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Palin to Visit Iowa as Bus Tour Kicks Into Gear

Palin to Visit Iowa as Bus Tour Kicks Into Gear

By Scott Conroy - May 30, 2011

WASHINGTON -- Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will travel to Iowa next month as part of her nationwide bus tour, two sources with direct knowledge of the plan told RealClearPolitics.

Palin's trip to the nation's first voting state -- where she has not yet set foot this year --will further escalate the already feverish speculation that she is leaning toward a White House run.

Though Palin has insisted that her "One Nation" bus tour -- being kicked off from Washington over the holiday weekend -- is intended merely to "highlight America's foundation," RCP has learned that the road trip was designed as a test run to find out whether she can execute a decidedly unconventional campaign game plan.

Palin -- and especially her husband, Todd -- is said to be leaning toward running. But multiple sources said that their foremost remaining concern was whether it would be logistically feasible for their large family to hit the road together for the next several months in a prospective campaign that would rely heavily on bus travel.

The answer to that question will play a critical role in how the 2012 race develops.

For months, the prospective candidates for the Republican nomination for president have methodically lined up donors, hired operatives, and laid the groundwork in early-voting states to set the gears in motion for their painstakingly planned campaigns.

Eager to avoid burning through resources and peaking too early, the GOP White House hopefuls have, for the most part, eased incrementally into a slowly developing race, while eyeing one another warily.

Enter Sarah Palin in a black leather jacket, cruising through the nation's capital on a Harley-Davidson. "I love that smell of the emissions!" she told the crowd as she kicked off her tour at the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally on Sunday.

And with that, the question arises: Could Palin leave some of the less charismatic candidates in the dust?

A political Merry Prankster, Palin clearly relishes her unique ability to confound and surprise her prospective opponents, as she test-drives a possible presidential run that she and her team -- with a discernible wink -- have publicly billed as something akin to a mere sightseeing trip.

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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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