While an appearance at a Tea Party rally in Iowa over the weekend raised hopes by her supporters that Sarah Palin will run for the president in 2012, at least one prominent Republican lawmaker thinks she will not throw her hat into the ring.
South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint, a leading figure in the Tea Party movement, who will be hosting a political forum of most of the top Republican contenders on Monday, told CBS News: It doesn't appear that she [Palin] is going to run. She's done a lot, I think, to engage the American people and stir things up, which we really needed to do, to get American citizens more involved in the process. It made a big difference in the last election. My hope is it'll make an even bigger difference in the next election, as people take back their government.
DeMint declined to declare who the Republican favorite is now.
It's still very early, he said. We've got all the top candidates in South Carolina today, and we're gonna give them a chance to define themselves on their terms, to talk about the American vision, to talk about what they would do differently than Barack Obama. So, I think we'll learn a lot from the candidates. This is not a ‘gotcha’ meeting with sound-bite answers. We're gonna give each candidate over 20 minutes on the stage by themselves to talk about their vision for America.
DeMint added that he will keep an open mind on the candidates. I wanna see how they respond to the issues that our nation is dealing with. I wanna see what they say about the president's jobs plan that comes out. I want to know what they think about this super committee recommendation [on deficit-cutting] when it comes out. And so I think, in a few months, we're gonna know which candidate really has the courage to speak out and to contrast themselves with what this president is doing.
Similarly, over the weekend, DeMint told ABC News: “I'm going to withhold any endorsement or support for several months. It's really important to me to see how these candidates respond to the big issues of the day.”
Palin, in fact, refrained from saying she would enter the presidential sweepstakes during her raucous Tea Party speech.
However, that hasn’t stopped her from taking some veiled shots at other GOP candidates, particularly the presumptive front-runner, Governor Rick Perry of Texas.
During her appearance in Indianola, Iowa on Saturday, Palin appeared to criticize Perry by referring to his deep-pocketed donors.
Some GOP candidates, she told the crowd, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash and we need to ask them, too: What, if anything, do their donors expect in return from their investments?
Meanwhile, looking ahead to Obama’s speech on jobs this week, DeMint criticized the president.
I spent most of my life in business,” he told CBS, and I'm hearing what the president is talking about, which are temporary incentives like giving a company 5,000 [dollars] to hire someone. It cost a company about $65,000 a year to create a $40,000-a-year job. No company is gonna create a job for $5,000. If they were gonna hire the person anyway, they would certainly take it. But the president is not thinking like an American businessperson who has to look long-term, has to have some certainty. We need to know what that tax rate's gonna be, what the cost of health insurance, what the cost of unemployment insurance. The way he's talking is not like what I hear from the businesses around South Carolina or throughout the country. So he doesn't seem to be on the same page with what it really takes to create jobs.