"Major indicator" of Sarah Palin run on the way?
In the strongest sign yet of a possible Sarah Palin run at the presidency, filmmaker Stephen Bannon this week announced a $1 million documentary, "The Undefeated," about her term as Alaska's governor.
Scott Conroy, a reporter at RealClearPolitics.com and co-author of "Sarah from Alaska," got a sneak peek at the documentary and said on "The Early Show" Thursday he's heard from "several reliable sources" that, over the next couple of days, another "major indicator" is going to surface that she's ready to run in 2012.
Of the documentary, Conroy said, "This is really the biggest news that we've had in a while about Sarah Palin in terms of her presidential prospects. It's suggests strongly that she's been planning something all along. She's been kind of quiet."
Ever since her meteoric rise on the national political scene, Palin has fueled speculation.
She's said, "I would (run for president) if I believed that was the right thing for our country and for the Palin family, certainly."
When Mary Hart asked Palin on "ET" if she's planning to run in the upcoming election, Palin said, "You know, I have not decided what I'm going to do."
After dropping out of the national spotlight earlier this year, Palin strongly suggested a possible run for the nation's highest office in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last week.
Palin told her, "I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track, and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012. I have that fire in my belly."
Now, there are unconfirmed reports that Palin is buying a house in Arizona as a launching-off point for a national campaign -- a house that's not far from the home her daughter Bristol purchased last year.
Whether the documentary is successful at rebuilding Palin's image remains to be seen, but it premieres in Iowa next month.The documentary, Conroy said, covers Palin's years as governor in Alaska.
Conroy said, "A lot of people, even Sarah Palin's biggest fans, don't really know anything about her record in Alaska. And that's really what the film focuses on. Her record in Alaska as governor for the first two--and-a-half years that she was in office, the only two-and-a-half years, was very impressive for the most part. She accomplished a lot on oil and gas issues. She really was the kind of maverick that's now become sort of a cliche. But that's what attracted her to the McCain campaign. She had approval ratings that were consistently above 80 percent. And she accomplished a lot for the state. She was really a transformative governor in a lot of ways."
He continued, "So I think what the movie tries to do is it tries to reintroduce her to people who may have already written her off. You know, she became sort of a firebrand for conservatives in the campaign in 2008 and afterwards. But this is really going to try to recapture her independent streak."
Still, Palin faces a lot of challenges in a potential candidacy, says CBS News Political Correspondent Jan Crawford. On "The Early Show," Crawford said the fact Palin quit as governor is problematic even for some of her staunchest supporters.
"What does that say, kind of, about her fire in the belly to lead going forward -- whether she was able to win the presidency?" Crawford remarked. "You know, this really reminds me, though, when we're all looking at these clues, and of course people since 2008, November '08 after the election, have been wondering, 'Is Sarah Palin been going to run for president?'
"When you start seeing all these clues, it's kind of like those ink blot tests, where one person can look at all these dots and see a face and another person can look at them and see, you know, a vase. We have all these clues today that, yes, she's going to run. So it makes some people think she is.
"But then I see so many reasons that she will not. For example, she has this lucrative speaking career. She's really a national figure in the Republican Party, recommending candidates. No sign that she's going to be a candidate herself. She likes that national stage. But no evidence that she's actually stepping into a campaign to become a presidential candidate. She does have, as I mentioned, negatives."
If Palin were to run, Crawford said, she could have an "enormous effect" on the field of candidates because she's so popular.
"She could immediately jump in," Crawford said. "Her name recognition is sky-high, and (she could) rise right to the top of those polls on people who are looking for an exciting, dynamic Republican candidate. Whether or not she could go the distance is an entirely open question. She's also very divisive. Some Republicans have started to turn against her a little bit, because she resigned (as) governor, and they worry she's too divisive to beat Barack Obama. And there are other people out there now who may jump in as Sarah Palin lets this play out."
Michele Bachmann, Crawford said, is one of the people "we really have to watch."
"(Bachmann) could make a real difference in this race if she gets in," Crawford said.
Conroy responded to the Bachmann suggestion with caution.
"We have to be careful about some of these narratives that develop inside the Beltway over the last couple of months," he said. "We've heard a lot about Michele Bachmann and it looks pretty clear that she probably is seriously considering a run. But we have to remember, you know, Sarah Palin is someone who singlehandedly turned the 2008 campaign on its head. She can draw a crowd of tens of thousands of people, whenever and wherever she wants. So I mean, she's been very consistent, I think, since 2008, that she's seriously considering a run -"
Crawford interjected, "OK, Scott, I'm going to -- I'm going to jump in here, because, obviously, she can draw crowds. And obviously she is a major player in the political scene and has a real impact on politics and talking about important issues. People listen to Sarah Palin, and she has important things to contribute. But Newt Gingrich can draw huge crowds, and most people think he's not going to be elected president, either. Michele Bachmann, I'm not, you know, saying she's going to be, but she is a serious person. She was a federal tax lawyer. She's got a record of accomplishment. So, you know, don't write her off when we're all looking at Sarah Palin."
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