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Palin Reality Show a White House Bid Precursor?

Will Sarah Palin seek the presidency in 2012 or won't she?

The question has been the subject of plenty of speculation, and the premiere this weekend of her TLC reality show, "Sarah Palin's Alaska," is only adding fuel to the buzz.

The show takes viewers inside life at home of the former Alaska governor and GOP vice-presidential candidate.

Leading Republican fundraiser and strategist Karl Rove, among others, has expressed concern about the chance Palin will run try for the Oval Office.

"I understand what Rove is saying," Time magazine Deputy Washington Bureau Chief Michael Crowley told "Early Show" co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez Friday. "I think Rove, like a lot of Republicans, is concerned that Sarah Palin is going to run for president, get the nomination and have trouble becoming elected president, and his argument is that this does not make her look serious enough to be president. But, I think you can think of this as sort of the longest, most expensive biographical political ad in history," and it could humanize her. "There could some upsides to that if she wants to run for president."

"Her husband, Todd Palin, has said it doesn't even matter," Rodriguez pointed out, "because the people who don't like them aren't going to like them, ever. But if you are going to run for president, as she very well might, don't you want to try to get more people to like you?"

"Exactly," Crowley responded. "I think this could be a good step in that direction. … She may just be having fun: She's making money. She's sort of going around the country and traveling and enjoying herself. But this could be a step toward trying to humanize herself, trying to show a new side, trying to, you know, associate herself with classic American themes of the outdoors and family. And that could be beneficial.

"She probably also has to do some work to show people that she, you know, does the homework and can be president, because polls show that people have concerns about her qualifications. But, I don't think that this show means she's not running. I think it's very possible that she will run."

A pending Palin book tour also has tongues wagging. Two of the stops are in Iowa. What does Crowley make of that?

"There are three possibilities. One is that she's running and she hasn't come out and said it yet. Two, I think the likeliest is she's keeping her options open. She is able to kind of doing the commercial side of things but, also, at the same time, get her ducks in a row if she decides she wants to run for president. The third interpretation would be that she's kind of having fun whipping up the speculation about a presidential run, doesn't intend to do it, but of course, it's good for her book sales and the ratings of her show -- I think right now we just can't be sure."

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