(WASILLA, ALASKA) - After campaigning coast to coast on Monday, Sarah Palin caught a few winks on a red-eye flight to her home state, where fresh snow glistened in the early-morning moonlight as the temperature hovered around 14 degrees.
Palin voted early this morning inside the tiny City Hall building where just six years ago she presided as mayor of this once unknown frontier town outside Anchorage. Proudly donning her "I Voted Today" sticker, the Alaska governor delivered a short statement to reporters and took a few questions before she heads to Phoenix to find out whether she'll become the first female vice president of the United States.
It's been a whirlwind couple of months for Palin, who has fallen under perhaps more scrutiny than any vice presidential candidate in the nation's history. But as usual, she portrayed an almost mystifying sense of calm, considering all that she has been through in such a relatively short time.
"So we have a very optimistic, very confident view of what's going to happen today, and again, so glad to get to be home in Wasilla to cast this vote," she said. "Because forever I'm gonna be Sarah from Alaska. And it's an honor to get to be here with my friends and family."
Palin refused to divulge whom she voted for in the Alaska U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Ted Stevens — who was recently convicted on seven felony corruption charges — and Democrat Mark Begich.
After the early morning vote, Palin stopped by "Mocha Moose," one of her favorite drive-through espresso shops, which dot the strip malls around Wasilla.
A reporter asked Palin about what her future role in national politics will be, whether she wins or loses this election. The Alaska governor — who has delivered some of the most partisan barbs of this election cycle — gave an answer that was fitting to the setting, where many residents here know her as a non-ideological problem solver, rather than a socially conservative firebrand.
"You know, if there is a role in national politics it won't be so much partisan," Palin said. "My efforts have always been here in the state of Alaska to get everybody to unite and work together to progress this state … it certainly would be a uniter type of role."