Latest steps by Palin hint at run in 2012
Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona — where associates have said she could base a national campaign — and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.
WASHINGTON — Sarah Palin is fortifying her small staff of advisers, buying a house in Arizona — where associates have said she could base a national campaign — and reviving her schedule of public appearances. The moves are the most concrete signals yet that Palin, the former governor of Alaska, is seriously weighing a Republican presidential bid.
Two people familiar with the details of the real-estate transaction said Palin and her husband, Todd, have bought a $1.7 million house in Scottsdale, Ariz. Like others interviewed for this article, they would speak only on the condition of anonymity.
While Arizona would be a more convenient travel hub for a presidential campaign than Alaska, there are other reasons the Palins might want a house there. Their daughter Bristol recently bought a house in Maricopa, which is near Scottsdale.
Palin has reshuffled her staff, rehiring two aides who have helped plan her political events. And she is expected to resume a schedule of public appearances soon to raise her profile as the Republican presidential field appears to be taking final form.
The drumbeat intensified Tuesday night when conservative filmmaker Stephen Bannon was quoted on RealClearPolitics, a political news site, as saying he was releasing a feature film he made with Palin's acquiescence about her tenure as governor. The film is to be shown next month in Iowa, whose caucuses open the nominating contest.
The moves are at odds with conventional wisdom among GOP establishment in Washington, D.C., that Palin has decided not to run.
When asked about her deliberations, Palin's aides have pointed to recent televised interviews that they said were indicative of her thinking.
"I want to make sure that we have a candidate out there with tea-party principles," she told the Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity last week.
Raising concerns about "sacrifices that have to be made on my children's part," she nonetheless told Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren, "I have that fire in my belly."
Town hall is a short one
Republican Newt Gingrich seems to have developed a new strategy in his second week of campaigning for the White House: take as few questions as possible and ignore the media.
At an event Wednesday in Derry, N.H., billed as a town hall, Gingrich stood behind a lectern and gave a 15-minute speech and then took questions for about two minutes, raising the question of whether an event is a town-hall meeting if the speech outlasts the question-and-answer session.
In the lobby of Derry Medical Center, Gingrich vowed to repeal President Obama's health-care law and replace it with a state-based, free-market approach.
"I will fight for the repeal of Obamacare until it is repealed in its entirety," Gingrich said. He also took an apparent swipe at fellow GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney, likening the current federal health-care law to the mandate-centered law in Massachusetts, implemented when Romney was governor.
"The inevitable result is rationing by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable board of government bureaucrats," Gingrich said.
After his speech, Gingrich walked into the crowd of about 20 people and began to shake hands.
A question from a reporter about the controversy surrounding Gingrich and a $500,000 line of credit he and his wife had with high-end jeweler Tiffany's brought this response: "I feel that you are far more fascinated with that than most Americans," he said. "Normal Americans actually ask about jobs, they ask about energy, they ask about all sorts of things that affect their lives."
Justice plans to charge Edwards
The Justice Department plans to bring criminal charges against John Edwards after a two-year investigation into whether the former presidential candidate illegally used money from some political backers to cover up his extramarital affair, a person familiar with the case said Wednesday.
An indictment could come within days unless the 2004 Democratic vice-presidential nominee reaches an agreement with prosecutors to plead guilty to a negotiated charge, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was not clear what charges prosecutors planned to bring.
Federal authorities have been investigating the former North Carolina senator's campaign finances, focusing heavily on money from wealthy supporters that allegedly went to keep mistress Rielle Hunter and her baby in hiding in 2007 and 2008 to protect Edwards' White House campaign from a career-ending scandal.
Prosecutors, in an investigation overseen by top Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C., have been looking at whether those funds should have been reported as campaign contributions since they aided his presidential bid.
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