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Political Notebook

Flying high, Palin visits Iowa as star of fund-raiser

September 18, 2010

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DES MOINES — Sarah Palin is on a roll as she reaches Iowa, the state that has made and broken more than its share of presidential dreams.

Endorsements by the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee have helped propel a number of upstart Republican contenders to victory in recent primaries, including a double win Tuesday with Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Kelly Ayotte in New Hampshire.

Palin’s cable TV show will debut in November. But first, Iowa.

Palin was the big draw at last night’s Reagan Dinner in Des Moines, the Iowa Republican Party’s biggest fund-raiser. The question on many Republicans’ minds is whether she will run for president in 2012.

“The time for primary debate is over,’’ she said at the dinner, Bloomberg News reported.

“We can’t wait until 2012 to get our country back on the right track — we need to start now by electing strong leaders who aren’t afraid to shake it up,’’ Palin said. “It is time to take our country back.’’

If she runs, the former Alaska governor would start with strong appeal in the nation’s leadoff presidential caucuses among the social and religious conservatives who play a crucial role in Iowa’s politics.

But that appeal wouldn’t necessarily last if it’s not backed up by a strong effort to reach out to voters, said Steve Scheffler, head of the Iowa Christian Alliance.

“The track to success in Iowa is slogging around all of the small towns in bad weather and sleeping in downscale motels because that’s the best in town,’’ said Rich Galen, a GOP strategist in Washington. “That certainly doesn’t seem to fit the Palin theory of how she should conduct her life.’’

Palin has been coy about her presidential intentions and masterful at keeping her name in the news since she abruptly resigned as Alaska’s governor in 2009. She mixes political fund-raisers and candidates’ campaign events with speeches in which she commands fees as high as $100,000. — Associated Press

Hosts from Comedy Central schedule competing rallies
WASHINGTON — Jon Stewart of “The Daily Show’’ is hosting a “million moderate march’’ in Washington — for people who think shouting is annoying — but faux political nemesis Stephen Colbert will be nearby to keep fear alive against those “dark, optimistic forces.’’

Colbert, host of Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,’’ and his arch enemy on the network plan to hold opposing political rallies on the National Mall just before the November elections.

Stewart interrupted his regular fake newscast Thursday to announce a “Rally to Restore Sanity’’ on Oct. 30.

“We’re looking for people who think shouting is annoying . . . who feel that the loudest voices shouldn’t be the only ones that get heard,’’ Stewart writes in promotion for his rally. “Think of our event as Woodstock, but with the nudity and drugs replaced by respectful disagreement.’’

Nearby, Colbert announced a “March to Keep Fear Alive’’ to restore “truthiness’’ to the nation on his show. “Truthiness’’ was a 2006 word of the year that means “truth that comes from the gut, not books.’’

Colbert is encouraging “all freedom-loving patriots’’ to bring an overnight bag and five extra sets of underwear to challenge Stewart’s “dark, optimistic forces.’’ He said the nation cannot afford a rally to restore sanity in the middle of a recession.

He wrote the United States is built on three bedrock principles: freedom, liberty and fear.

“They want to replace our fear with reason,’’ he wrote. “But never forget ‘reason’ is just one letter away from ‘treason.’’’ — Associated Press

Bill Clinton will try to give push to Frank’s campaign
WASHINGTON — President Clinton is heading to Taunton later this month to bolster US Representative Barney Frank’s reelection campaign.

Clinton is scheduled to speak Sept. 26 at Taunton High School’s field house, according a spokesman for the Newton Democrat. The event will start at 2 p.m.

Frank is facing Republican challenger Sean Bielat.

“I think Barney is concerned about the middle of his district and is trying to shore up support,’’ Bielat told the Taunton Daily Gazette, which first reported the visit. “I’m extremely flattered that Bill Clinton is coming.’’

Frank called Bielat’s comment nonsense. “We’re pretty close,’’ Frank told the newspaper, referring to Clinton. “He said, ‘Let me know how I can help.’ ’’

Frank endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2008 presidential race, and she won the primary in Massachusetts. — Matt Viser

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