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Sarah Palin: I'm "still thinking about" running for president

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin speaks to the Long Island Association in New York on Feb. 17, 2011.

Updated: 3:58 PM ET

Delivering remarks before a Long Island business group on Thursday, Sarah Palin said she was "still thinking about" whether or not she would run for president in 2012, and emphasized that "I haven't made up my mind."

She added, however, that she had hired a chief of staff - and said that if she did run, she would operate a traditional in-the-field campaign.

"Nothing is more effective than being there with the people in the diner shaking hands," she said.

Palin, whose rare public appearance was tightly controlled to the media, reiterated her distaste for the national press - and attributed poor poll numbers to the claim that the media "reports things that have really misrepresented my record."

The numbers "are what they are," she said. "How else does the public know me though, than through the press?"

"I look at those poll numbers and I say, if I'm going to do this then obviously I have to get out there," Palin continued. "I can't rely on a liberal leaning press to do that for you. That's why social media is going to be so important."

The 2008 vice presidential candidate also criticized President Obama for his recent budget proposal, and argued that the plan "it's not really a dent'' in the deficit.

"It's not nearly enough," she said, adding that she thought Mr. Obama's budget plan would take the country "on the road to ruin."

(Watch excerpt's from Palin's remarks at left.)

In criticizing Mr. Obama's economic policies, Palin also managed to slip in a jab at Michelle Obama's recent promotion of breast feeding.

"It's no wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you need to breast feed your babies," Palin quipped. The price of milk is so high!"

The controversial former Alaska governor - and potential future presidential candidate - went on to defend her support for gun "freedoms," arguing that additional gun control laws would not have prevented "an evil sick person" like alleged Tucson killer Jared Loughner from "fulfilling his mission" to hurt others.

"I don't support taking away even more freedoms from the good guys," she said. "The bad guys aren't going to follow the laws that are on the books today. They're not going to follow any new laws that are put on the books either."

Many criticized Palin in the days following Tucson's Jan. 8 shootings for having employed gun-loaded rhetoric and imagery in the 2010 campaign - particularly regarding the use of a "target list" of lawmakers Palin wanted to see unseated in the midterm elections. (Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and severely wounded in the attack, was on the list of "targeted" congress members.)

"Our hearts go out to the victims and pray for the full recovery of Gabby Giffords," Palin said on Thursday. "The criminal, he was an evil sick person. And adding another law to the book would not I believe have prohibited him from somehow some way fulfilling his mission and the mission he was on was to harm fellow human beings."

Watch more of Palin's remarks from the event below:

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