From RealClearPolitics' Scott Conroy:
In the latest indication that her sights are still set on a presidential run, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has accepted an invitation to keynote a Tea Party rally in Waukee, Iowa, on Sept. 3, RealClearPolitics has learned.
The Labor Day weekend visit to the nation's first voting state comes after Palin indicated during an appearance on Fox News earlier this month that she would make her decision about whether to launch a campaign in August or September.
All signs now point to September as the month when Palin would throw her hat into the ring, as logistical concerns ranging from fundraising to getting her name on the ballot in various states would likely preclude further delay.
Many prominent political analysts and Republican operatives have expressed skepticism that Palin is seriously considering a presidential bid, since she has not taken many of the steps that candidates traditionally take before jumping into the race, such as signing early-state consultants, contacting key powerbrokers and boosting their travel schedules.
But Palin has a long history of shunning the Republican Party machinery and taking an unconventional approach to campaigns -- a mind-set that appears to have been in play throughout the past several months.
Palin's latest appearance in Iowa will come just two days after "The Undefeated," a documentary film spotlighting her accomplishments in Alaska, will be released on Pay-Per-View and video-on-demand. In the film, Palin is portrayed as a continual thorn in the Republican establishment's side. And it is the GOP, rather than the Democratic Party, that garners the better part of the movie's scorn.
If Palin were to announce a White House run, the theme of her campaign would almost certainly focus on resisting the ingrained political culture and what she sees as being wrong with the status quo, and much of the Republican Party itself, in addition to continuing to offer one of the most strident contrasts to President Obama's policies.
The outdoor rally on the first Saturday in September will take place at a field in Waukee, located just outside of Des Moines, and will be hosted by the Tea Party of America -- an Iowa-based political action committee that was founded in May.
The midday affair will be the new group's kickoff event and is sure to generate a large crowd and massive media attention.
One of the Tea Party of America's co-founders, Charlie Gruschow, had previously founded the Des Moines Tea Party before splintering off to start a new group with some like-minded colleagues.
Gruschow praised the work of a highly motivated group of volunteers who have been setting the groundwork in Iowa for a Palin campaign, which almost all of them deem to be inevitable.
"I can only surmise that she's very, very popular here," Gruschow said of Palin's level of support among Republican caucus-goers in Iowa. "And it didn't hurt at all when she introduced her movie in Pella. The feedback I've gotten was it was an awesome movie, and there are more people becoming more endeared to her."
Palin has been relatively quiet over the past month, as she has retreated to Alaska to immerse herself in policy and to strategize with her husband, Todd, and top advisers about how a potential campaign would work.
SarahPAC, Palin's political action committee, has not hired a pollster or a media consultant, and Palin appears to have little interest in doing so, although the addition of a national press secretary may soon be on the horizon.
The 2008 Republican vice-presidential nominee will not be on the ballot at next month's Ames Straw Poll, which could winnow the GOP field just as Texas Gov. Rick Perry is expected to enter the race sometime in August.