- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 11, 2008

WASILLA, Alaska | Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, amid speculation she’ll run for president in four years, blamed Bush administration policies for the defeat last week of the Republican ticket and prayed she wouldn’t miss “an open door” for her next political opportunity.

“I’m like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I’m like, don’t let me miss the open door,” Mrs. Palin said in an interview with Fox News on Monday. “And if there is an open door in ‘12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I’ll plow through that door.”

In a wide-ranging interview with Fox’s Greta Van Susteren, Mrs. Palin says she neither wanted nor asked for the $150,000-plus wardrobe the Republican Party bankrolled, and thought the issue was an odd one at the end of the campaign, considering “what is going on in the world today.”

“I did not order the clothes. Did not ask for the clothes,” Mrs. Palin said. “I would have been happy to have worn my own clothes from Day One. But that is kind of an odd issue, an odd campaign issue as things were wrapping up there as to who ordered what and who demanded what.”

“It’s amazing that we did as well as we did,” Mrs. Palin, who was Sen. John McCain’s running mate, said of the election in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

“I think the Republican ticket represented too much of the status quo, too much of what had gone on in these last eight years, that Americans were kind of shaking their heads like going, wait a minute, how did we run up a $10 trillion debt in a Republican administration? How have there been blunders with war strategy under a Republican administration? If we’re talking change, we want to get far away from what it was that the present administration represented and that is to a great degree what the Republican Party at the time had been representing,” Mrs. Palin said in a story published Sunday.

Mrs. Palin has scheduled a series of national interviews this week with Fox, NBC’s “Today” show and CNN. She also plans to attend the Republican Governors Association conference in Florida this week.

Mrs. Palin has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012. She also could seek re-election in 2010 or challenge Sen. Lisa Murkowski. Still uncertain is the fate of Sen. Ted Stevens, who is leading in his bid for another term but could be ousted by the Senate for his conviction on seven felony counts of failing to report more than $250,000 in gifts, mostly renovations on his home. If Stevens loses his seat, Mrs. Palin could run for it in a special election.

Mrs. Palin and Mr. McCain’s campaign faced a storm of criticism over the tens of thousands of dollars spent at such high-end stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to dress the nominee. Republican National Committee lawyers are trying to determine exactly what clothing was bought for Mrs. Palin, what was returned and what has become of the rest.

Her father, Chuck Heath, said Mrs. Palin spent part of the weekend going through her clothing to determine what belongs to the Republican Party.

“She was just frantically … trying to sort stuff out,” Mr. Heath said.

RNC lawyers have been discussing with Mrs. Palin whether what’s left of the clothing and accessories purchased for her on the campaign trail will go to charity, back to stores or be paid for by Mrs. Palin, a McCain-Palin campaign official said Friday, speaking on the condition of anonymity because the campaign hadn’t authorized comment.

cAP writer Sharon Theimer contributed to this report.

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