The candidates already in the race or contemplating it could take some lessons from the former Alaska governor in how to make the news. Palin’s bus tour is one way, a traditional kind of campaigning — which in this case, in the view of some media, is a way of testing the water for the GOP presidential contest.
But what other candidate thought about showing up in a black leather jacket on the back of a Harley-Davidson for the Rolling Thunder bike rally in Arlington, Va.? Her husband and two daughters likewise rode in on motorcycles. That gave Palin plenty of attention at an event that supports American troops missing in combat and unaccounted for, a noble cause.
She turned aside questions about her possible candidacy, saying she would not put a timetable on when she would reveal her decision. But she had no hesitancy in answer a question by CBS affiliate WKYW. Could she defeat President Obama? She said, “To put it concisely, yes.”
However, readers of tea leaves might find a clue in her explanation for the bus tour. She said, “Really, it’s a genuine concern for our country, making sure we’re highlighting the history of our country, learning our past so we see a straight way forward in these challenging times, and that’s what our tour is all about.”
Does it sound like a campaign theme?
It’s no coincidence that the bus tour takes Palin to Iowa which votes early in the presidential nomination schedule. Palin also has to be heartened at her prospects after former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and business tycoon Donald Trump decided not to run.
After those dropouts, last week Palin was running a close second to Mitt Romney in Gallup’s poll. It was Romney at 17 percent and Palin at 15 percent. Next came the unlikely candidate Ron Paul, followed by Newt Gingrich with 9 percent, Herman Cain with 8 percent, Tim Pawlenty at 6 percent and Michele Bachmann with 5 percent.
On the polling front, Gingrich has lost ground in favorable ratings, Gallup reported Tuesday. The former U.S. House Speaker’s “Positive Intensity Score” dropped to 6 in a two-week period of May 16-29, the lowest reading to date– down from a peak of 19 earlier this year.
This measurement is based on “the difference between the 13 percent of Republicans giving him a strongly favorable rating and the 70 percent giving him a strongly unfavorable rating,” Gallup said. His latest score is barely higher than Gary Johnson’s 4, lowest for anyone tested by Gallup. Highest scores: Cain, 25 percent, and Bachmann, 21 percent. Palin and Romney are in the 16-14 percent range.
Bottom line: It will be hard for Sarah Palin to say no to a presidential bid.