Palin’s memorial ride gives rise to presidential talk

SARAH PALIN rumbled through Washington on a Harley as she and her family began an East Coast tour yesterday that renewed speculation that the former Alaska governor would join the Republican presidential nomination contest.

Wearing a leather jacket and surrounded by cheering fans, Palin and family members jumped on motorcycles and joined thousands of bikers on the Memorial Day weekend ride from the Pentagon to the Vietnam memorial. Palin didn’t mention politics as she visited with participants, but she smiled when many in the crowd urged her to run.

Palin remains one of the biggest quandaries for Republicans, who have not yet settled on a frontrunner to challenge President Barack Obama’s re-election.

While many of Palin’s likely rivals have worked to build campaign organisations in early nominating states such as Iowa or New Hampshire, Palin has taken no concrete steps.

Given her star power, she might be able to wait longer than others. But the clock is ticking, the establishment isn’t happy with its options and one of the earliest tests of campaign infrastructure, the straw poll in Ames, Iowa, is slated for August.

Palin set off from Washington on a tour of East Coast historical sites that her political committee billed as an opportunity for her family to visit historic sites. The route set off speculation she would visit New Hampshire, a state that holds the first nominating primary and a place Palin hasn’t visited since the final days of the 2008 campaign.

Many potential rivals are scheduled to visit New Hampshire in the coming week.

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney is expected to make his bid formal at a noon barbecue on Thursday. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was set to speak at an evening fundraiser for the state GOP.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman — who also rides bikes — was set to spend the weekend working through the state’s rural North Country.

Palin’s poll numbers have steadily sunk, and she has recently refreshed what was an insular circle of advisers, perhaps further proof that she is about to reveal her true intentions.


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