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Sarah Palin's new book comes out Tuesday

With three words, Sarah Palin placed her marker on presidential politics.

"I believe so," the former Alaska governor said when asked whether she could defeat President Barack Obama in 2012.

Palin's declaration was delivered in an interview with Barbara Walters scheduled for broadcast Dec. 9, made while calling attention to her second national book tour.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll taken Oct. 25-28 with a 3- percentage-point margin of error found that 67 percent of registered voters view Palin as unqualified to be president.

Others see Palin's hints about a presidential run as more about marketing than about a thirst for power.

"It's about the money," Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida and host of MSNBC's Morning Joe, said last week of Palin's assertion that she could beat Obama.

In her book, Sarah Palin, 46, takes on everything from American Idol to Murphy Brown, revives talk of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and takes issue with JFK's famous religion speech, saying he "wanted to run away from religion."

Who gets praise? Simon Cowell, for one. Barack Obama? Unsurprisingly, not so much — she accuses him of "a stark lack of faith in the American people," among many other things.

America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, which has been billed as a tribute to American values, comes out Tuesday.

Palin's first book, the memoir Going Rogue, has sold more than 2 million copies.

The former Alaska governor's potential presidential ambitions have been the subject of increasing chatter recently, with her every remark parsed for clues as to her 2012 plans. In the new book, Palin does not detail her plans but speaks of a need for new leaders.

"We're worried that our leaders don't believe what we believe, that America is an exceptional nation, the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan believed it is," she writes. "We want leaders who share this fundamental belief. We deserve such leaders."

Palin devotes several pages to a discussion of John F. Kennedy's noted speech on religion during the 1960 campaign — a speech many saw as crucial in persuading the country to elect a Catholic president. "I am not the Catholic candidate for president," Kennedy said then. "I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic."

Discussing her own faith, Palin writes that JFK's speech "essentially declared religion to be such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are." Kennedy, she says, "seemed to want to run away from religion." She praises Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for not "doing a JFK" during his campaign for the 2008 GOP nomination, but instead speaking forthrightly of how his faith would inform his presidency.

Palin also returns to the subject of Wright, Obama's controversial former pastor. And she revisits Michelle Obama's comment during the presidential race that "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."

"I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people," Palin writes.

On a lighter subject, Palin takes aim at American Idol, even though her daughter, Bristol, is in the thick of a much-scrutinized run on Dancing with the Stars. Palin refers to Idol's "talent-deprived" contestants who suffer from "the cult of self-esteem" to the extent that they grew up convinced they could be stars like Michael Jackson.

But Simon Cowell, the acerbic judge who left the show at the end of last season? He is "almost alone in his willingness to tell hard truths," Palin writes.

Her book is being published by HarperCollins, a sister company with Fox of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Fox also employs Palin as a contributor.

Information from the Washington Post, Bloomberg News and Associated Press was used in this report.

Sarah Palin's book America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith and Flag, billed as a tribute to American values, comes out today.

• Her pet peeve? Talentless wannabes: "Did you ever wonder where the producers of American Idol come up with the seemingly endless supply of people who can't sing but are deluded enough to get up in front of a national television audience and screech out a song anyway? . . . These self-esteem-enhanced but talent-deprived performers eventually learn the truth." But she loves Dancing With the Stars, and says Bristol joined "to challenge herself in a new, fun way."

• She revives the Dan Quayle-Murphy Brown debate about unwed mothers: Although her daughter got pregnant outside of marriage, she paid a price and tries to help other girls with her abstinence message. "Given the choice of role models between Bristol and Murphy Brown, I choose Bristol."

• She likes the "subversive moral messages" in the movies Juno, Knocked Up, and The 40-Year-Old Virgin: "A European movie might have had Juno get her abortion in the opening scene and then spend the next hour and fifteen minutes smoking cigarettes and pondering the meaning of life. It would have been depressing and boring."

• She gave up chocolate for a year to prove she could do it: "I believe this feeling of accomplishment is what everyone is created to crave."

• She bagged a caribou in the Alaskan tundra this fall: "I eat, therefore I hunt!" she writes. "I often explain that the meat we eat is wrapped in fur instead of the cellophane that customers purchase in grocery stores."

Sarah Palin's new book comes out Tuesday 11/22/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 1:23pm]

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