TODAY | November 12, 2009
>> thank you very much. david gregory is moderator of "meet the press." david , good morning to you.
>> good morning, meredith.
>> so, a busy week for sarah palin next week. first an interview with oprah, then the book is released, then the book tour, 13 cities. is this all part of a very calculated political comeback?
>> well, it could be, but it's still very difficult to know, and there's still one glaring fact, that 60% of those who were polled in exit surveys after the election last year found, 60% found that she was not qualified to be vice president. that's still a huge hurdle for her to clear, and a lot of republicans that i talk to think she's not doing the prep work in order to overcome that huge liability. whether she has a high profile, whether she has influence, both of those are true within the republican party right now, but it doesn't appear that that clear is being hurdled in terms of some things she's doing. just because she's popular, just because she has a best-selling book may not help her overcome that issue.
>> but she certainly will have a platform on that tour. she's going to 13 different cities, a lot of those in key battleground states . if she is ambitious in terms of 2012 , then how important is that tour for her the next few weeks?
>> it is very important, and i think you're exactly right. the reality is, she's acting as if she's an incumbent right now. she releases statements or posts things to her facebook account all the time in terms of policy, in terms of endorsing candidates as she did in that contested race in upstate new york , that house seat that was up. she is making her presence felt as an important voice within the republican party . some republicans who are actually responsible for getting republicans elected next year in the midterm race think that that influence might be overstated, but make no mistake, in the grassroots, among the base elements of the republican party , she's very popular.
>> and if you talk to people like bill kristol within the republican party , he thinks she is a very viable candidate for 2012 . others say it would be disastrous if she's the nominee. the party is trying to redefine itself to find out what exactly it is, what it stands for. what role will she play? is she good news for the party or bad news?
>> well, she is seen as good news in terms of energizing the base. it's still, it's what john mccain still talks about as a strength of hers in 2008 . that can be debated. certainly, she did energize the base. i think the preponderance of opinion right now is that she's energi energizing, but not really a top contender for the presidency among some of the other people that are out there right now. that can change. she has the ability to raise money. she has the ability to get a great deal of attention and we're still so early on. so, she's a name that's frequently mentioned, but there's a lot of work to be done among those republicans i've spoken to before she becomes a leading contender to be a nominee.
>> you know, david , she's going after the media in her book, which a lot of conservatives would applaud her for, but she's also going after former advisers in the mccain camp. is that good politics for her?
>> well, it's not clear, honestly. it's not clear how that plays out. clearly, there some very strong feelings about what went on in the campaign, how she was treated, and i think she wants to create as much distance as she can, try to rehabilitate her image as much as she can, lay blame at the feet of the mccain advisers for putting her in that position. i think she feels that's an important part of sorting all this out and working on her future, and it's also intriguing. it's what sells books.
>> all right, david , what's coming up this sunday on "meet the press"?
>> we'll be talking with secretary of state hillary clinton and also education reform . we'll have the secretary of education as well as newt gingrich and al sharpton on how to make schools better.
>> david gregory , thank you, as always. see you on "meet