She wrote a mega-best-seller. She was named one of the world's most influential people by Time magazine. And she revs up conservatives like no one else.
But is Sarah Palin, who is scheduled to speak Saturday in Independence, serious about running for president?
Or has a second-time-around TV career and moneymaking taken over?
Only Palin knows for sure, and for now she's not saying.
But as the former Alaska governor prepares to address tea partiers and other conservatives at the Independence Events Center, she is leaving behind tantalizing hints about a potential White House bid on the heels of her rocky 2008 vice presidential campaign.
In February she said she would run for president "if I believed that that is the right thing to do for our country and for the Palin family."
Two weeks ago at a Boston tea party rally, she appeared to open the door to teaming up with former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who failed to win the GOP's 2008 presidential nomination.
"Sounds pretty good," she declared about the potential pairing.
Asked who would be atop the ticket, Palin laughed: "Ha! I haven’t even thought that far ahead yet."
But her focus since July 3 last year appears to have centered on moneymaking as much as politicking.
On that day Palin summoned a crew of national reporters to her home in Wasilla, Alaska, and stunned them with the news that she was quitting as governor and taking her "fight for what's right in a new direction."
She added: "I cannot stand here as your governor and allow the millions of dollars and all that time to go to waste just so I can hold the title of governor." That was a reference to the effect of ethics complaints against her, most of which have been dismissed.
At the time, according to a profile in New York magazine, her life had become increasingly difficult, marked by long commutes to Alaska's capital of Juneau and by legal proceedings that were driving her and her family deeper into debt.
Her approval ratings in Alaska had dropped into the low 50s from a high of 80 percent before Republican John McCain picked her as his running mate.
Palin said her family weighed heavily in her decision to quit the governorship.
"I polled the most important people in my life, my kids, where the count was unanimous," she said.
Since then, Palin's new direction has resulted in an estimated $12 million fortune built on frequent speeches, where she charges the same $100,000 rate that Colin Powell and George W. Bush command. She has sold 2.2 million copies of her memoir and now plans a second book, according to the New York magazine profile.
In January she reportedly signed a three-year deal as a Fox News contributor for $1 million a year. She has a second deal with the TLC cable TV network for an eight-part series about Alaska. Palin's take is about $250,000 an episode.
Her salary as Alaska’s governor? Only $125,000 a year.
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