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Analysis: Sarah Palin's predicament -- will she run in 2012?

Sep 15, 2011, 3:13 p.m.
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin speaks to supporters at a rally organized by the Tea Party of America in Indianola, Iowa September 3, 2011 REUTERS/Jim Young

The business associate, Brad Hanson, called the charge involving him a "complete and outright lie."

"Todd and Sarah Palin have been good friends for many years and in fact we still own property together," he said.

David Yepsen, director of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University, said the allegations may make her a sympathetic figure among supporters but will not help her to convince other voters she is presidential timber.

"If she doesn't look presidential, even if there's really nothing new in the book, there's just a few more days of buzz about her and her personal life and all the issues," he said.

"It's just going to reinforce negative opinions of her. It's just not helpful."

Still, the negative portrayals of the self-styled "mama grizzly" could steel her for a presidential run.

She has always been willing to take on what she derisively calls the "old boys club" of Republican politics and never shies away from a fight.

And while the criticism of her remains -- that she does not seem to have conducted a serious study of all the issues that a president faces -- she retains a strong following among Tea Party conservatives as a politician who knows how to generate enthusiasm with her folksy, "you betcha" manner.

"All I can tell you is she has come out to Tea Party Express rallies a half dozen times or more and there really is no one who electrifies the crowd the way that Sarah Palin does," said Levi Russell, the group's spokesman. "Without a doubt she's the most exciting figure in politics."

(Editing by John O'Callaghan)

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