by Peter J. Boyer, Newsweek
“I believe that I can win a national election,” Sarah Palin declared one recent evening, sitting in the private dining room of a hotel in rural Iowa. The occasion for her visit to quintessential small-town America was a gathering of the faithful that would have instantaneously erupted into a fervent campaign rally had she but given the word. Instead, it had been another day on the nonâ€“campaign trail, this one capped by a sweet victory: she had just attended the premiere of a glowingly positive documentary about her titledÂ The Undefeated.
â€œThe people of America are desperate for positive change, and deserving of positive change, to get us off of this wrong track,â€ she told me during a conversation that lasted late into the night and, inevitably, kept returning to the subject that has titillated the media and spooked Republican presidential contenders for months: her political intentions. â€œIâ€™m not so egotistical as to believe that it has to be me, or it can only be me, to turn things around,â€ she said. â€œBut I do believe that I can win.â€
Two years after stepping down as governor of Alaskaâ€”not a retreat, she later said of the decision, quoting Korean War general Oliver Smith, but â€œadvancing in another directionâ€â€”Palin has proved herself an enduring force capable, with minimal effort, of keeping political professionals and, especially, the press in a state of perpetual imbalance. This derives partly, of course, from her standing as a possible presidential candidate with presumed frontrunner potential, a status she seems inclined to maintain for as long as possible. On the day we met, her daughter Bristol had declared in a television interview that Palin had already made a decision about whether to run for presidentâ€”an assertion that Palin quickly tried to shoot down. â€œI think Bristol has made up her mind, and Bristol wants me to run for president,â€ she said. â€œBut weâ€™re still thinking about it. Iâ€™m still thinking about it.â€
If Palin doesnâ€™t end up running, the reason will be simple, she said. â€œFamily. If it came down to the family just saying, â€˜Please, Mom, donâ€™t do this,â€™ then that would be the deal-killer for me, because your familyâ€™s gotta be in it with you.â€
Family has been elemental to Palinâ€™s national political identity from the moment she was introduced as John McCainâ€™s running mate in 2008, accompanied by her outdoorsman husband, Todd, and four of their five children, including their youngest, Trig, whoâ€™d been born four months earlier with Down syndrome. The pressâ€™s fascination with this picturesque brood quickly turned so darkly speculative that candidate Barack Obama threatened to fire anyone in his campaign found participating in the conjectures.
Yet Palin, who is 47, now hinted that her family would not try to dissuade her from entering the race. â€œMy kids know that life isnâ€™t supposed to be easy, and itâ€™s certainly not fair,â€ she said. â€œAnd they know that, even on their end, they have to make some sacrifices for the greater good.â€
To read more, visit:Â http://www.newsweek.com/2011/07/10/palin-plots-her-next-move.html
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