Palin Opens The Door To 2012 Bid: Willing To “Give It A Shot”

Is Sarah Palin running for President in 2012 ? It's looking more and more likely that the answer might be yes.

With a successful series of primary endorsements behind her, Sarah Palin is talking openly about the 2012 Presidential Election for the first time:

Sarah Palin may be edging closer to a 2012 presidential run, telling Fox News “I would give it a shot” if the American people think she’s “the one.”

The former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee was in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday for the Reagan Dinner, a big GOP fundraiser in the heart of water-testing country for presidential candidates.

Palin has remained coy about her ambitions, but she elaborated a bit in an interview with Fox News, attaching several conditions to the possibility of a 2012 presidential run.

“If the American people were to be ready for someone who is willing to shake it up, and willing to get back to time-tested truths, and help lead our country towards a more prosperous and safe future and if they happen to think I was the one, if it were best for my family and for our country, of course I would give it a shot,” she said.

“But I’m not saying that it’s me. I know I can certainly make a difference without having a title. I’m having a good time doing exactly that right now.”

Not coincidentally I suspect, Palin spoke last night at the Iowa Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan Dinner, and sounded an awful lot like someone who’s at least seriously thinking about running for President:

Sarah Palin drew the largest crowd here tonight in the history of the Iowa Republican Party’s Ronald Reagan Dinner – more than 1,500 people.

“In just 46 days Republicans will put their ideas and their experience on the line to let the voters decide,” Palin said at the Republican Party of Iowa’s fundraiser at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines. “It is time to unite.’

The $100-per-plate event, which started nine years ago, is expected to help the state Republican Party raise more than $100,000, said spokeswoman Danielle Plogmann.

Palin, the former Alaskan governor and John McCain’s 2008 vice presidential running mate, told the crowd that Republicans must stay determined, citing her own experiences as inspiration.

“I’ve lost games, races, reputation,” Palin said. “You lose some, you win some.”

Palin’s visit has stoked speculation about whether she will seek the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

Iowa’s presidential caucuses are expected to kick off the presidential nominating sequence in February 2012.

But Palin gave little hint about her plans, either in her speech or her schedule in Iowa. She did tell a joke about a conversation with her husband in which he advised her not to be caught in tennis shoes or else face headlines of “Palin in Iowa decides to run.”

The crowd roared.

Here’s the video of the speech, which is worth watching if only to note the reaction of the Republican, if not entirely pro-Palin, audience:

As I’ve noted before, strong early success in Iowa would seem to be the key to any hope that Palin might have of succeeding in the GOP primaries in 2012:

If she does decide to run, it would seem to me that a strong showing in Iowa is going to be essential for her. For a whole variety of reasons, not the least of them being Mitt Romney’s regional association with the state, it seems apparent that Palin would have a hard time pulling off a victory in New Hampshire and, unless she decides to skip Iowa and New Hampshire entirely and concentrate on South Carolina, she’ll have to pull off an early win in Iowa to show that she has a viable campaign.

Mike Huckabee, on the other hand, will be expected to repeat his 2008 victory in Iowa and anything less than first place is likely to be spun as a loss by the punditocracy. So, again assuming both of them run, expect the Republican caucuses to be a battle between Palin and Huckabee for the social conservative vote there.

For the moment at least, she would seem to have an uphill fight in the Hawkeye State:

The race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination is already underway in Iowa.  Potential candidates like Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Newt Gingrich are already making frequent visits to the state that hosts the First-In-The-Nation Caucuses.

While most people, including most Iowans, think that there is plenty of time before the 2012 presidential campaign will be in full swing, the clock is already counting down to caucus day 2012.  What these candidates realize that most people don’t comprehend yet is that the first contest is the Iowa Straw Poll, which is now less than a year away.

The Iowa Straw Poll is an event sponsored by the Republican Party of Iowa and has historically winnowed the field the presidential candidates the summer before the actual nominating process begins.  That means that one year from now, the presidential field will probably contract, just like it did in 2007, 1999, and 1996.

