Palin coy about 2012 run, but door is open

NEW YORK - November 17, 2009

"My ambition, if you will, my desire is to help our country in whatever role that may be, and I cannot predict what that will be, what doors will be open in the year 2012," she told Barbara Walters.

When asked whether she'd play a major role, the former Republican vice presidential candidate replied that "if people will have me, I will."

Palin is making the rounds to promote her new book, "Going Rogue," which came out Tuesday. On Monday, she appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

Palin said she's gotten plenty of offers during the past few months, including to open up her family for a reality show, that she has rejected. She also said she wasn't sure whether a talk show would be best for her family.

"I'd probably rather write than talk," she told Walters.

The former Alaska governor said she'd rate President Barack Obama's performance a 4 out of 10. She criticized the president for his handling of the economy and for "dithering" on national security questions.

"There are a lot of decisions being made that I - and probably the majority of Americans - are not impressed with right now," she said on ABC. She said Obama's Nobel Peace Prize was "premature."

Palin also discussed David Letterman, whom she criticized for a sexually suggestive jokes made at the expense of her teenage daughter in June. Letterman eventually apologized to Palin.

Palin told Walters she has ruled out an appearance on Letterman's late night TV show. "I don't think that I'd want to boost his ratings," she said. "I do want him to sell my book, though I hope he keeps it up."

The title of Palin's book refers to a phrase John McCain's campaign used to describe his vice presidential running mate going off message. In the book, she criticizes the people who ran McCain's campaign and says she wished she had been allowed to speak more freely. But she told Walters the outcome probably would not have been different if she had.

"The economy tanked," she said. "(The) electorate was ready, sincerely, for change."

On the controversy about the $150,000 spent on her wardrobe by the campaign, Palin said there was a double standard: No one ever questions male candidates where their shoes or suits came from, she said. In the end, she added: "The clothes all went back. They were never my clothes."

Despite the internal squabbling and ultimate loss, Palin said she would go through the experience again. "(I) would do it again in a heartbeat," she told Walters.

And though she backed the first federal bailout, Palin says she would not support a second. "That did not put our economy back on the right track. So we learn from our mistakes."

During her interview with Winfrey, which was taped last week, Palin said that it's heartbreaking to see the road that Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson, has taken and that the soon-to-be Playgirl model hasn't seen his baby in a while.

The new memoir doesn't mention Johnston, who has sparred repeatedly with his former mother-in-law-to-be. When Winfrey asked about Johnston, Palin said she didn't think "a national television show is the place to discuss some of the things he's doing and saying."

But Palin went on to say she finds it "a bit heartbreaking to see the road that he is on right now" and that "it's not a healthy place to be."

Palin also said Johnston remains a member of the family and that they can work out any troubles. She said she prays for him and that he has an "open invitation" to Thanksgiving dinner.

Winfrey began the interview by asking Palin if she felt snubbed at not getting an invitation to "The Oprah Winfrey Show" last year. Winfrey said she didn't have any candidates on her Chicago-based show during the campaign because of her support for President Barack Obama.

Palin said she didn't feel snubbed and told Winfrey, "No offense to you, but it wasn't the center of my universe."


AP Writer Caryn Rousseau in Chicago contributed to this report.

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