WASHINGTON - Sarah Palin said Sunday she might run for president in 2012 if she decides it's good for her family and country.
Fresh from a speech to conservative activists at a "tea party" gathering in Nashville, the former Alaska governor said President Barack Obama could be defeated in 2012, that she's boning up on foreign and national policy and that she would run if it felt right.
"I would," she said on Fox News, where she's a paid contributor. "I would if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family. Certainly, I would do so."
Palin added: "I think that it would be absurd to not consider what it is that I can potentially do to help our country. I don't know if it's going to be ever seeking a title, though. It may be just doing a darn good job as a reporter or covering some of the current events."
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Asked how she would make the decision, Palin said she "thankfully" has plenty of time. She noted that other potential candidates for the Republican presidential nomination know more about the issues.
"Right now I'm looking at ...other potential candidates out there who are strong. They're in a position of having kind of this luxury of having more information at their fingertips right now."
She confirmed reports that she's receiving daily e-mailed briefings from people in Washington on events and issues there.
"We have had good people ... firing away e-mails to me every morning saying this is what's happened in Washington overnight, you need to be aware of this. Good. It's great. It's helpful," she said.
Asked whether that signaled plans to run for president, she said she had no idea what the conventional path to a candidacy would involve. "I don't know how it works," she said. "I'm just appreciative of having some good information at my fingertips right now."
Palin, who had said she was ready to be president when picked as the Republican vice presidential candidate, acknowledged that she knows more now than she did then.
"I would hope so," she said. "Two years ago my engagement was on the State of Alaska -- largest, most diverse state in the union, 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy coming from our state, while desiring to and working towards ramping up that domestic energy production. That was my focus.
"Now, of course, my focus...has been enlarged. So I sure as heck better be more astute on these current events, national issues, than I was two years ago," she said.
She said Obama could win re-election if he is seen as a tough president in a time of war. She said, for example, that he could play "the war card" by attacking Iran, or express stronger support for Israel.
"If he decided to toughen up and do all that he can to secure our nation and our allies, I think people would perhaps shift their thinking a little bit and decide, `Well, maybe he's tougher than ...he is today,' and there wouldn't be as much passion to make sure that he doesn't serve another four years."
But he could be defeated if he maintains his current course, she said. "He wouldn't win," she said.
On another issue, Palin offered two different reactions to two high profile public figures who last week called people retarded or retards.
The mother of a child with Down Syndrome, Palin joined others last week in criticizing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel for calling liberals "retarded" in a closed door meeting. She called it a slur and demanded he be fired.
On Sunday, she said his apology was not enough to make up for his slur or his own performance as chief of staff.
"I think he should step down," she said.
She also told Foxnews.com in a separate interview posted Sunday that Emanuel's use of words were demeaning.
"He didn't just use the r-word applying it to a plan, he called opponents of a plan 'f'ing' retards. That's demeaning, degrading, it's beneath the dignity of the White House.
That alone should I think make the president ask for that do-over with his chief of staff," she said.
She said, however, that it was different when conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh ridiculed the idea that it was offensive to call people retarded.
"Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult's taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards 'retards,''' Limbaugh said, also calling liberals "kooks."
"He was hysterical in that," Palin said Sunday. "They are kooks, so I agree with Rush Limbaugh. Rush Limbaugh was using satire."
She added, "name-calling by anyone -- it's just unnecessary. It just wastes time. Let's speak to the issues and, again, let's move on."
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