The Palins, along with Sarah Palin's sister Heather and her son, Karcher, who has been diagnosed with autism, arrived Thursday night and spent the night in a private home outside Auburn. After a morning run in the country on Friday morning, Governor Palin with her family members toured several historical sites in Auburn and Seneca, including the Harriet Tubman House in Auburn.
After the parade and a short speech at City Hall on Saturday, Sarah spoke at a private fundraiser at the Seward House. William H. Seward was the driving force behind the purchase of Alaska from Russia. This year, the city of Auburn is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Alaska's statehood in conjunction with their Founder's Day celebration.
During her speech at the Seward House, Sarah Palin expressed her concerns again about decisions being made "inside the Beltway," saying, "we know that decisions that are being made recently are not in the country's best interests."
Sunday's events for Governor Palin include a possible Yankees baseball game accompanied by Rudy Guiliana. Details of her visit apparently were not provided to the news media, just to the organizers of events.
Every visit the Governor takes outside Alaska raises speculations about political motivations. In fact, a couple of professors spun Palin's trip to Auburn as political, most likely in an attempt to discredit her. Governor Palin's two recent trips out of Alaska have been for pro-life or disability-related events as well as state-related events or meetings. Both her supporters and her opponents are waiting to hear the Governor's decision about running in 2012 - the former with great anticipation, and the latter with fear and anxiety, disguised by their ridicule and scorn. Both know that Sarah Palin would be a formidable candidate for President in 2012.
LI dinner has Palin watchers eyeing her next campaign
BY REID J. EPSTEIN email@example.com
8:43 PM EDT, June 6, 2009
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, center, looks through a stereoscope while touring the Seward House Museum with her husband Todd, right, in Auburn, N.Y., Saturday June 6, 2009. Palin was the featured guest in the first annual Founders Day celebration which included the tour. Peter Wisbey, executive director of the Seward House, is pictured left. (Kevin Rivoli, Associated Press / June 6, 2009)
But as she prepares for a St. James speech Sunday night at an event for disabled children, the 2008 Republican nominee has done nothing to quell speculation that she's interested in another run for national office.
"She's definitely a player," said Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford), who plans to attend Sunday night's event. "She has a real strong base of support."
Palin, 45, has refused most national media interviews and an invitation from Fox News Channel to attend the annual White House Correspondents' Association dinner. She hasn't begun courting GOP heavy hitters in key early-voting states in the presidential primaries.
"In terms of her national visibility, she doesn't care that much," said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a group that supports female anti-abortion candidates.
While staying at home, Palin appears to be laying the groundwork for a second act on the national stage. In April she spoke to a major anti-abortion gathering in Indiana.
In May she signed a deal for a book due to be published next spring.It remains to be seen whether Palin, who will go to the voters for re-election in 2010, can convert her following into a significant political force.
Dannenfelser said there are 70,000 members of Team Sarah, a Palin-centric, members-only social networking site she operates, and Palin sits near the top of early polls of the 2012 GOP presidential field.
But she has made no inroads in Iowa or New Hampshire, two early-voting states critical to a presidential campaign."We've seen zero signs of activity from Gov. Palin or anyone associated with her organization," Iowa GOP chairman Matt Strawn said.
Fergus Cullen, a former New Hampshire GOP chairman, said he contacted Palin's people in January with an invite to speak at a state dinner. No thanks, they said.
Nassau County Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs said the nation's first impressions of Palin - such as her stumbling interview with Katie Couric and impersonations by actress Tina Fey on "Saturday Night Live" - were so damaging she cannot recover.
"There's just way too much baggage with her and I think that she's not taken seriously by the overwhelmingly majority of the electorate," Jacobs said. "It may not be her fault."
But Republicans said those first impressions are at once Palin's strongest and weakest qualities. "No one gets higher positives and higher negatives than Sarah Palin," King said.
In New Hampshire, where voters take stock of candidates up close in town halls and living rooms, Palin's celebrity gives her an in but may not help earn support. Rudy Giuliani led the state's GOP polls throughout 2007 before he was eventually lapped by John McCain.
"People here don't feel that they got to take the measure of her personally in the last campaign the way they'd expect to before giving her support in 2012," Cullen said.
King said Palin will need to develop the "gravitas" on foreign affairs issues before she launches another national campaign. He urged her to "start getting more active" if she is serious about a presidential campaign.
Dannenfelser said Palin still has time to announce whatever she plans to do. After all, she said, no other GOP contender has anything like her rabid following."
Anything she wants," Dannenfelser said, "she says the word and they do it."
Video of Sarah Palin's speech at the Seward House is available, courtesy of Conservatives for Palin, in 5 parts at: