Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin certainly wants people to think she’s running for president. But is she? That’s another question entirely.
In the past few days, she’s traveled to Wisconsin to speak at the site of a major battle over union rights, unveiled a new campaign-ready website and her spokeswoman, Rebecca Mansour, has spent days antagonizing reporters over their Palin coverage.
Mansour has even suggested, through “retweets,” that Palin is running.
For example, Mansour retweeted John Nolte, the editor of Andrew Breitbart’s “Big Hollywood” site, linking to a “GREAT photo of the next President of the United States” — Sarah Palin.
However, Nolte, in an interview, said he had no idea if she plans to run.
“I honestly don’t know. I would love for her to run,” Nolte said.
Republican campaign operatives and other experts who scrutinize potential candidates’ every move for clues remain befuddled because, as even supporters concede, Palin plays by her own rules.
The normal indications a politician is running for president, such as assembling a staff and establishing a campaign infrastructure in key early primary states, may not indicate Palin is, or is not, about to launch her candidacy.
In terms of those traditional cues, they would point to her not running.
For instance, a knowledgeable Republican in Iowa said Palin has “no” ground presence in that state. The last time Palin appeared in Iowa for a political event was in September 2010. The only time she’s been there since was for a couple stops on her book tour.
Meanwhile, there is no doubt Palin is thirsting for publicity.
Mansour, again on Twitter, spent the past 24 hours blasting media outlets for not giving Palin enough attention.
In one example, Mansour gratuitously suggested the Washington Post did not cover Palin’s speech in Wisconsin because Jennifer Rubin, a conservative blogger at the Post who has criticized Palin, wouldn’t “approve” it.
“Hi @washingtonpost I didn’t see much coverage of @SarahPalinUSA’s Madison speech. What gives? I suppose @JrubinBlogger didn’t approve of it,” tweeted Mansour.
GOP strategist Alex Castellanos recently said Palin may need to briefly run for president if her approval ratings continue to plummet, as a way to “refresh the brand,” according to Rob Saliterman, a former Bush administration official who heard Castanellos speak at Harvard April 13.
In most recent polls for the Republican primary, Palin is trailing real estate mogul Donald Trump, let alone front runners Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney.
Mansour did not reply to requests for comment.