Sarah Palin on 2016: 'Of Course' She's Interested

Headed to Iowa, Sarah Palin talks 2016 and the GOP.

ByABC News
January 23, 2015, 1:47 PM

— -- Just before she heads to Iowa for the first major conservative showcase of the 2016 election cycle, Sarah Palin said “of course” she’s interested in the 2016 presidential election.

“Yeah, I mean, of course, when you have a servant’s heart, when you know that there is opportunity to do all you can to put yourself forward in the name of offering service, anybody would be interested,” Palin told ABC News' Neal Karlinsky while serving wild boar chili to the homeless in Las Vegas Thursday.

When asked again if she could be “possibly” interested in a presidential campaign, she answered, “We definitely had enough of seeing that -- America has had enough of seeing that -- sign on the Oval Office door saying, 'No Girls Allowed.' I know that.”

While serving up bowls to those gathered in line, the former Alaska governor clarified, “It doesn’t necessarily have to be me, though, but no, America is definitely ready for real change.

Watch ABC News' Neal Karlinsky’s Full Interview with Sarah Palin on an Upcoming "Nightline" Segment.

“It doesn't have to be myself, but yes ... happy to drive that competition, because competition will make everyone better and produce more and be more candid regarding their solutions they will offer this country. I am very interested in that competitive process and, again, not necessarily me.”

Palin was in Las Vegas for the annual Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show and made a side trip to serve the chili at the Salvation Army in downtown Las Vegas. She was joined by her daughter, Bristol Palin, and they both wore hats and aprons advertising The Sportsman Channel, where Palin hosts “Amazing America with Sarah Palin.”

Palin will be one of many big Republican names and possible presidential candidates in the Hawkeye State Saturday for the Iowa Freedom Summit, a conservative confab hosted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. Others taking the stage include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and former neurosurgeon and conservative star Ben Carson.

When asked about the familiar names already popping up in the potential GOP primary, including Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush, neither of whom will attend the Iowa Freedom Summit, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee quipped, “I can’t wait for new energy.” She added there had “better be a competition and not a coronation,” making it clear she thinks that’s the only way Republicans can beat Hillary Clinton, if the former first lady and secretary of state emerges as the Democratic nominee.

“Big competition, and that competition in the GOP ... will surface that candidate who can take on Hillary, be ready for Hillary and show the nation what it is going to take to get the country back on the right track -- because we can't afford status quo, because status quo lately has been Latin for, 'We are getting screwed,' and status quo has got to go,” she said.

As for who she wants to see as that “right candidate,” she described the person as someone who will “turn things around, someone who will, in some respects, I don’t know, maybe be considered a bit avant garde, to the establishment anyway, because this next person has got to realize this is war, this is war for our hunters’ future.

“I want to help find that candidate that realizes that [their standing in the next election is] not what matters, that’s not what is at stake,” Palin said. “What's at stake is our children and our grandchildren’s future.”

Palin even weighed in on the “ready for” campaigns, while not specifically referring to “Ready for Hillary” or “Ready for Warren.”

"[I] wonder what are our friends in the White House think when their peeps are out there trucking around chirping we are ready for change, for someone else," Palin said. "You wonder what they think they are going to accomplish in the next two years if even their own people are going, ‘Man, this isn't working. We need change.’”

Palin added she doesn’t believe 2016 is “going to be about the establishment on either side of the aisle.”

ABC News' Meredith Frost contributed to this report.