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Palin's "Exploratory" Campaign: A Nationwide Bus Tour

Palin's "Exploratory" Campaign: A Nationwide Bus Tour

By Scott Conroy - May 26, 2011

DES MOINES, Iowa -- In a move designed to propel her closer to a presidential run, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will set out on a bus tour of the country on Sunday, making stops at symbolic sites along the way.

"Starting this weekend, Sarah Palin will embark on a ‘One Nation' tour of historical sites that were key to the formation, survival, and growth of the United States of America," SarahPAC treasurer Tim Crawford said in a statement to RealClearPolitics. "The tour will originate in Washington, D.C. It will proceed north up the east coast."

Details were still being hammered out on Thursday, but sources indicated to RCP that the bus tour is expected to last several weeks and will be divided into separate geographical stretches for logistical reasons.

Members of Palin's immediate family are expected to join her on the trip, which will eventually take her through key early-voting states.

Coming on the heels of the revelation that a documentary extolling Palin's accomplishments as governor is set to premiere in Iowa next month, the impending nationwide voyage is yet another strong indicator that she is leaning toward jumping into the 2012 race.

Though the expedition is certain to generate an avalanche of media attention, Palin will utilize the trip primarily to recapture the everywoman persona that was so integral to her political rise.

According to aides who have traveled with her on past campaigns, Palin loathes fundraisers and many of the other necessities of life on the trail, but she relishes opportunities to interact with voters face-to-face. Palin's retail politicking skills were indeed a key factor in her political rise in Alaska.

In spite of the celebrity profile that she has embraced since 2008, the unorthodox nature of the bus tour indicates that Palin recognizes that she would have to run a grass-roots campaign that removes some of her shine, in order to highlight her blue-collar persona.

Palin will do just that on the first day of her tour on Sunday when she participates in Rolling Thunder -- an annual Memorial Day weekend motorcycle rally held in Washington, D.C. Participants at this year's event will gather outside the Pentagon before parading down Constitution Avenue on their way to the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial.

Palin has long demonstrated a particular affinity for motorcycles, having stumped with Paul Teutul -- one of the stars of the TLC show "American Choppers" -- on the 2008 campaign trail and appearing on the show herself in 2009.

Further information on the tour will be made available on the recently redesigned SarahPAC.com, rather than Palin's Facebook page, which she has used in the past to make key statements and announcements.

Using SarahPAC's web site to spread the word about the trip carries the benefit of directing Palin's supporters to a difficult-to-miss form where they can donate to her Political Action Committee.

 

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

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