Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at a fundraiser this month. (Ed Andrieski, Associated…)
Reporting from Washington — In the clearest indication to date that she is seriously considering a presidential run, Sarah Palin plans to launch a nationwide bus tour Sunday from Washington.
"Gov. Palin and the SarahPAC team will begin a trip through our nation's rich historical sites, starting from Washington, D.C., and going up through New England," said a statement posted Thursday on Palin's political action committee website. "The 'One Nation Tour' is part of our new campaign to educate and energize Americans about our nation's founding principles, in order to promote the fundamental restoration of America."
The website RealClearPolitics, which first reported the story, said the tour could last several weeks and would be divided into separate geographical stretches, according to unnamed sources close to the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice presidential nominee.
The first stop will be at the Rolling Thunder Memorial Day weekend motorcycle rally in Washington. A New England tour would seem to suggest a visit to New Hampshire, which hosts the first 2012 presidential primary.
Palin said as recently as last week that she was still considering a run, but refused to offer any clues as to her timetable for making a decision. Her website said the tour was being funded through her PAC.
Palin's plans have become the subject of heightened speculation recently, after reports that she and her husband, Todd, had purchased an 8,000-square-foot house in Scottsdale, Ariz., for about $1.7 million — a place that could be used as a national campaign base.
She continues to be a contract employee with Fox News Channel, which has cut ties with other Republican employees who have launched campaigns. A Fox spokesman said Palin's status with the network remained unchanged.
A Gallup poll released Thursday showed Palin virtually tied with GOP front-runner Mitt Romney in a national survey of Republican and Republican-leaning independent voters. Romney was supported by 17% and Palin by 15%.
James Oliphant in the Washington bureau contributed to this report.