Clinton 'refused to attack Palin'
Gender politics came to the fore as Hillary Clinton kicked off a book tour that could offer a glimpse of a possible 2016 US presidential run.
The former US secretary of state's tour for her new book, Hard Choices, began in the friendliest possible setting: a book-signing event in Manhattan.
Around 1,000 people - some of whom had slept on the pavement - let out whoops as the former first lady arrived about 20 minutes behind schedule and delivered brief remarks with a patriotic tone reminiscent of a campaign trail.
Ms Clinton said the book was "written for anybody who wants to think about, and learn about, what is happening in the world today - why America matters, and why the world matters to America".
She added: "We have a lot of hard choices ahead of us in our country to make it as brave and as strong as it should be. And we have a lot of hard choices to continue to lead the world and solve problems that affect us and the rest of humanity."
Her frenetic pace and intense media attention resembled a hybrid of celebrity book tour and campaign kick-off, with plenty of hints at a presidential run.
In one of her first promotional interviews, Ms Clinton was asked on NBC about a six-year-old tale she recounted in her book about 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain's pick of Ms Palin as his running mate.
Ms Clinton said Democratic candidate Barack Obama's campaign, which had defeated her bid for the nomination that year, asked her to attack Ms Palin.
"I said, 'Attack her for what? For being a woman?'" Ms Clinton said.
She said she told the Obama campaign: "There'll be plenty of time to do what I think you should do in politics, which is draw distinctions."
Sarah Palin tweeted out the book's account of the episode on Monday and accused the Obama campaign of firing "the first shot in the real 'war on women'".
Republicans are pushing back on Democratic charges that the Republican Party wages a "war on women" by promoting policies that are detrimental for women.
Barack Obama's campaign advisers did not want to discuss Ms Clinton's account on the record, but they confirmed that they asked for her help in responding to Sarah Palin and did so without Mr Obama's involvement.
At the time, Sarah Palin cast herself as the candidate for supporters of Hillary Clinton's failed bid for the Democratic nomination.
Several senior advisers to Mr Obama's 2008 campaign said the campaign wanted Ms Clinton to argue that the Republican platform was antithetical to women's issues.
Ms Clinton's return to the spotlight in the past week showed that Republicans were prepared to criticise her unrelentingly if she enters the presidential campaign.
Republican operatives published an ebook, entitled Failed Choices, to undercut her account of her tenure at the State Department.