Palin: GOP 2012 field "gonna change up a lot"

ARLINGTON, VA - MAY 29: Former U.S. Vice presidential candidate and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin rides on a motorcycle before participating in 'Rolling Thunder' rally May 29, 2011 in Arlington, Virginia. Although not an official guest, former U.S. Vice presidential candidate and Alaska governor Sarah Palin is expected to participate in today's motorcycle parade from the Pentagon to the National Mall. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sarah Palin in D.C.
Sarah Palin rides on a motorcycle before participating in the 'Rolling Thunder' rally on May 29, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia.
Getty Images

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin says the field of contenders seeking the Republican nomination for president is still wide open, but won't say if she'll run.

"The field isn't set yet, not by a long shot," Palin told reporters outside of her hotel in Gettysburg, Pa., Monday evening.

"I think the Republican field is already quite strong. It's gonna change up a lot. And I think there will be more strong candidates jumping in."

While there appears to be mounting pressure from some GOP leaders for contenders to announce whether they'll run, Palin says "there is still a lot of time for folks to make up their mind and jump in and get their campaigns together."

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Palin spent the Memorial Day visiting historic sites in the Washington D.C. area, including the National Archives, nearby Mt. Vernon, and Fort McHenry in Maryland.

Asked if her "One Nation" bus tour, which extends up the East Coast to New Hampshire, is more of a sign that she'll jump into the race as well, Palin says it isn't a sure thing.

"I honestly don't know," she said, calm and smiling.

"It's still a matter of looking at the field and considering much. There truly is a lot to consider before you throw yourself out there in the name of service to the public because it's so all consuming."

If she does run, Palin promises an "unconventional and non-traditional" campaign style, which she's already starting to show with this trip.

Reporters have been chasing Palin for the past two days (her staff did not release a schedule for her bus tour) with little indication of where and when she might pop up. But it's not only the media who is unaware of where she'll be, but the public as well.

Scores of people waited in temperatures of over 100 degrees at the nearby historic Gettysburg battlefield, hoping to see a glimpse of Palin earlier today.

"I heard she was going to be here," said one woman, who had driven from Annapolis. "We saw Fox News was here, so we assume she might show up."

Questioned as to why there is a lack of advance notice, Palin responded: "We don't want to disrupt people on their trips and their vacations."

The reporter turned to a supporter standing alongside Palin, Ed Mildon of Knoxville, and asked if he thought Palin's presence and the accompanying pack of journalists was disruptive. Mildon replied, "Nah," and added, "She's a good Republican."

Palin shook hands and took photos with excited fans and young children before taking her daughter, Piper, out to buy running socks. "She's been borrowing mine," said Palin.

Earlier, Palin took a run outside of the hotel, seen sporting a bandana, black workout gear and "Juicy" label sunglasses.

Asked if she had any "big ideas" for changes in economic policy, Palin says, "The big ideas are for big tax cuts and for the job creators to be able to keep more of what they are earning and they are producing and reinvesting in their businesses instead of government taking it and then doling out the dollars according to a politician's priorities."

"That leads you towards socialism and look at the other countries that base their economy on that socialism," she concluded. "I want a strong economy, that's for doggone sure."

Asked if she felt a responsibility to her Tea Party supporters, Palin opened the car door to an idling SUV and said, "Not so much a responsibility, but a desire with a message of fiscal (conservativism) and constitutional conservatism."

Palin guided her daughter toward the SUV and paused in her response, telling her daughter "jump in, baby."

As Piper hopped in, Palin herself jumped right back to her point, saying her message is "making sure people know there are solutions out there. Common sense solutions to get the economy back on the right track, based on free enterprise," and closed the car door.

  • Ryan Corsaro

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