Will She? Won’t She? The Signs Are Mixed Over A Possible Palin Presidential Entry

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August 22, 2011 1:55 a.m.
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Call them “Palinologists” – they’re the equivalent of the Cold War “Kremlinologists” who used to scour for subtle hints about Politburo power dynamics. Palinologists, of course, do the same for one woman: former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. And lately it seems they’re reaching very different conclusions.The big question, of course, is whether John McCain’s running mate is about to launch her own campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. Karl Rove is leading the line of thought that suggests the signs are pointing towards yes. He told Fox News Sunday her current schedule looks “like that of a candidate.”

Rove’s reading of the tea-leaves is prompted by two other factors. One is a recent web video from Palin’s political action committee promoting her appearance at the Iowa State Fair. It certainly looks like the ad of somebody who’s running. In it a diverse set of fair-goers repeatedly stress how “down to earth” Palin is. The former governor demonstrates this by uttering lines like, “Fried butter on a stick, fried cheesecake on a stick? Heck, yeah!”

There’s certainly anticipation over some type of coming announcement. On Thursday the Des Moines Register reported that a September 3rd Tea Party rally in which Palin is the keynote speaker is being moved in order to accommodate a larger crowd than was originally expected.

Still, is this necessarily a sign that the Tea Party crowd senses something big is coming? The event’s organizers don’t sound so sure:

“I don’t know if she’s going to announce or not,” said Charlie Gruschow, co-founder of Tea Party of America who is helping organize the event. “I have no idea. But whether or not she announces, we’re going to have a huge event.”

Other Palinologists have drawn different conclusions from Karl Rove. The influential website RedState parsed the words of one of her Iowa interviews and concluded she will soon announce that she is not running. Similarly, despite Palin’s apparently rapturous reception at the fair, this didn’t translate into write-in votes at the Ames Straw Poll. True, she wasn’t on the ballot, but nor was Rick Perry, who drew more than 700 write-ins. Palin’s number was so small the organizers didn’t even report the total.

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