With Sarah Palin in the spotlight as she continues her nationwide media and book tour, the Democratic National Committee is suggesting to its supporters that the former GOP vice presidential candidate could pose a real threat to the Democratic agenda.
In a fundraising e-mail sent out Friday, Organizing for America -- the community organizing component of the DNC founded in the wake of Barack Obama's inauguration -- said it is aiming to raise $500,000 in the next week "to help push back against Sarah Palin and her allies."
"Right now, Sarah Palin is on a highly publicized, nationwide book tour, attacking President Obama and his plan for health reform at every turn," says the e-mail, signed by OFA Director Mitch Stewart. "It's dangerous. Remember, this is the person who coined the term 'Death Panels' -- and opened the flood gates for months of false attacks by special interests and partisan extremists."
Palin has managed to draw in large crowds on her book tour, illustrating the fact that she still has ardent political supporters more than a year after losing the 2008 election and months after resigning as governor of Alaska. Mainstream media outlets, as well as both conservative and liberal outlets, have thoroughly covered Palin's moves because of the public's strong interest in her.
It is open for debate, however, whether the DNC truly considers Palin a threat or is simply using Palin's current moment in the spotlight to its own advantage.
"This e-mail is a standard political tactic: use a highly controversial opponent to rally your base," CBS News' Political Director Steve Chaggaris said. "Knowing how strongly liberals dislike Palin, President Obama's political arm sees an opportunity and is trying to take advantage of that anti-Palin passion to benefit its cause."
Indeed, in spite of Palin's success with her new book, polls suggest the Republican star poses little real threat. Two-thirds of Americans said they would not like Sarah Palin to run for president in 2012 in a recent CBS News poll, and nearly two-thirds said she would not have the ability to be an effective president.
Palin's charisma, however, is undeniable. Fox News' Bill O'Reilly told Palin during an interview aired Thursday that she is a "media star, whereas there aren't any other Republicans who are media stars." O'Reilly called her a "threat," to which Palin responded, "Well, OK, whatever. I do know, though, that you are spot on when you say perhaps they fear a voice that's coming from the heartland of America. And I say that figuratively and literally."
Moreover, she has, as the DNC suggests, continued to attack the Democratic agenda. Most recently, she took to her Facebook page to address the new guidelines for cervical cancer screenings and link the matter to Democrats' health care reform plans.
"We need to carefully watch this debate as it coincides with Capitol Hill's debate and determine whether we are witnessing the early stages of that rationed care," she wrote.
The U.S. Army is allowing only limited media coverage of the book tour stop Palin will make at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, citing concerns that the event will inappropriately politicize the military reservation.
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