Palin Iowa trip rekindles presidential buzz
It will be seven months until the Iowa caucuses kick off the Republican presidential nominating contest for 2012. But politicians can't go to the Hawkeye State without setting tongues wagging about possible presidential aspirations.
And, as CBS News political correspondent Jan Crawford reports, Sarah Palin heads to Pella, Iowa today to attend the premiere of a documentary about political career, "The Undefeated."
After her much hyped bus-tour, the former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee's intentions remain unclear -- but her decision to head for Iowa for the premiere has pundits once again wondering whether she'll enter the GOP fray.
"I think she is genuinely undecided," RealClearPolitics.com's Scott Conroy told CBS News. "That's really hard for people to sort of grasp. I mean, traditionally, politicians make up their mind about this and they play coy. But I think she's really still thinking this through."
President Obama also heads to Iowa today. He'll be just a few hours down the road, in Bettendorf, touring a factory and pushing his case for manufacturing jobs. It's part of his effort to shore up his approval ratings with voters dissatisfied by how he's handling the economy as he seeks a second term.
The appearances by Palin and Mr. Obama, though, are unlikely to dampen the shine of the state's star of the moment, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, Crawford observes. Bachmann's riding high on strong poll numbers and a Monday announcement in Waterloo, Iowa, where she was born, that she's tossed her hat into the ring.
At this point in a presidential cycle, Crawford notes, Iowa always gets a lot of attention -- and for good reason - it has the power to propel a candidate who could be seen as a long shot into national prominence. And it's doing just that so far for Bachmann.
When Palin burst on the national scene in 2008 as John McCain's running mate, her political future seemed almost limitless, Crawford adds.
But now, some voters in Iowa are suggesting it may be time for her to step aside.
Linda Zermeno, 61, told CBS News, "I respect her a lot, and I really do like her, but I think it's time for her to step back"
Many Republicans in Iowa say Palin has been so badly damaged by years of negative media coverage, it would be better to go with someone else -- like Bachmann.
One such voter is Sharon Adams, 65, from Waterloo, who says Bachmann "is more credible. She has the knowledge, she has the experience. Her family is raised. She has the time to devote her total career to politics ... and to be president of the United States.
Even the new Des Moines Register poll of likely Iowa caucus participants, Palin's disapproval rating is 37 percent.
Enter Steve Bannon, the director of the new movie about Palin, who insists, "Gov. Palin, whether you like her or not, is a person of substance."
The movie shows the relentless attacks on Palin, and highlights her accomplishments.
"Whether she decides to run for president or not," Bannon says, "she certainly deserves a place at the table alongside Governors (Mitt) Romney, (Tim) Pawlenty), and Herman Cain and Congressman Bachmann and other people who are considering running."
The film makes the case that Palin is either running for president -- or should be. And Bannon hopes his movie changes the minds of Palin naysayers.
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