Palin Offers No Clues On Presidential Ambitions The former Alaska governor and GOP vice presidential nominee addressed a Tea Party rally in Iowa on Saturday. She criticized both President Obama and Republican presidential candidates, but said nothing about her own plans to run, despite her cheering supporters.

Palin Offers No Clues On Presidential Ambitions

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AUDIE CORNISH, Host:

Sarah Palin addressed a Tea Party rally in Iowa yesterday. The crowd left no doubts about their sentiments.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHANTING RUN, SARAH, RUN)

CORNISH: NPR's Brian Naylor reports from Des Moines.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: Strawberry shortcakes right here. Best summertime dessert there is - three dollars.

BRIAN NAYLOR: The atmosphere was that of an end of summer county fair. There was plenty of food, lots of T-shirts for sale, even some country music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WE MUST TAKE AMERICA BACK")

STEVE VAUS: (Singing) We must take America back...

NAYLOR: But for the 2,000 or so gathered on a soggy field in Indianola, south of Des Moines, the main attraction was Sarah Palin. It wasn't her first visit to Iowa, home of the nation's first presidential caucus next year. And yesterday she sounded every bit the candidate. She unveiled a five point economic plan, what she called...

SARAH PALIN: A bona fide pro-working man's plan.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHEERING)

PALIN: And it deals in reality. It deals in the way the world really works.

NAYLOR: Palin sounded a populist theme. She called for ending corporate income taxes in return for ending corporate loopholes and bailouts. She blasted what she called the permanent political class in Washington, and had predictably harsh words for President Obama, whom she accused, among other things, of crony capitalism.

PALIN: Between bailouts for Wall Street cronies and stimulus projects for union boss' security, and green energy giveaways, he took care of his friends. And now they're on course to raise a billion dollars for his re-election bid so that they can do it all over again. Are you going to let them do it all over again?

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHANTING NO)

NAYLOR: But not so predictably, Palin also lit into some of her fellow Republicans.

PALIN: Now, to be fair, some GOP candidates, they also raise mammoth amounts of cash. And we need to ask them too: What if anything do their donors expect in return for their investments. We need to know this because our country can't afford more trillion dollar thank-you notes to campaign backers.

NAYLOR: Palin has yet to reveal her cards, whether she plans to take on Perry and the rest of the GOP presidential field. She came tantalizingly close yesterday.

PALIN: So this why we must remember that the challenge is not simply to replace Obama in 2012, but the real challenge is who and what we will replace him with, because its not enough...

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD CHANTING SARAH, SARAH)

NAYLOR: But the chants of Sarah, Sarah went unanswered by Palin. That disappointed some of her fans, like Patrick Dwyer who rode his motorcycle from Missouri for the event.

PATRICK DWYER: Oh yeah, but I mean I'm not the one to make the decision. So I hope she does. But if she doesn't, we'll muddle through.

NAYLOR: Jan Maclean is another Palin supporter who came a long way, taking a bus from Alexandria, Louisiana to Beaumont, Texas where she met up with other Palin backers.

JAN MACLEAN: Drove all the way from Beaumont to Iowa all night long.

NAYLOR: That's a lot of dedication.

MACLEAN: When you believe, it's not a trial.

NAYLOR: Brian Naylor, NPR News, Des Moines.

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