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Palin Backers Use Film to Spread Message Ahead of Iowa Speech

Palin Backers Use Film to Spread Message Ahead of Iowa Speech

By Scott Conroy - August 30, 2011


An online poll featured on the Iowa-based Tea Party of America's website asks, "When do you think Sarah Palin will announce as a candidate for the presidency?"

There are seven options from which respondents can choose, making the last one -- "don’t think she’s running" -- appear as if it were added as a mere afterthought.

Members of the newly formed Tea Party group, which will host the former Alaska governor at a rally in Iowa on Saturday, have made clear that they have no special insight into Palin’s presidential intentions. But the group has been touting Palin’s address as a major event, and if she does use the speech to strongly hint at the likelihood of a White House bid, Palin’s team of self-appointed volunteer organizers in the Hawkeye State are ready to pick up the pace of their own efforts, too.

Ladd Ventling, who serves as a county coordinator for the Iowa branch of Organize4Palin, told RCP that he spoke privately with Todd Palin for over 20 minutes about the volunteer group’s efforts during the visit by Alaska’s former First Couple to the Iowa State Fair earlier this month.

Ventling said that while Todd Palin did not say his wife planned to announce her candidacy, the Webster City, Iowa, native came away from the conversation convinced that she does indeed intend to get in.

“If they weren’t going to run, he would’ve said, ‘Thank you very much for what you’re doing, but you don’t have to do that,’ ” Ventling told RCP.

Polly Doolittle, also of Webster City, is another Organize4Palin volunteer who is working in conjunction with Tea Party of America in advance of Saturday’s rally in Indianola.

Before joining Organize4Palin in April, Doolittle had never been an active participant in the political process, but she now has eight Iowa counties under her jurisdiction. Doolittle has gone about the business of an unofficial Palin advocate in much the same way official Republican operatives might: by attending Republican Central Committee meetings, meeting with local officials, and spreading the message about a future campaign that she is certain will come.

But as part of a strategy that befits the nontraditional approach of Palin herself, Ventling and Doolittle have spent much of the summer using the pro-Palin documentary “The Undefeated” as a primary tool to communicate Palin’s record in Alaska and a Tea Party-infused message for 2012.

Though the film will not be released nationwide (via Pay-Per-View and Video-On-Demand) until Thursday and won’t be publicly available on DVD until Oct. 4, Organize4Palin volunteers received some advance copies, which they have screened for small audiences in churches, libraries and private homes across Iowa.

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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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