Is a presidential endorsement Sarah Palin’s next media stunt?
Palin appeared on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” Tuesday night to discuss the evening’s CNN Western Republican debate in Las Vegas, and within hours dozens of media outlets, from ABC News to the Huffington Post to the Atlantic, had stories about her comments.
Why? Because now that the former Alaska governor has announced she will not run for the nomination, the next question is: Who will she endorse?
Palin was very complimentary of former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, who she said would “clobber Barack Obama in any debate.” But she also suggested his lack of campaign funds might prevent him from securing the nomination.
She didn't particuarly like the bickering nature of the debate, nor has she been thrilled with the line of questioning — but those are stories for another day. As with other candidates who have bowed out like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, it is Palin's potential endorsement that people care about for now.
Palin has been out of office for more than two years, but, if anything, she has become more of a cultural force since leaving her political career behind. She has fashioned a media persona through her appearances on Fox News, her reality show on the Learning Channel and a pair of books.
Hinting that she might run for public office again has also maintained and enhanced her relevance.
The former Alaska governor kept viewers tuned in all summer with her will-she won’t-she tap dance around a presidential campaign. Even though it appears she decided months before making a formal announcement – or at least that’s what her daughter Bristol Pain told “Fox & Friends” – Palin was able to keep journalists and politicos guessing throughout her countrywide bus tour and beyond.
Now that any mystery surrounding a potential candidacy has passed, Palin needs a new way of staying in the headlines on a daily basis.
As Mediaite’s managing editor Colby Hall told TheWrap Tuesday – and as any astute observer can glean from her public displays – Palin craves attention.
By keeping the candidates guessing about which candidate she will endorse, and potentially delivering a legion of conservative fans, Palin can stay in the spotlight until the next opportunity presents itself.
And given her track record, you can rest assured she'll find one.