Sarah Palin Hires a Chief of Staff: Is She Really Running in 2012?

Michael Glasser advised Bob Dole and John McCain

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Sarah Palin has hired a chief of staff--does it mean she's running for president or that she's just a very busy lady?

The person she has hired is Michael Glassner, who worked for the presidential campaigns of both Bob Dole and John McCain. He will be running her political action committee, Sarah PAC, Politico's Andy Barr reports. Palin's current staff is not known for its organization, and she makes many of her decisions by consulting with her husband, Todd, instead of experienced political consultants. "One of the key hurdles most Republican operatives say Palin has to clear in order to seriously run for president is hire an experienced staff," Barr writes. "Glassner is a step in that direction."

Inside Palin's PAC, the line of authority ... has been unclear to Republicans trying to reach out and be helpful to Ms. Palin," The New York Times' Jeff Zeleny explains futher. "In presidential politics, there is the money primary and the staff primary, both of which are critical in the early stages of building a campaign." Most candidates have their staff in place before they announce they're running.

So what's the deal? Is she or isn't she? There's evidence to support several different conclusions, and analysts and fans are divided into three main camps.

She's Running:

Though two pro-Palin Republicans told Zeleny that it's "not necessarily a sign" that Palin will run, many see Glassner's hiring as good evidence she will. Politics Daily says it's an indication that Palin "is serious in her deliberations" about 2012 while The New York Daily News' Aliyah Shahid says it's the "strongest indication yet" that she's running. In the straight-up blogosphere the move is generating some buzz, too: Ginger at the popular I Own the World writes that the hire shows how ambitious Palin is: "No matter how you feel about Palin's experience or qualifications, you would be remiss in not recognizing her drive and ability to achieve her goals.  I think she's in for 2012."

The most enthusiastic might be Gary P. Jackson at the political blog A Time for Choosing, who writes, "This may be the most excitement ever created by the hiring of a logistics guy!" Glancing over Glassner's resume on LinkedIn, Jackson calls him "a logistics specialist" and a "great team manager. ... This is a solid pick for many reasons. Glassner brings a wealth of skills to the job, as well as a wealth of contacts. The sort of contacts needed to put together a winning team."

She's Having Fun:

One of the few more skeptical about Palin's candidacy is Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers. He tells The Telegraph's Alex Spillius that "I think she's keeping people off balance ... I think she probably finds that quite enjoyable, that somebody who's a relative newcomer in the party has been able to keep all of the pros guessing."

She's Selling Out:

In fact, only blog commenters seem to be showing any unhappiness about the move. For example, there's jakee308 at Riehl World View, who writes

This guy was an adviser to Bob Dole. Anyone else see a problem here? This is an elephant in the room concerning Presidential campaigns that no one talks about. ... It's the same people, over and over again that get hired to run some political 'star's' campaign who has become popular with the people. ... Doesn't matter what these managers' past win/loss record is either. I guess they get selected/hired because they know the mechanics of running a campaign. Problem is they bring a lot of opinion/bias to the table that influences the campaign almost as much as the candidate. I don't like seeing her hire a guy who LOST and was responsible for some of the poor judgment that was demonstrated by Bob Dole's campaign (HE LOST REMEMBER?) Why is hiring this guy a good thing? I also am getting the vibe in general that Sarah's trying to ease her way over to a middle right position on a lot of other things, perhaps to woo or quiet her mild detractors ... Again: HE LOST
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