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Sarah Palin Teases Running For President: I Have That Fire In My Belly

Reported by Ellen - May 20, 2011 -

Sarah Palin is probably the last of the 2012 presidential candidate poseurs. Now that Trump and Huckabee have given up the teasing charades, and Gingrich, Romney and Pawlenty are clearly in, Palin is milking her last moments left in the sun before she inevitably bows out. Thanks to her interview with Greta Van Susteren last night (5/19/11), we even know what her excuse will be – her concern for family. Nevertheless, she wants you to know, “I have that fire in my belly.” In the meanwhile, if you have any propensity for motion sickness, pay no attention to that ever-shifting goal post she keeps setting for the media about what they should and should not ask a candidate.

You may recall that on Wednesday night (5/18/11), Palin spent a good deal of time on Hannity where she first said candidates have to be prepared to deal with and overcome gotcha questions. Then, later, in the same interview, she advised that candidates should just ignore any reporters who play that “game.”

Apparently, Palin recorded her interview with Van Susteren the same day – either that or Palin was wearing the same suit the very next day. Either way, it was a short span of time to come up with a whole different approach toward the media – and even then she changed it again during the interview.

Although on Hannity Palin had suggested that Newt Gingrich’s recent troubles were the result of a “lamestream, leftist media” out to get him (and never mind that it’s Republicans who are upset about what he said), she was now on the side of holding candidates responsible.

Absolutely that is the media’s appropriate role in holding an official or a potential candidate, holding their feet to the fire. Not playing the personal gotchas, but making sure that the record is clear regarding what it is that they say… If the media doesn’t play that role, then they’re not a cornerstone of the democracy that we’d like to believe that they are.

They got back to the media later. But first, Van Susteren asked, “Do you have that fire in your belly (to run)?”

Palin answered, “I think my problem is that I do have the fire in my belly. I am so adamantly supportive of the good, traditional things about America and our free enterprise system and I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012. I have that fire in my belly.”

Palin said what’s holding her back are “practical, pragmatic decisions” including “sacrifices that have to be made on my children’s part… but yeah, the fire in the belly, it’s there. That’s kind of my problem is that it’s such a roaring fire in my belly to preserve and restore all that’s good about America that I struggle with that every single day.”

Plus, of course, there’s the little factor of her huge unpopularity and the unlikelihood of any support from Washington Republicans.

To her credit, the Palin lapdog of 2008 was nowhere to be seen and Van Susteren asked pretty good, probing questions. Though she didn’t bring up all the obvious practical reasons Palin is unlikely to run, Van Susteren did challenge Palin’s “It’s my family I’m thinking of” claim. Van Susteren asked if there was really anything more for Palin’s children to go through - hadn’t they already been through “the hell of it?” At some point, Van Susteren said, “you just reach a saturation point.”

Palin claimed she was past caring about all the attacks on her. “I feel like I have a prayer shield in front of me that deflects a lot of that. I just want to make sure that for my loved ones, for my parents, for my spouse and my children and those close to me that they have that tool to deflect also so that they’re not adversely affected, so that they can come along on the ride.”

Very noble and if anyone buys that I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

As a late 2010 article in Vanity Fair reported,

There’s a general consensus in town that, at least since the start of the 2008 campaign, Todd has been shouldering the bulk of the parenting and that Sarah’s relationship with her children has grown more distant. The children did not, as Sarah has claimed, have a chance to weigh in on her decision to run for vice president. She did not even deliver the news to them personally; as has been reported, she asked McCain’s campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, to do it for her.

As for the prayer shield, it must have been in the shop when Palin came under the gun (pun intended) in the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting and made the now-infamous "blood libel" remarks.

Then the discussion turned back to the media. Palin began to lecture Van Susteren. "Come after us based on our record, based on our present-day statements about what we intend to do to, for, with this country. Don’t come after us for little, petty, stupid things like…”

Van Susteren interrupted. “Then don’t take the bait,” she said sternly.

After babbling about being forced to take the bait (citing a tabloid who said they were going to run what Palin called a false story about one of her children, whether she commented or not), Palin then said, “Yeah, I’ll take you up on that and me being more committed to not taking the bait and you being able to lead your colleagues and just gettin’ the facts out there. Who, what, when, where and why and reporting. Hammer away at our records and our intentions and what our view for America is. Lay off the petty stuff.”

Van Susteren didn’t back down. “Anybody’s got any dirt, though, you know, really bad things in the past… voters need to know that.” She cited Arnold Schwarzenneger as an example of his personal life being relevant and important to report about. “Some of the stuff stings and hurts but it’s the process… I guess that’s where you got to have that fire in your belly to take it.”

Palin immediately changed her “just the present facts and record” tune. “That’s fair for the media to come after candidates based on that kind of criteria: what really matters and have their past actions been a reflection of their character and how perhaps that they would govern and try to lead." Palin now laid out her new standard for unfairness. "What isn’t fair, though, is when it’s only one-sided. When it’s only the conservatives, say, who get hammered away at those things that the press wants to know.” She cited as “the perfect example” “Obama’s record not being explored, his associations in the last campaign not being explored and now revelations of some of his upbringing, maybe some of his background, certainly his associations, how they impact his world view and how that affects his decisions today.”

In other words, it’s reasonable to look at Obama’s childhood – which has nothing to do with his record - because it might “impact his world view” but asking Palin what newspapers and magazines inform her world view are lame or worse.

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