"Fire in the belly": Sarah Palin just might run for president after all.

From Wasilla to Washington.
May 26 2011 5:58 PM

"Fire in the Belly"

Sarah Palin just might run for president after all.

Sarah Palin might be tweeting less than in days of yore, but that doesn't necessarily mean she cares about politics any less. At least that's the implication of her appearance on Fox News last night, when she told Greta Van Susteren that she has the necessary passion to make a run after Van Susteren asked her directly why she hasn't declared in or out:

Oh, that's a great question. I think my problem is that I do have the fire in my belly. I am so adamantly supportive of the good, traditional things about America and our free enterprise system, and I want to make sure that America is put back on the right track, and we only do that by defeating Obama in 2012. I have that fire in my belly.

It's a matter for me of some kind of practical, pragmatic decisions that have to be made. One is, with a large family, understanding the huge amount of scrutiny and the sacrifices that have to be made on my children's part in order to see their mama run for president. But yes, the fire in the belly? It's there.

Palin's family hasn't exactly been underexposed to date (just recently, her son Track's nuptials were reported on by People magazine), so this excuse seems a little flimsier than it does for someone like Mitch Daniels. In that light, it's hard not to read her "fire in the belly" comment as an indication that she might be more serious about a run than she has seemed in recent months. Palin's other behavior over the past few days also jibes with this reading: She's dogged newly official candidate Newt Gingrich * for retreating from his position on the Ryan budget plan. And in a new Gallup poll released after Mike Huckabee announced that he isn't running, Palin's numbers among likely GOP voters are only a hair lower than those of front-runner Mitt Romney, something that surely hasn't gone unnoticed in the Palin camp. The Palin meter jumps all the way up to 50 percent.

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Previous Palin Meter Readings

Tuesday, May 17, 2011: 43 percent

Tuesday, May 10, 2011: 39 percent

Thursday, May 5, 2011: 46 percent

Thursday, April 28, 2011: 44 percent

Monday, April 18, 2011:
44 percent

Thursday, April 14, 2011: 39 percent

Tuesday, April 5, 2011: 43 percent

Monday, March 28, 2011: 49 percent

Wednesday, March 23, 2011:
53 percent

Friday, March 18, 2011: 55 percent

Wednesday, March 16, 2011:
55 percent

Thursday, March 10, 2011: 48 percent

Tuesday, March 8, 2011:
35 percent

Monday, March 7, 2011:
40 percent

Friday, March 3, 2011:
45 percent

Tuesday, March 1, 2011:
51 percent

Correction,   May 23, 2011: The article originally misspelled Newt Gingrich's name. (Return to the corrected sentence.)

Noreen Malone is a senior editor at New York magazine.

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