Sarah Palin Kicks Off Bus Tour on Motorcycle, But Is She Running?

Revved Up, But Running?
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Sarah Palin launched her bus tour this Memorial Day weekend, not on a bus, but on the back of a Harley, with expected stops in Philadelphia, Gettysburg, and all the way through early primary state, New Hampshire.

Palin began her trip riding across the Potomac River from Virginia into the nation's capitol. During the first leg of her tour, she joined Rolling Thunder, an organization that aims to raise awareness about American military personnel who are missing in action, or prisoners of war.

Earlier this week the former vice presidential candidate released a slick video to announce her tour after weeks of being noticeably absent from the political stage. Palin's tour might appear to be more than just a public spectacle, as many other potential Republican presidential candidates gear up for the 2012 election.

When asked by ABC News what the motivation behind the tour was, Palin said, "It indicates a desire of ours to get across America and remind ourselves about our foundation; how important it is to respect and protect our Constitution."

Over the past few months the establishment Republican Party watched as Donald Trump flirted with running for office in what may have been a publicity stunt.

Political professionals are left wondering if Palin's latest step onto the public stage is a political move at all, since she does not have the required campaign structure to run a formidable race.

"This is a bit of a re-roll out," said Ken Vogel of Politico. "This is a chance for her to re-introduce herself in a more retail politics grass roots way than she has been conducting herself over the last several months where she has been really detached from it all."

Vogel added that building a strong campaign staff is an important step towards candidacy, but her hard-core base of supporters seem willing to follow her no matter where she goes.

"All she has to do is throw up a website, occasionally refer to it in a Facebook post and she can raise a lot of money," he said.

This weekend hints that other Republicans, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former New York Gov. George Pataki and current Texas Gov. Rick Perry may consider dipping a toe in the nomination waters.

Perry told reporters Friday that he is going to think about a run, and Giuliani has a scheduled fundraiser in New Hampshire later this week.

Republican strategist Karl Rove said Giuliani's fundraiser might indicate that the former mayor is seriously looking into joining the race.

"The question in his own mind is whether he going to be able to come to a strategy that gets him in earlier than he anticipated last time around," Rove said.

Republicans who have already announced their candidacy for the nomination expressed a certain level of eagerness to see other contenders join the race, including Palin.

Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told ABC News' Christiane Amanpour: "The more the merrier. Let's go. It's time to get the debate on."

"[Republicans] are looking for someone who has not already declared, and some of that is just the normal ebb and flow of the presidential campaign," Vogel said of the current crop of candidates.

With more than 40 percent of Republicans finding themselves underwhelmed with the announced candidates, the field is wide open, just like Palin's tour schedule.

A Palin aide admitted to ABC News that they plan to figure out their stops as they roll through the Northeast in the coming week.

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