Tales from the Trail

Palin charts future of interviews, governors’ shindig

WASHINGTON – Is Sarah Palin going through a catharsis, some sort of political rehabilitation or is she now a permanent fixture on the national political scene?
 
The former Republican vice presidential hopeful returned home after the election to her job as Alaska governor where she promptly held a news conference and conducted several television interviews. She’s lined up for NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday.
 
In addition, later this week she will head to sunny Miami to attend the Republican Governors Association annual conference where she will again meet with reporters on Thursday.
 
She is to speak during a session entitled “Looking Toward the Future.”  That wouldn’t have anything to do with 2012 would it?  Nevermind that last week she avoided talking about her political future.

Also on the panel was another name that bubbled up for the 2008 Republican vice presidential nomination, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, who is expected to be a national player as the Republican Party regroups after losing the White House.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking (Palin on election night)

Can Ted Stevens thrust Palin back into the national spotlight?

ANCHORAGE – Gov. Sarah Palin has gone home to Alaska, but her return to the national political stage may come sooner than the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign.

If Republican Sen. Ted Stevens maintains his slim lead over Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich, it could once again thrust Palin into the spotlight. The 84-year-old Stevens could be re-elected for an eighth term despite being convicted of corruption last month. His conviction prompted calls for his resignation from Republican presidential candidate John McCain and Palin, his running mate. Stevens has vowed to fight on even though a convicted felon has never served in the U.S. Senate.

The conviction came a week before election day — too late to replace the longest-serving Republican on ballots in Alaska. If Stevens wins the election and then relinquishes his seat, that’s when things could get interesting.

Bush gives Republicans a little pep talk ahead of election

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush dropped by the Republican National Committee headquarters unannounced to give the staff a little pep talk Tuesday amid polls showing Republicans trailing in the presidential contest and scores of key congressional races one week out from the general election.

Bush, with record low popularity ratings, has largely been unseen on the campaign trail this year, relegated to participating in private fundraisers for Republican presidential hopeful John McCain and congressional candidates.

“He encouraged them to work hard for John McCain and keep turning out the vote until the final ballot is cast next week,” White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said after the 20-minute visit.  “He also took the opportunity to thank the staff for all of their efforts during this election cycle and for their support of him over the last eight years.”

Stevens’ conviction likely makes re-election harder

WASHINGTON – Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is an icon in Alaska where he has provided plenty of federal dollars and even has the airport in Anchorage named after him. But that might not enough to help the 84-year-old senator — the longest-serving Senate Republican in U.S. history – to win re-election next week.

“Just because they name the airport after you, doesn’t mean they won’t throw you out of office,” said Nathan Gonzales of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report.

Stevens, who was found guilty on all seven counts of lying on Senate disclosure forms to hide more than $250,000 in home renovations and other gifts from the head of Alaska oil services company VECO Corp., already had been facing a tough race against Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich in an political environment that has favored Democrats.

Palin offers to play “stump the candidate,” but game doesn’t happen

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said on Wednesday she would be ready to deal with foreign policy if she and John McCain win the White House and offered to play “stump the candidate” to test herself on specific policy issues.

In their first joint “town hall meeting” with Palin taking questions from voters, an audience member asked Palin to dispel concerns that she lacked foreign policy experience. She responded by saying she expected critics to look for things to attack. “I think because I’m a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize,” she said.

palin.jpg“As for foreign policy, you know, I think that I am prepared and I know that on Jan. 20, if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we’ll be ready,” Palin said.

from Environment Forum:

Palin asks Schwarzenegger to terminate shipping fees

palin3.jpgCalifornia environmentalists are in tizzy this week, accusing Republican Vice Presidential candidate and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin of telling their governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, how to do his job.

At issue is a letter Palin sent to Schwarzenegger last month, asking him to veto a bill that would raise shipping container fees to pay for pollution-reduction programs at three major California ports.

The letter, which Palin sent to Schwarzenegger a day before she was announced as John McCain's running mate, began circling on the Web on Thursday.

McCain picks Alaska governor, Sarah Palin, for veep

WASHINGTON – Republican presidential hopeful John McCain picked social conservative Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate.

rtr21tet.jpgPalin, not particularly well-known nationally, was previously a small-town mayor who beat the Alaska incumbent governor Frank Murkowski in the state’s Republican primary in 2006 and went on to win in the general election.

The 44-year-old one-term governor is an opponent of abortion rights, a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and a fiscal conservative — not to mention an avid sportswoman and a beauty pageant winner.