In a cover story on Sarah Palin for this week's Time magazine, the former vice presidential nominee took aim at President Obama's presidential strength, comparing him to former President Jimmy Carter and even mocking his golf habit - quipping that, unlike the president, she's been so occupied "helping people" that her own golf game has taken a back seat.
"I'm very busy helping people and causes," Palin told Time's Jay Newton-Small in an e-mail interview for the story. "So busy, in fact, I haven't had Time to hit the links in quite a few years."
Palin also contended that, if she decides to run for president, it would be for the good of the American people - not her ego: "I would run because the country is more important than my ease, though I'm not necessarily living a life of ease," she wrote.
When asked what she thought of Mr. Obama's presidency so far, Palin said, "Two words: Jimmy Carter," and pointed to what she perceives as his political vulnerability. "In battleground states, he's polling at 40% or below," she told Time.
Palin also obliquely addressedamong Republican leadership that she can mount an effective campaign against Mr. Obama in a potential 2012 presidential matchup. The ideal Republican nominee should be "someone who can draw a sharp contrast," Palin said. "The country is rejecting his agenda ... My vision of America is diametrically opposed to his. He sees America as the problem. I see America as the solution."
Palin also outlined a set of priorities for "the next Republican President," first among which was "to sign a bill for the repeal and replacement of Obamacare with true free-market, patient-centered reform."
Doing that, Palin argues, "would help to cut future deficits. It would also send a strong signal to America's workers and employers that government is back on their side and is no longer seeking to impose its one-size-fits-all 'solutions' from above."
"We need to start really living within our means," Palin continued. "As any mother or father will tell you, don't spend what you don't have."
Palin went on to say that her political views are much more mainstream than many might argue. "My positions are not at all controversial. The majority of Americans agree with me across the board on the issues. I think it's a personal thing that probably stems from media demonization of me and mischaracterization of what I stand for," she said. "Shoot, if I read and believed all the lies these guys write about me, I wouldn't like me either!"
"There are constant rumors out there about us," Palin elaborated, in a recent interview with ABC's Barbara Walters. "I saw on the cover of a tabloid that we were getting a $20 million divorce. I was in the grocery checkout line when I saw it and I called Todd and said, 'I can't believe the cover of this magazine! This is what it says.' And Todd says, 'Twenty million bucks? Write me a check.'"
"There is a lot of B.S. out there," Palin told Walters. "I don't want to just believe that it comes with the territory, when you put yourself forward, in the name of public service, that you have to take that kind of garbage that's out there."
In a Tweet on Thursday morning, Rebecca Mansour, Palin's speechwriter, questioned the accuracy of the Time piece: "Every other line in this TIME piece gibberish. Obama 'hiring his way out of a recession.' No, Palin accused him of 'spending' his way out," she wrote, in reference to a line in the piece where Newton-Small said Palin "has accused the Administration of bankrupting the government by trying to hire its way out of the recession."
Lucy Madison is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.