Palin's Secret Weapon: New Film to Premiere in June

By Scott Conroy - May 25, 2011

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In the last couple of months, Palin has delivered major policy speeches, hired a chief of staff, made a well-publicized foreign trip that included a visit with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, all the while remaining consistent about her vow -- first made just days after the 2008 campaign ended -- that she would "crash through" any of the "open doors" that might lead to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Bannon intends to premiere the film in Iowa late next month before expanding the release to New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada. After the initial rollout in the four early voting states, the filmmaker will eventually release it to somewhere between 50 and 100 markets nationwide.

Palin aides have not yet decided whether the former governor will play an active role in the film's premiere, but there has been some preliminary discussion of purchasing copies of the film from Bannon to distribute as gifts to SarahPAC donors.

Bannon is also working out a video-on-demand deal that will make the movie more widely accessible.

Palin has been tight-lipped about which way she is leaning in regard to running for president next year, but her team of advisers is operating under the notion that they are laying the groundwork for a future campaign, until they are told otherwise.

Palin's future presidential bid might be based in the Phoenix area -- where Bristol Palin also recently purchased a new home -- but Palin's aides have yet to reach out to potential venues for a campaign headquarters in Arizona.

Despite Palin's apparent desire to wait as long as possible before making her decision, aides acknowledge that they will soon have to establish a more campaign-like operation in order to begin a more concerted effort to raise money and take other steps that would be required -- even for a potential candidate as unconventional as Palin.

Meanwhile, the news about Palin's initial effort to commission a film project to highlight her political record is sure to put additional pressure on Fox News to demand an answer from one of their star contributors on whether she intends to run for president or continue working as a political analyst on the network that may soon find itself reporting on her campaign.

Palin and her aides have appeared to recognize that despite some recent polls showing her near the top of the prospective Republican field, she still has substantial problems with independent voters and large swaths of the GOP. Even more daunting will be finding a way to explain persuasively just how it was that ethics complainers and liberal bloggers -- whom other politicians in her shoes might have largely dismissed as relatively minor nuisances -- succeeded in forcing her out of office.

But coming on the heels of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's decision not to join the fray, many grassroots conservatives are clamoring for a candidate who has both the stature and the sizzle to compete with President Obama.

If she does decide to run, "The Undefeated" will be the key element to her initial coming-out party. The film's impending release -- and the frenzied media attention that it is sure to generate -- will serve as a vivid wake-up call that despite the many obstacles in front of her, Palin's entry into the race would turn the campaign on its head in an instant, just as it did in 2008.

As she mulls her decision in the coming weeks, the other Republican candidates in the field will be left to prepare for a hibernating grizzly who appears poised to rise up once again.

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Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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