Is Palin Prepping to Jump Into the Race? [Updated]

All summer, Sarah Palin has been dropping nice fat hints that she’s planning to jump into the 2012 GOP field — party-crashing the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa, putting out decidedly campaign-style ads — before immediately pirouetting and telling the MSM, no siree, still haven’t made up my mind. In recent days, many have speculated that the decision hour had finally come, what with Mama Grizzly headlining a tea-party rally in Des Moines, Iowa, today — where the event’s organizer said she would be making a “major announcement” — and off to New Hampshire for Labor Day. Adding fire to these rumors were comments made by the former Alaska governor yesterday in a suburb of Des Moines.

I’m happy with the field of candidates. […] I think that there’s room for more, though, because a spirited debate and more competition will allow for an even better discourse and a more rigorous discourse that the public deserves. (Emphasis added.)

But whoever Palin is talking about there being more room for, most likely voters agree it’s not her, according to a Rasmussen poll released yesterday. (While close to 50 percent expected Palin to run, 60 percent said it would be bad for the Republican Party.) Either way, Palin aides are cautioning “not quite yet” on a decision, according to the Times’ Caucus blog. Most likely is a firm and final decision — please, God, yes! — by the end of the month. One strategic option would be to announce, say, after the third candidate debate on September 22, which the Times’ Michael Shear thinks would help Palin “upstage the rest of the field and avoid a month of scrutiny.”

Update: Palin did not, we repeat did not, confirm whether she is planning to run or not at today’s sodden and underwhelming tea-party rally in Iowa. Mostly Palin laid out what she multiple times referred to as “my plan” — that sounds rather presidential-wannabe to us — which would include repealing the corporate tax altogether while at the same time rolling back “corporate crony capitalism.” This last bit, along with Palin’s mention of her own successful campaign against Big Oil in Alaska, could easily be seen as implicit attacks on the current front-runner Rick Perry, who has recently been pilloried in the press for lavishing state contracts on donors to his gubernatorial campaigns.

You must vet a candidate’s record,” she urged the 500 or so people in attendance, suggesting that some in the current slate might not be up to snuff. But is Sarah Palin’s the record Republicans will pin their hopes to, when going up against Obama with all his health-care and debt-ceiling baggage? While the answer to that is still unknown, it becomes increasingly unlikely with every passing day as Perry gets more time to consolidate his gains and Bachmann to regain some of the momentum lost in recent weeks.

Palin Says ‘There’s Room for More’ [Caucus/NYT]
2012 Campaign: What to Watch For in September [Caucus/NYT]
Clues Dropped on Potential Palin Run, but Decision Still a Secret [Fox News]
Palin still coy on presidential run [The Hill]

Is Palin Prepping to Jump Into the Race? [Updated]