Palin for President: You didn't really think Sarah Palin would announce her presidential run in Iowa today during the Restoring America rally, did you? Tea Party of America organizers pumped that possibility the past 2 weeks but they seemed to be the only ones pushing a possible Palin announcement that seriously. The group's website even asked people to vote on when Palin would make her announcement. At last check, more than 1,400 people voted. Much to the organizers delight, the most people voted that Palin would announce on the day of the rally. Although, that was just about 33%. Coming in right after that in 2nd place were people voting that Palin wouldn't run at at all (29%). Perhaps, 2,000 people came to the rally at the Indianola Balloon Field on a soggy football Saturday. It's a far cry from the 10-15,000 predictions we've heard during the week. And it seems unlikely the crowd was big enough to cover the organizers' $100,000 investment, especially since it was free to get in and $5 to park.
Palin did seem to offer a few more specifics in her speech than we've heard from her in the past. She called for repealing Obamacare, much like every other Republican out there. She also called for eliminating all of the federal corporate income taxes and helping to offset the lost federal revenue by eliminating corporate loopholes and ending bailouts. Palin mixed in a "dog gone" or two and poked fun at President Obama by criticizing his "hopey, changy stuff that didn't create one job in August". She questioned the national polls, saying polls "are for strippers and cross-country skiers". The crowd had fun with that one, as you might imagine. While Palin's smaller government, shrink the deficit and lower taxes talk sounded the Republican themes, she also seemed to try to separate herself by talking like a third-party, outside Washington possible candidate. She referred to the "permanent political class" in Washington. She said that class fails to bring change because "change doesn't happen because there's nothing in it for them".
As for the tea partiers, Palin said, "This movement isn't simply a political awakening. It's an American awakening." She challenged people to question all candidates' records, including Republicans. She asked people to ask the candidates, "What if anything do their donors expect in return?"
The speech did have that one moment where an announcement seemed like it could come through. At one point, Palin asked the crowd, "Are you willing to unite?" She continued talking about replacing Barack Obama. She asked, "Who or what will we replace him with?"
Almost on cue, the crowd then began its chant of "Sarah, Sarah, Sarah". Palin let the chants go on for a bit, but didn't acknowledge them. She then continued with her speech. No announcement. Not on this day. Will there be one later this month? Or will Palin use today as a way to launch herself as the "face" of this new loosely organized tea party movement instead and save the rigors or campaigning to the rest of the field?