years too late, which is kind of sad.
    But one thing is for sure.
    America loves their Sewer Trash Queens!
    Palin can/should be their President!

    June 1, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  7. Kenny

    A CNN article says: "She is, her backers say, the only potential Republican candidate with the kind of star power required to skip early nominating hurdles like the network debates or the closely watched Ames Straw Poll and still be competitive". Well she can keep on skipping. If anyone thinks Republicans are facing massive problems now with the nation turning on them over Medicare and Social Security, just wait till this woman gets out there with her lack of knowledge and starts to spill her vile language on the masses. With Palin running we are subject to end up with 430 Democratic members in the House of Representatives, 98 Democratic Senators in the Senate and a many as 45 Democratic State Governors.

    A Democrats dream come true. RUN SARAH, RUN. I can see the bumper stickers now for the 2012 campaign.

    PALIN / TRUMP 2012

    June 1, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. OneMoreTime


    The fact that Palin is part of Safari Investments LLC who paid for the 1.7M home in AZ in cash, a "newly formed" LLC, or
    IS IT? Is this the same LLC formed in 1996, and just reinstated, and if so, why did it not show up on her
    financial disclosure forms? So "investigative reporters" dig a little deeper and go beyond her "bike" ride,
    because she is certainly taking you for a ride.
    AND, what about the rumor she may runfor Jon Kyl's senate seat from....................Arizona?

    June 1, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. 100% ETH

    Nation, pls leave her alone. This is current job, PAID PER TALK. That's why She take care of her bills.

    June 1, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  10. ART

    Star power my behind, where were the clowns the circus came to town? I want a Palin and Trump Ticket cause that would just be hilarious.

    June 1, 2011 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. sue

    Republicans should be running scared ! She is sucking up all the attention from the more qualified canidates that have a better chance at winning than she has.....she is making the Republican party look weak, and ignorant.....she stands no chance of winning against Obama.....their are more registered democrats in this country than Republicans and they will come out likes flies on sugar in 2012 to keep her out of the White House...not to mention the Repblicans and independents that knows she isn't Presidental Material.........

    June 1, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. Lee2543

    I can understand Fox News continuously hyping Palin, but CNN's insistence on treating this narcissistic and ignorant woman as though she were a worthwhile political figure is beyond sickening. Do you EVER read the polls that consistently show that the general public does NOT like Palin and finds her completely unsuitable to run ANYTHING? When will you folks get this? She couldn't even run Alaska and they despise her there. She is a joke, a clown and an egomaniac who can't stand to be out of the spotlight. Why keep getting played by that obnoxious person? She never needs to be anywhere near public office.

    June 1, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Mikey

    It is more than a little ironic that someone could consistently vilify a large portion, if not the majority, of Americans while traveling around in a bus with big letter on it that say "One Nation"? This four time college dropout doesn't speak for me or for tens of millions of other Americans who also love their country.

    June 1, 2011 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  14. NVa Native

    The sad thing is CNN and all the other lame stream media follows clowns while "most Americans don't understand what the debt ceiling is". Most are fooled into thinking by fox and lame stream media that it has to do with spending which is just a by product of the "American Idiot". It only has to do with the money that has been spent over the last ten years when our surplus was squandered with tax subsidies for the wealthy, no-bid contracts for neo-con supporters/mercinaries, two un-funded wars, and an extensive and ugly list of mis-deeds by Repubs (and some supporting Dems) in power.

    June 1, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. Emmet D.

    "If Sarah Palin were to be the GOP's standard bearer in 2012, those who might be praying for such an outcome within the leadership circles of the Democratic National Committee better be careful what they wish for. If the economy were to miraculously recover and the current calamitous joblessness rate significantly recede, the power of incumbency would normally be sufficient to assure Obama would prevail over any Republican challenger in 2012. However, what if the American heartland remains devastated by an unrelenting Great Recession? In a time of economic crisis compounded by never-ending wars abroad against an elusive and ill-defined enemy, Americans like other peoples throughout history may clutch at the charismatic alternative with easy answers and inspiring patriotic slogans. In addition, there is the Tea Party movement, already anointing Sarah Palin as its principle icon, which may prove to be a decisive force in mobilizing alienated Americans on behalf of Palin in a presidential contest with Obama."

    Huffington Post

    June 1, 2011 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. sue

    This is what Palin is up too !!! She has bought a house in Arizona.....Senator Kly is up for reelection next year.....I don't think she is going to run for President in 2012, she will run for the Senate to replace KIy and then in 2016 she will run for President (thinking that she would have more experience coming from the Senate) that is if she can even win the Senate race in Arizona and take it away from Kly and of course if she does win the Senate that she doesn't QUIT in mid she did as Govenor......

    June 1, 2011 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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