Palin's reality TV show kicks off presidential bid
THE campaign for the 2012 Republican primary unofficially begins this weekend with the start of a television series featuring Sarah Palin exploring the wilds of Alaska.
A number of hopefuls are also announcing plans for book tours in key states.
For the former vice-presidential candidate, 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' is a typically unconventional contribution to the political scene.
Cameras from the channel TLC, which specialises in reality television, have followed Mrs Palin and her family rock-climbing, salmon-fishing and enjoying home-baked cupcakes in an attempt to soften the sniping, acerbic image that has alienated so many voters. The show "is a way to undo a lot of the untruths, inaccuracies and lies about our family", Mrs Palin said.
Karl Rove, the guiding hand behind George W Bush's victories, warned last month that the series would make her look unpresidential. Her numerous critics may also delight in the opportunity to reinforce their image of Mrs Palin as 'Sarah Barracuda' or 'Caribou Barbie'.
But even reviewers in the mainstream press have admitted it could prove beneficial. The 'Washington Post' said the series "makes Palin about a thousand times more relatable and likeable than any previous effort" and was a step forward in "her brand advancement".
Analysts have said that whatever the effect on Mrs Palin's expected run for the Republican nomination, it shows how she has changed the rules of political engagement. Her latest book is due out this month. Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, who is strongly expected to run in 2012, and Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, have also both released books and will use book tours to raise their profiles. (©Daily Telegraph, London)