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Palin Hand Crib Notes Attract Scrutiny

(AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
Updated at 5 p.m. ET

Former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's appearance before the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville Saturday night gave plenty of red meat to the attendees, such as calling President Obama "a charismatic guy with a Teleprompter."

The thousand-plus Tea Party attendees who paid $300 to hear her speak (Palin was paid $100,000 for her appearance) probably did not glimpse Palin's own handy Teleprompter — crib notes written on her left hand.

She could be seen glancing at them during her Q&A with Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips when asked what were the top three things a Conservative majority in Congress should do.

A AP photographer's picture revealed the words "Energy," "Budget cuts" (crossed out), "Tax," and "Lift Americans Spirits" scribbled in ink on the inside of her left hand.

CBS News political analyst John Dickerson said the revelation may give some ammunition for her critics, but also that it matters less than what she says (or doesn't say) right now.

"We all face a little difficulty getting our words together in public moments," he said on CBS' "The Early Show." "I think it will be the kind of thing the Democrats will use to pick at her, the notion that basically she doesn't have the capabilities to be president. And this is a way to bedevil her. I don't think in the long term this will cause her too much trouble."

But, Dickerson said, scrutiny of Palin is bound to increase if she were to say categorically something she hinted at yesterday in a Fox News interview — that she would run for president in 2012 "if I believe that it's right for the country."

"She may still decide not to run," Dickerson said, "and it's always better to kind of keep your options open. If she said she were running, then everything she says [is] raised to a higher level. There's a little bit more scrutiny. She's being scrutinized plenty enough already, but it would raise things up a little bit more. Now she gets to sort of have it all ways."

Another of her Q&A comments that could get more scrutiny would be her admonition that politicians should not promise to work in a bipartisan manner if they don't intend to carry through on their promises because it builds a corrosive distrust.

"Don't tell the American people, don't fake it, don't pretend like you want to work with the other party on that, because that distrust that is built —and this is what I would work on if I were in a position [to do so] — the distrust that is built makes us distrust all the decisions that are made coming out of Washington and that makes us a less secure nation," she said.

Update:Palin on Sunday showed she was taking the criticism of her crib notes in stride. At a campaign event for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Palin wrote on her hand, "Hi Mom!"

Watch Dickerson's analysis below:

Watch Palin's full Tea Party speech below:

More on Palin:

Palin: I'd Run for President If It's Right for U.S.
Palin Says Republican Party Should Absorb the Tea Party
Palin: "America is Ready for Another Revolution"