Palin doesn't rule out 2012 presidential bid

McLEAN, Va. -- Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, mounting a public relations blitz after her ticket's loss in the 2008 presidential election, described the campaign experience as "brutal" and strongly denied reports that she was a greedy clothes shopper and was ignorant of basic world geography.

She didn't rule out another run for a top office in four or eight years.

Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, opened up about her sudden rise to national prominence from relative obscurity in interviews with Matt Lauer of NBC's Today and Greta Van Susteren of Fox News.

She will appear this week at the Republic Governors Association conference in Miami, where she will speak and hold a news conference.

In the interviews, Palin pushed back strongly against reports, particularly those carried by Newsweek and Fox News, that quoted top McCain advisers as saying she did not know during her debate briefings that Africa was a continent, not a country and did not know the countries involved in the North American Free Trade Agreement.

She also rejected charges that she went on a $150,000 shopping spree paid for by the Republican National Committee.

Some highlights:

•Palin denied she was a drag on the ticket, blaming the country's economic conditions instead.

•She said that she did not keep any of the clothes bought by the RNC and that two-thirds of them were sent back or never opened.

•She said she did not unilaterally try to give a speech on concession night, saying the remarks she had hoped to deliver were drawn up by campaign speechwriters.

"I didn't know that it would be as brutal a ride as it turned out to be," she told Lauer in an interview at her home in Wasilla, Alaska.

She said she didn't understand why anyone in the McCain campaign would want to criticize her so sharply.

"I don't know that inside baseball stuff at that top echelons of why a campaign was run, it doesn't make any sense … it harms everybody to have false allegations like that," she told Van Susteren.

Palin told Lauer, "There were a lot of times I wanted to shout out, 'Hey, wait a minute, it's not true.' It's pretty brutal."

She denied any tensions between her and Sen. John McCain, the presidential nominee on the ticket.

Palin told NBC she and the Arizona senator have a "very warm and friendly and professional" relationship and speak almost daily.

As for rumors of extravagant clothes-buying, Palin told Van Susteren she did not order the clothes and "would have been happy to have worn my own clothes from Day One."

"I'm flabbergasted that anybody would say that I spent any money on clothes for me or my family," she told NBC. "When I arrived at the Republican National Convention, there were stylists there, there was a wardrobe there."

Receipts, she said, showed that items for her and eight members of her family were bought before she got to the event.

She said a third of the clothes were sent back immediately and a third remained unopened in the belly of her campaign plane.

Palin said she did not realize until the night of the election that the ticket would probably lose and was initially surprised at the margin of the loss.

Palin said she had felt that voters would in large measure pick the Republicans, despite the polls.

"I think the economy collapse had a heckuva lot more to do with a collapsed campaign effort than me, personally," she told Lauer.

She said "anti-incumbency sentiment" hurt the Republicans.

"It's amazing that we did as well as we did," Palin said in a separate interview with the Anchorage Daily News.

Palin would not rule out another run for office.

"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door," Palin told Van Susteren. "And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."