Motorcycle Rally Hosts Uneasy About Palin's Presence

Sarah Palin will launch her East-Coast bus tour this weekend by participating in the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally in Washington, D.C. on Sunday -- but the group that hosts the event says her presence will be a distraction.

"It is a big distraction, because my phone's been ringing off the hook since she announced it," Ted Shpak, legislative director for Rolling Thunder, the group that hosts the annual rally in support of American POWs and veterans, told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell in an interview Friday. Shpak implied that Palin's presence would detract from the event's focus.

"We're not political, this is not a political event," Shpak said. "The way it came out, it sounded like we endorsed her."

Though Palin will reportedly make Sunday's rally the first stop in her bus tour, Shpak was clear that her bus will not ride in the group of motorcycles that will travel from a near the Pentagon, along the National Mall, and back.

It was initially reported that Palin had accepted an invitation from Rolling Thunder and was attempting to rent a motorcycle to ride in it with her husband Todd.

This isn't the first time Palin has made an overtly non-political appearance, construed by some as political, in Washington, D.C. Last August, Palin spoke at Glenn Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally, held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Many of Palin's critics expected a screed aimed at President Obama, but Palin spoke about veterans' issues, introducing a few veterans in attendance, and kept politics out of it.

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Chris Good is a political reporter for ABC News. He was previously an associate editor at The Atlantic and a reporter for The Hill.

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