Guy Benson
Ladies and gentlemen, the juiciest speculative 2012 report of the month:

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has tasked her aides with quietly gauging her level of support for a potential presidential campaign by making inquiries to a select pool of likely allies and grassroots activists in Iowa, RealClearPolitics has learned.

Key Republican officials and operatives in the nation's first voting state had begun to assume that Palin would not run for president in 2012 since most of them have not heard a word from her or from her small circle of aides, even as other likely candidates have begun jockeying more forcefully behind the scenes. But a Palin adviser confirmed that although the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee's footprint has not been as heavy as that of other possible candidates, her political action committee has indeed been taking discreet steps in Iowa that would help her build a credible campaign here if she decided to launch one.

A top official in the Iowa Tea Party who insisted on anonymity to avoid betraying Palin's trust told RealClearPolitics that a friend of SarahPAC met with him in person in Des Moines late last year and prodded him for suggestions on how Palin might mount a grassroots campaign in the state.

What do you say?  Are these reports telltale signs of a discreet, nascent presidential campaign, or mere whispers?  I'm not unsympathetic to the argument that Sarah Palin has every incentive to fuel rumors of a run for as long as possible, even if she has no intention of actually taking the plunge.  But at this point, you're guess is as good as mine.


UPDATEHmmmm.

Mike Huckabee will visit six cities in Iowa and five in South Carolina during his upcoming book tour – one more sign that the former Arkansas governor wants to keep his name in the presidential mix for 2012 even as he enjoys the comforts of a lucrative talk show career.

That means Huckabee will be spending more than a quarter of his 40-city tour in two states that play a major role in determining who the GOP presidential nominee will be in 2012.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography