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‘One Nation’ Tour May Be A Misstep for Palin

Palin in Gettysburg. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

Sarah Palin is taking  a really boring family trip to various East Coast U.S. landmarks. Or maybe her “One Nation” tour is part of her 2012 Presidential run, creating opportunities for her to say things in locations that make her look really patriotic. She won’t say which it is, but she just keeps turning up in places and people keep asking questions and her tour bus keeps rolling on.

Much like Donald Trump, Sarah Palin is great at generating press attention. The ongoing “will she or won’t she run” question is sure to lure the media until a decision is finally announced. But ultimately will this be a successful tour? Or just another thing Palin did that got a lot of attention during a slow news period?

“Palin continues to say that she’s waiting to make up her mind on running for president, but her aides have indicated that a favorable response to the bus tour would push her closer toward a campaign,” writes Politico. And she has said that her campaign would be “unconventional.”

But with no clear goal established — what would be a favorable response, especially since she’s keeping the media at arms length? — it’s hard to tell what the measure for success will be.

When she’s got the media’s attention, she gives her answers to questions about issues like the economy and energy a test drive. But, of course, these answers aren’t really substantive, sticking with some variation of “cut spending” and “America is the best.”

The Christian Science Monitor also rightfully points out in a story called “Sarah Palin bus tour: What’s the point?” that the tour gives her the chance to tightly manage media coverage. So far, only Fox has gotten an interview with her. Meanwhile, the other potential or declared candidates are all over the news saying all sorts of who knows what. Rep. Michele Bachmann The Washington Post says, “comes across as serious and focused on her mission. That is, running for the GOP nomination for president.”

And that’s really where this sort of publicity game playing can backfire, as it did in the case of Donald Trump.

A different Post story quotes one Republican insider, who says this tour is “a joke.” And another who says she’s not running, but trying to be both “everything and nothing.”

“She just repeats what Republicans already believe, in an emotional and energetic way,” said a GOP strategist Alex Castellanos. “But when she leaves, republican voters are left right where they were standing when she entered the room.”

To that end, a recent Gallup poll found that despite having tremendous name recognition among Republican voters, her approval rating is only at 48 percent. On the other hand Rep. Bachmann (and former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain) are generating “the strongest positive reactions.”

Fittingly, there’s word now that Palin will meet with Trump tonight while she’s in New York.

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