Despite the much-publicized rollout of Sarah Palin's "One Nation" bus tour last month, the Palin bus seems to have taken an extended hiatus as the family spends time Alaska, putting previously-planned stops in key primary states on hold and leading to yet more questions about the former Alaska governor's political intentions.
The tour was initially touted on the SarahPAC website as "part of our new campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles" and, along with a recent build-up of staff, the upcoming release in Iowa of a pro-Palin documentary, and her reported purchase of a house in Arizona, seemed to suggested she was laying the groundwork for a campaign.
The Palin camp had planned a loosely-mapped itinerary through the South and the Midwest in June, stopping at "historical sites that were key to the formation, survival, and growth of the United States of America" along the way, according to the website.
Conroy also suggests that Palin has let important relationships lapse with Republicans like South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Iowa Governor Terry Branstad - both of whom preside over crucial early-state voters - and is at risk of losing any momentum she may have gained in the early days of the tour.
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"The former governor herself has consented to only one interview since her East Coast jaunt ended early this month, and her lack of recent public activity has generated a host of rumors about what her next step might be," writes Conroy. "Last week, the American Spectator, citing a single and unnamed Republican source, claimed that her presidential decision was imminent. Palin shot this speculation down immediately, but she didn't counter it with anything definitive."
Nevertheless, the notoriously unpredictable Palin may well be using the retreat to Alaska to plot her next move: The pro-Palin documentary, "The Undefeated," is slated to see early releases in Iowa and other early-voting states, and some wonder if she plans to announce her presidential candidacy around the film's release.
Update 11:45 p.m. ET: Palin denied tonight that the bus tour was over. In a Facebook post titled "*Sigh* Reports of Tour Demise Are Greatly Exaggerated," Palin said the "One Nation Tour" wasn't cancelled and that "The next leg of the tour continues when the time comes."
"As I said myself at the end of the east coast leg of the tour, the summer is long, and I'm looking forward to hitting the open road again," she wrote. "The coming weeks are tight because civic duty calls (like most everyone else, even former governors get called up for jury duty) and I look forward to doing my part just like every other Alaskan."