Monday, February 8, 2010

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Sunday that President Obama will not be re-elected unless he radically alters his policies, and she declared that she might — just might — consider running for his job in 2012.

Fresh off a fiery speech at the first national “tea party” convention, the 2008 Republican vice-presidential candidate said Mr. Obama has been tone-deaf to the economic angst of the American people and their national security concerns but has time to burnish his credentials by playing “the war card.”

“Say he played, and I got this from [Pat] Buchanan, reading one of his columns the other day, say he played the war card. Say he decided to declare war on Iran, or decided to really come out and do whatever he could to support Israel, which I would like him to do. But that changes the dynamics in what we can assume is going to happen between now and three years.” Mrs. Palin told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.

Mr. Wallace followed up by asking whether Mrs. Palin was suggesting that Mr. Obama would be cynical enough to go to war to aid his political fortunes.

“I’m not suggesting that,” said Mrs. Palin. “I’m saying, if he did, things would dramatically change, if he decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies.”

As for 2012, Mrs. Palin said she would “certainly” run for president “if I believe that is the right thing to do for our country and the Palin family.”

“I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I could potentially do to help our country. … I won’t close a door that perhaps could be open for me in the future,” Mrs. Palin said on Fox News, where she is a contributor.

“I think if the election were today, I do not think Obama would be re-elected. … He’s not going to win,” she said. “If he continues on the path that he has America on today. … There are many things that he is doing today that cause an uneasiness in many, many Americans.”

Mrs. Palin said the president is missing the point of the grass-roots “tea party” movement and not listening to the American people, many of whom are concerned about a government takeover of health care and a rising national debt.

“That’s what a lot of Americans are telling him today, and he’s not listening. Instead, he’s telling everybody else, ‘Listen up, and I’ll tell you the way it is.’ Well, we have a representative form of government in our democracy, and we want him, and we want Congress, to listen to what the things are that we are saying. And that’s what the tea party movement is about, too,” she said.

Mrs. Palin rallied conservatives Saturday night at the Nashville, Tenn., convention of the national tea party movement. Noting the Democratic Party’s dismal showing in elections since Mr. Obama moved into the White House a year ago with talk of hope and promises of change, Mrs. Palin asked the gathering: “How’s that hope-y, change-y stuff workin’ out for ya?”

She ribbed Mr. Obama for Democratic losses in New Jersey and Virginia governor’s races last fall and in a Senate race in Massachusetts last month, saying: “When you’re 0 for 3, you’d better stop lecturing and start listening.”

Mrs. Palin talked of limited government, strict adherence to the Constitution and the “God-given right” of freedom. She said the “fresh, young and fragile” movement is the future of American politics because it’s “a ground-up call to action” to both major political parties to change how they do business.

“America is ready for another revolution,” she told the gathering.

Mrs. Palin suggested that the movement should remain leaderless and cautioned against allowing it to be defined by any one person.

“Let us not get bogged down in the small squabbles. Let us get caught up in the big ideas,” she said as supporters chanted, “Run, Sarah, run.”

On her Sunday appearance on Fox, Mrs. Palin defended speaking before the group, which takes issue with both political parties.

Asked whether she sees herself as a member of the tea party movement or a member of the Republican Party, Mrs. Palin said, “I think the two are, and should be even more so, merging.”

“Because the tea party movement is quite reflective of what the GOP, the planks in the platform, are supposed to be about — limited government and more freedom, more respect for equality. That’s what the tea party movement is about. So I think that the two are much entwined,” she said.

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