Sunday, 13 February 2011
Palin hires chief of staff, fuelling speculation of 2012 run
JUNEAU, ALASKA—Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has hired a longtime Republican political strategist as chief of staff of her political action committee, fuelling fresh speculation about her possible intent to run for president in 2012.
The hiring of Michael Glassner was confirmed Saturday by Palin aide Rebecca Mansour and SarahPAC Treasurer Tim Crawford. Palin has only said she’s considering a presidential run.
Glassner managed Republican vice-presidential operations in 2008, when Palin was Senator John McCain’s running mate. Glassner also served as the longtime senior adviser to former U.S. senator Bob Dole, the 1996 Republican presidential candidate.
“The fact this is someone who’s had a career in national politics, that’s the only indication that something might be up,” said Ross Baker, a professor of political science at Rutgers University.
But he doesn’t think it’s very significant in trying to divine Palin’s plans, and it could just be a routine organizational move, he said.
“We tend to apply the sort of standards of interpretation that we would apply to, let’s see, a Mitt Romney, that we would to her, and it’s usually wrong, because her plans are so cryptic and her method of operation is so unconventional,” he said.
Since resigning as Alaska’s governor in 2009, Palin has relied heavily on Facebook and Twitter to communicate her point of view and remain in the political limelight. She also burnished her celebrity credentials last year, starring in the travelogue series “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” and releasing a second book.
“Clearly, everybody is, all of the other hopefuls are hedging their bets based upon whether or not she’s in the game or not,” Baker said, adding that he believes a potential contender, like U.S. senator John Thune of South Dakota, probably would have given a clearer indication by now of his intentions if not for the uncertainty surrounding Palin, a favourite of the ultraconservative Tea Party movement.
“I think she’s keeping people off balance,” Baker said, “which I think she probably finds quite enjoyable, that somebody who’s a relative newcomer in the party has been able to keep all of the pros guessing.”