Sarah Palin, the former governor of Alaska who has not officially entered the 2012 Republican Presidential race, said she was “surprised” by Texas Governor Rick Perry’s decision to run.
“I was quite sure he wasn’t going to run because he was quite adamant about it about four months ago,” Palin told reporters. “So it surprised me. Evidently, he evolved in his thinking.”
Palin is in Iowa, the site of as Republican presidential straw poll, with her ‘One Nation’ bus tour.
Reporters were disappointed when she didn’t use the occasion to announce her own campaign for the White House. However, she said she will make a decision next month.
“Practically speaking,” Palin cryptically told reporters, “,it has to be.”
Meanwhile, Perry, who announced his decision in South Carolina on Saturday, is expected to arrive in Iowa on Sunday.
Palin supporters, especially hard-right social Conservatives, are worried that Perry may take potential votes away from Palin, who ran unsuccessfully for Vice President in 2008.
Dianne Bystrom, director of the Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University, told reporters: “I don’t see where there’s a lot of room for [Palin] to run,” adding that she is attractive to the same voters who would likely support Michele Bachmann, Perry and Tim Pawlenty.
“I think Rick Perry, as the governor of a large state, could discourage her from getting in,” Bystrom said.
Palin had already taken some subtle digs at Perry, suggesting she was a more effective governor than him.
“You have different functions in the state of Texas and the state of Alaska in terms of governing powers from the governor’s office,” she said,
“So it’s tough to compare what the executive duties are. We have a very strong governor’s office… but, he’s a great guy and I look forward to seeing him in those debates.”