With all of that in mind, polled 399 Iowa Republicans who consider themselves likely voters.  We wanted to see what they think about the potential field of candidates as the 2012 presidential nomination gets underway.

The poll shows that the 2012 contest is going to begin right where the 2008 Iowa Caucuses left off, with Mike Huckabee leading Mitt Romney.  Huckabee comes out on top of the poll garnering 22 percent, Romney finishes second with 18 percent, and Newt Gingrich finishes surprisingly well with 14 percent in third place. Sarah Palin finishes a disappointing fourth with 11 percent. Texas Congressman Ron Paul garnered 5 percent, while Pawlenty, and South Dakota Senator John Thune each received 1 percent.

Former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum garnered support in the poll but it did not surpass the one percent threshold.  Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and Texas Governor Rick Perry did not register any support in the poll.  Twenty three percent of those surveyed remain undecided.  Huckabee and Romney’s strength in the poll is expected as both were able to generate a lot of interest with their 2008 campaigns.  Obviously, many people remain loyal to the candidates they supported in 2008.

Assuming all these parties get into the race, it’s going to be a battle between Huckabee, Palin, and to some extent Gingrich in Iowa. Which is why the Iowa Straw Poll next August is likely to be the hardest fought “winner take nothing really” contest in years.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. steve says:

    This is a surprise? She emotes anger much better than Huckabee. She will be the nominee. Not sure who she picks for VP. Someone with foreign policy expertise? Maybe O’Donnell?

  2. ponce says:

    I think a Palin nomination for 2012 may be just what it takes to get the Republican Party to put the crack pipe down.
    Bring it on, Sarah.

  3. Janis Gore says:

    I watched the whole speech.  She’s good, even using notes.  And good-looking.  My gay brother says she needs to go to Dallas to have her hair done.

    Probably ten minutes too long.  She was reduced to using cliche movements and gestures to emphasize her connection to her fans.

    She used the word “refuting” in proper context, then used “refudiation” as acknowledgement of her gaffe in earlier times.

    Interesting that she conflated her trials with the press with those of the troops and the war.

    She has a real problem with the tone of her voice.  Whatever she says, it sort of blands down into a nagging lecture.  I can’t remember a single sentence she said.  But that’s the same for me for many speeches, though, from men or women. 

    Female political speakers get caught there.  Hillary Clinton is no better.  Margaret Thatcher and Jeanne Kirkpatrick are standouts as far as tone.

    But, ultimately, a bunch of platitudes, as most political speeches are.  It’s true that Obama is the same.

    If the Republicans can make some inroads in this election, she’ll run as a sacrifice candidate in 2012.  No skin off her nose. Time is on her side. 

  4. steve says:

    Janis- Do what I do. Stop listening to speeches and read them. Saves time and you concentrate on what they are saying.

  5. ponce says:

    “No skin off her nose. Time is on her side. ”
    I disagree.
    Her looks are her biggest asset and they are fading fast.

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    I would like to see her has head of the RNC. Bring some life to that apparatus.

  7. Janis Gore says:

    Aha.  That’s the fault.  It’s a multimedia world and most people respond to what they see and hear now. 

  8. Janis Gore says:

    You assume that she wants to assume the thankless role of President, ponce.

  9. ponce says:

    “You assume that she wants to assume the thankless role of President, ponce.”
    If there’s a buck in it for her.
    But she better hurry, the slide from naughty librarian to horny grandma isn’t a kind one.

  10. Janis Gore says:

    As I know too well, punk.  The difference between 46 and 53 1-2 is one I won’t go into here.

  11. Janis Gore says:

    Am I wrong in thinking that Robert Strauss’s widow in Texas had a strong role in Democratic politics after he died?

    That’s the role she wants, on the Republican side. 

  12. rodney dill says:

    She should only run if she’s done the one thing that I suspect she hasn’t. She needs to spend some time studying foreign policy and internal affairs at a national level. It’s understandable that a governor pulled in as a running mate may have to play catch up at the national/internation level. I don’t see it as excusable for her to run as President this time around without having done so.

