Amid 2012 speculation, Sarah Palin to kick off bus tour

Holly Bailey

Is Sarah Palin gearing up for a 2012 bid?

The former Alaska governor announced today she will kick off an East Coast bus tour this weekend, originating at the Rolling Thunder rally along the National Mall in Washington.

Per her political action committee, SarahPAC, the "One Nation" tour will include public stops at historical sites along the East Coast--though no specific stops were announced. The tour will reportedly take Palin to New Hampshire, a pivotal early primary state and, according to Scott Conroy at Real Clear Politics, will ultimately expand nationwide in coming weeks.

The bus tour adds to increasing speculation in recent days that Palin is growing more serious about a bid for the Republican presidential nomination.

As the New York Times' Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny report today, Palin has reportedly re-hired two top political aides who previously helped plan her campaign events and schedule. Jason Recher and Doug McMarlin, two former Bush White House aides who worked for Palin's '08 vice presidential campaign, recently went back to work for the ex-governor after parting ways with her last year.

Palin's staff shuffle comes amid rumors she and her husband, Todd, recently purchased a $1.7 million home in Arizona, where it's rumored she would base her potential 2012 campaign, and word of a two-hour documentary set to premiere in Iowa next month aimed at re-branding Palin's image.

But there may be some bad news on that front: The Des Moines Register's Jennifer Jacobs reports that Iowa theater owners are skeptical the Palin film would attract many movie-goers.

"Typical political movies don't do two cents at the box office," Brian Fridley, who co-owns a chain of Iowa movie theaters, tells the Register. "No one cares but the Kool-Aid drinkers, whether they're on the right or the left."

(Photo of Palin's "One Nation" tour bus via SarahPAC)

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