Reporting from Washington — Fresh off her speech to the Tea Party Convention, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday left open the possibility that she would run for president in 2012 and asserted that President Obama would lose if the election were held today.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Palin was asked about a recent poll that showed her topping a field of potential Republican candidates by 5 percentage points. She told interviewer Chris Wallace that she would run for the 2012 GOP nomination "if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family."
"I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country," she added.
Palin's political ambitions are getting renewed attention after her address to the convention Saturday in Nashville. At one point during her address, a buoyant crowd burst into a chant of, "Run, Sarah, run."
She seemed willing. As John McCain's vice presidential nominee in 2008, she was criticized by some members of his campaign staff as ill-informed on global and national issues. Since her resignation as governor, she said, she is more conversant with issues outside Alaska.
"Now, of course, my focus has been enlarged," she said Sunday. "So I sure as heck better be more astute on these current events, national issues than I was two years ago."
Whatever Palin's intentions, it does her no harm to leave her options open, said one Republican strategist.
"This far out from the election, it would be insane for her to rule out running even if she has no intention of actually doing it," Todd Harris said in an interview Sunday. "As long as the possibility is out there, it helps add to her cachet. It adds to her political power. And, frankly, it helps fill seats at rallies and sell books."
Palin predicted Obama would be a one-term president unless he changed strategy. If he should play "the war card" and "declare war on Iran," that might change public opinion in Obama's favor, she said.
Asked by Wallace if she meant Obama might "cynically play the war card," Palin said, "Things would dramatically change if he decided to toughen up and do all that he can do to secure our nation and our allies."
Palin also had harsh words for Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Both should resign, she said: "I think these guys are giving our president wrong advice."
Emanuel apologized last week for referring to a group of liberal Democrats as "retarded." Palin has a child with Down syndrome.
As for Holder, she charged that he is giving terrorists constitutional protections they don't merit. Holder made the decision to try Sept. 11 suspects in civilian court rather than in a military tribunal.