  13. anjin-san says:

    I am guessing that her plan is to tease the base like this, pile up cash in her PAC, and then to bow out when it is time to start the actual hard work of running for President. She does seem to have a lifelong problem with the hard work thing…

  14. Janis Gore says:

    No.  Her quirky background won’t get her past the fact that she governed a state that has a population about the size of two Dallas suburbs.  Or Houston.

  15. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    Can you say President Sarah Palin?

  16. Janis Gore says:


  17. wr says:

    Sure, I can say President Palin. I can say President Zelsdorf, too. And just like I can say “a million dollars,” it doesn’t mean it’s going to  happen.

  18. Pete says:

    Anjin-san, Herb, Michael Reynolds,; you have been spectacularly wrong about the Tea Party and its influence. I suspect you will be dining on crow again with this issue.

  19. Pete says:

    Ponce, sorry I failed to include you in the esteemed group above.

  20. Franklin says:

    Anjin-san, Herb, Michael Reynolds,; you have been spectacularly wrong about the Tea Party and its influence.

    What does this have to do with Palin for President?  Sure, the Tea Party might be able to get her to be the nominee, but all of the sane Republicans I know say no to a President Palin.  She needs more real experience outside of the socialist republic that is Alaska, and book tours and talk shows aren’t cutting it.

  21. john personna says:
  22. Pete says:

    Franklin, only that those of you who underestimate the mood of the majority of voters are going to be disappointed when candidates such as Palin actually get voted into office. Perhaps you believe because she isn’t an elite orator that she will will be a terrible President. I have my reservations about her too, but the country just might have to muddle through an administration which goes to DC to CHANGE the culture. From a foreign policy standpoint, she at least believes in American Exceptionalism which is denigrated by the current crew. So, she concentrates on changing the domestic scene while telling the rest our allies we are still with them. She begins the dismantling of the bureaucracy, including the Pentagon, and she clearly spells out to the American people that everybody is going to have to sacrifice to put our economic house back in order. Sounds doable to me.

  23. john personna says:

    Short-term, she has to explain to her base why she endorsed a witch.
    Ah well, he base was all against teen pregnancy until she gave them that, as a conservative value, too.  Maybe they can adapt.

  24. wr says:

    Pete — Everyone has to sacrifice? Let me guess, this means slashing benefits for poor people and slashing taxes for the rich.

  25. john personna says:

    wr – what I think makes the budget unworkable is the amount of spending coming back to the middle class.  You can’t tax the middle class lightly, spend on them big, and have a budget that works.
    Look at the unsolvable California budget.  Forty percent of it is education spending.  That’s good stuff, but it’s taxing everyone to benefit everyone.  It isn’t income redistribution.  It fails because Californians want those good schools, without paying for them.

  26. Janis Gore says:

    Oops.  Robert Strauss is still around.  Annette Strauss was his sister-in-law.

  27. wr says:

    JP — I agree entirely. In California we want all these government services, but we don’t want to pay for them. But to be fair, we’re never really offered the choice — we have a dysfunctional system that requires a supermajority to pass a budget, and while we’re majority Democrat, the two parties have gerrymandered the state so that the Republicans have just enough seats to block anything. Which means that Dems can block (some) spending cuts, Rs can block all tax increases, and everything falls apart.

    I believe in giving the people a real choice — do we want services or do we want lower taxes. And I believe that services would win, even though the Galtians would scream that their freedom was being stolen.

    California should be more expensive than Mississippi, just like the Four Seasons is more expensive than a Motel 6. I’d like to see if the majority of my state agrees with that sentiment, or if they want to join the race to the bottom.

