, Arizona, Nov 24 – Sarah Palin kicked off a publicity tour to promote a new book widely seen as a campaign manifesto ahead of a possible challenge to Barack Obama for the presidency in 2012.
Palin, the undisputed media megastar of conservative American politics, has tantalized the nation with hints of a White House bid but like other expected candidates is yet to throw her hat in the ring.
She began her 16-stop book tour in Phoenix, Arizona — home state of 2008 Republican challenger John McCain, who plucked her from the relative obscurity of Alaskan state politics to be his presidential running-mate in 2008.
Fans surged forward when Palin appeared from behind a curtain in the rear of the Barnes and Noble store in a Phoenix suburb, applauding and shouting "Sarah! Sarah!"
"I\’m very conservative," said Debbie Haupt, sporting a dark blue Tea Party movement sweatshirt. "And so is Sarah. I\’d like to see her as the next president."
Less autobiographical than her first book "Going Rogue," Palin\’s book is filled with the kind of folksy wisdom that has made her a favorite of the ultra-conservative Tea Party movement and won her an adoring fan-base. Scene: Palin fans camp out to get glimpse of Mama Grizzly
Unsurprisingly, she is deeply scathing of Obama and launches a number of attacks on his political philosophy as she paints a general portrait of the president as un-American and aloof.
"The epitome of progressive thinking was Barack Obama\’s promise, just before the 2008 election, that \’we are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America,\’" Palin writes.
"I guess you could say that he warned us! But the problem is that Americans don\’t want a fundamental transformation of their country."
In one passage, Palin questions whether Obama is proud of America.
"I think ordinary Americans are tired of Obama\’s global apology tour and of hearing about what a weak country America is from left-wing professors and journalists," she writes.
She also has a dig at First Lady Michelle Obama, who was widely criticized for a February 2008 speech following her husband\’s primary victory in which she stated she was proud of America for the first time in her adult life.
America wants presidents "who are not embarrassed by America, who see our country\’s flaws but also its greatness: leaders who are proud to be Americans, and are proud of her every day, not just when their chosen ones are winning elections," Palin writes.
The book is billed as a tribute to veterans, hunting and the Tea Party that her publishers say reads "like a bible of American virtues for anyone hoping to understand the truths that lie at the heart of the nation."
In one snippet, Palin writes: "We have to know what makes America exceptional today more than ever because it is under assault today more than ever."
Palin\’s "Going Rogue" memoir, published after she resigned as Alaska governor in 2009, was the nation\’s bestselling nonfiction book last year.
Palin has shunned the "lamestream media" after being battered in early interviews during the 2008 presidential campaign and embraced new media like Facebook and Twitter.
A reality show called "Sarah Palin\’s Alaska" recently launched on the TLC cable network, featuring the family fishing, kayaking, bear-watching, and relaxing in their tiny hometown of Wasilla.
"I have a kind of internal compass that keeps me sane and grounded when the media attack dogs bark and the days on the road get long. No surprise, I keep my internal compass pointed due north, to where my roots are," she writes in her new book.
Palin\’s prominence grew as the Tea Party gained momentum this year and her reputation as a political kingmaker has solidified, with several candidates she endorsed romping to victory in the November 2 elections.
But the polarizing populist is no favorite of the Republican establishment, which regards her as a bad nationwide match-up against Obama in 2012 and has looked on with dismay as she has become an increasingly powerful player.
"I sat next to her once. Thought she was beautiful," the 85-year-old former first lady Barbara Bush told CNN in an interview Monday, before adding: "And she\’s very happy in Alaska — I hope she\’ll stay there."