Sarah Palin said she may be eyeing the presidency in 2012, but it appears even one of her biggest ostensible allies has doubts about whether she can do the job.
Former Republican Congressman Tom Tancredo (R-CO), who gave the opening speech at the recent Tea Party convention that Palin keynoted, said Sunday that the former vice presidential candidate isn't quite cut out for the highest office in the land.
"I really don’t have this feeling about her as being presidential," Tancredo told the Colorado paper NRC Handelsblad. "I don’t know what it is exactly. I don’t know if the issues really are that difficult for her or not."
In an interview with Fox News that aired just after her Tea Party speech, Palin, now a Fox contributor, signaled in her strongest terms yet an interest in seeking the presidency, saying it would be "absurd" not to consider it.
Tancredo wondered whether it was all for show or whether she really wanted it. "As governor of the state of Alaska, she doesn’t have all that kind of experience," he said. "She can get better. But I don’t know if she is really looking to do it."
Long before Palin signaled any interest in seeking the White House again, her conservative fans were speculating and encouraging her. The prospect of "President Palin" earned thunderous applause at the Tea Party convention. But that would be a long road ahead, it seems.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll released soon after the Tea Party convention found that a towering 71 percent of Americans deem Palin "not qualified" to be president. Her negatives have been steadily rising.
Tancredo, a staunch advocate against illegal immigration, gained national attention after his speech for suggesting a return to Jim Crow laws that kept blacks from voting. The NAACP called his remarks "insidious" and "outrageous."
But he isn't the only conservative pundit who thinks she ought to learn more about the issues. Last week fellow Fox News talker Bill O'Reilly said Palin "needs to go to college" and educate herself more before running.
MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews was less kind, calling her an "empty vessel" and alleging she has "nothing going on mentally."
Washington Post columnist David Broder was more impressed, praising her "pitch-perfect populism" and warning the country to "[t]ake Sarah Palin seriously."
A Marist College poll this month found that Palin would get crushed in 2012 if she were to run against President Barack Obama.