  28. Pete says:

    wr, what do all those expensive schools produce? Answer: a mediocre product. Taxes are fine with me if they provide a decent return. Our education system does not. Lower taxes aren’t the answer unless excessive taxation has caused taxpayers to behave in an unproductive manner. If you think higher taxes are going to solve the economic trainwreck headed our way, I will have to assume you are an example of the mediocre school system.
    Spending by politicians who are not accountable is the problem in this country. Regulations and laws made by politicians and bureaucrats stifle innovation, productive enterprise and small business success. The tax system punishes achievement and provides a perfect vehicle for politicians to reward friends, punish enemies and feather their own nests.
    So, to reiterate: we need non politicians and courageous people to go to Washington and clean house. We need them to clearly communicate to the american people that no service, entitlement, retirement arrangement, etc. is off limits to the possibility of freezing and or reduction. I believe you get the picture. (I hope)

  29. wr says:

    Pete — The American auto industry had bad leadership for many years. Somehow I never heard people screaming that the answer was to bring in executives who had never been in business and didn’t know anything about cars to run GM — but somehow you think that’s the answer for government.

    If you put a bunch of people who have no government experience in charge of congress, the people who will be really running the show will be the only ones left who understand how things work — and that’s the lobbyists. I know this from experience, as it’s exactly what happened once California passed term limits.

    Which is, of course, why people like the Koch brothers and Dick Armey are funding the Tea Partiers. Because they know exactly who will be in charge of the country — they will.

    Also, you want to send these people to Washington to do what, exactly? It sounds like you want them to eliminate Social Security and Medicare, despite the fact that the vast majority of citizens want these programs. No, thank you.

  30. anjin-san says:

    >  Anjin-san, Herb, Michael Reynolds,; you have been spectacularly wrong about the Tea Party and its influence.

    Can you give an example of something I have said that was “spectacularly wrong”?

  31. Pete says:

    Anjin-san, No, I can’t. How do you feel about the Tea Party?
    wr, the system needs to be shaken up to the core. We will survive the shake-up.

  32. Pete says:

    wr, as far as bringing in people with no govt. experience, that is not the intent. The intent is to bring in enough REFORMERS and let the established politicians heave to or hit the bricks. It SHOULD be messy because the current system is broken.

  33. anjin-san says:

    > Anjin-san, No, I can’t.

    So in other words, you are full of it and you are making crap up. Your right wing credentials are in good order  🙂

  34. anjin-san says:

    > She begins the dismantling of the bureaucracy, including the Pentagon, and she clearly spells out to the American people that everybody is going to have to sacrifice to put our economic house back in order. Sounds doable to me.

    De plane boss… de plane…

  35. Pete says:

    Anjin-san, you smart guy, (maybe you’re not a guy), I know deep down you want Palin to win. That is because that would give you a reason for living. Otherwise, you are stuck in a dreary corporate world wondering why you don’t make a difference.

  36. Pete says:

    So in other words, you are full of it and you are making crap up.
    Only connecting the dots based on the nonsense you regularly contribute.

  37. anjin-san says:

    > Otherwise, you are stuck in a dreary corporate world wondering why you don’t make a difference.

    Actually I have an incredibly exciting corporate job that I love, and I am at a level where I do make a difference. Please don’t project your own bitterness onto me  🙂

  38. anjin-san says:

    > Only connecting the dots based on the nonsense you regularly contribute
    Sorry skippy, calling BS on you. You made a very specific claim about me:
    > Anjin-san, Herb, Michael Reynolds,; you have been spectacularly wrong about the Tea Party and its influence.
    I called you on it, and I am doing so again. Please show a post where I have been “spectacularly wrong” about the tea party.
    Until you do, you are just a knucklehead making things up because you have nothing of substance to contribute. That may play in the WWF meets National Enquirer world of far right politics, but there are actually folks in here with working brains and we expect a little more.

  39. wr says:

    Pete — These people aren’t “reformers.” They are cheap, sleazy little crooks like O’Donnel, they are insane like the guy in Alaska who believes unemployment insurance is unconstitutional, or they are fanatical ideologues like Rand Paul.

    And frankly, you sound like a Maoist. Let’s tear down the system and let the people suffer until a new system is created? No thank you, I’m not interested in watching millions of people suffering basically because a bunch of right-wing people have tantrums when they don’t get their way.