Sarah Palin sat down with Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly on Friday night. The inevitable question inevitably came up: Is she running for president in 2012? To what has to be the disappointment of her ardent supporters, Palin says she is still “months away” from a decision. TWE breathes in a deep sigh of relief, however. The “Campaign 2012: Hello Sarah Palin GOP Presidential Candidate” post is nowhere near ready.
So will Palin run? Perhaps not. Fox News suspended Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum as commentators last week because they are openly flirting with a White House run. Palin, however, remains on the payroll and the airwaves. Roger Ailes and Fox News may know something the rest of us don’t. Plus Palin isn’t spending any time in Iowa, which hosts the first official event of the GOP nomination process. By contrast, Newt Gingrich, Tim Pawlenty, and even Michele Bachmann have been visiting the state that is warmer than Minnesota and more exciting than Nebraska.
On the other hand, an interview Palin did on Friday for the Fox Business Network suggests that 2012 is on her mind. She took a shot at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, the new darling of many Tea Partiers. Christie, who insists he’s too busy fixing the Garden State to run for president in 2012, says he doesn’t find the crop of potential GOP presidential candidates inspiring. Palin looks to have taken that as a personal slight. She shot back:
With all due respect to Gov. Christie, you know, he has no choice but to cut budgets because he’s broke, his state is broke. What courage really is, is in the face of having a surplus when you have opportunity to spend, spend, spend other people’s money, and then you still choose to reign in government, to let the private sector soar. That’s real courage, and by the way that’s what I did as governor here [in Alaska] when I engaged in hiring freezes and reduced earmarks by 86 percent and vetoed the largest amounts in our state’s history, despite having a surplus. That’s, that’s real leadership and that’s courage.
Palin’s jab highlights one of the advantages that President Obama has going for him in 2012: Republicans will be spending the next fifteen months tearing each other down. That circular firing squad will give Obama plenty of ammunition for the general election campaign. You can bet he will use it.