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Sarah Palin to keynote September 'tea party' gathering in Iowa

July 27, 2011|By Michael A. Memoli

Sarah Palin's flirtation with a presidential run is back in full swing.

The former Alaska governor will headline a major "tea party" gathering in Iowa in September, just as the Republican nomination fight begins in earnest. Tea Party of America Wednesday announced Palin's participation in the Sept. 3 "Restoring America" event.

"We don’t need a 'fundamental transformation' of America. We need a restoration of all that is good and strong and free," Palin says in the group's news release. "The 2012 election will be a great debate between those two conflicting visions for our country."

"Gov. Palin embodies the spirit of public service that our founders believed was essential to the survival of our liberties and our republic itself," Charlie Gruschow, Tea Party of America's co-founder, said in the release. "We couldn’t be more delighted to have this citizen leader who represents the values that Iowans and Americans hold so dear."

Palin was last seen -- aside from Fox News appearances and Facebook posts -- at the premiere of a laudatory documentary film about her governorship in Pella, Iowa, in June. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) was announcing her candidacy elsewhere in the state that same week.

The film, "The Undefeated," just got an extended national run at AMC theaters.

Before that, Palin was barnstorming historical sites -- and the Trump Tower -- on a One Nation tour that began in Washington on Memorial Day weekend. She was expected to add additional stops beyond the mid-Atlantic states, but never did.

Now, with a keynote speaking slot in the lead-off caucus state of Iowa, Palin is reigniting the "will she or won't she" debate. She does so as speculation builds that another favorite of the "tea party" activists, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, appears set to decide whether to run.

Perry is headlining his own major event in August, a day of prayer in Houston called "The Response."

Real Clear Politics, which first reported the Iowa speaking engagement, added that "all signs now point to September as the month when Palin would throw her hat into the ring." Labor Day has become an unofficial marker in the political calendar; there are multiple candidate debates scheduled to take place that month.

A new Gallup poll shows a wide-open race for the GOP nomination if Palin and Perry, along with former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, join the field. Romney leads the pack with 17% support among national respondents, followed closely by Perry at 15% and Palin at 12%.

If the field is limited to those who have formally entered, Romney is a more decided front-runner at 27% support, followed by Bachmann at 18%.

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