In new book, Palin’s presidential ambitions are clear

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In new book, Palin’s presidential ambitions are clear

NEW YORK - If seeing Sarah Palin as a cable television pundit and a reality show star has Americans wondering who she is, her new book makes her case that she is not just a celebrity but a politician - one with what clearly sounds like plans for a White House run.

In “America by Heart,” published on Tuesday by HarperCollins, the former Alaska governor aligns herself with the Tea Party movement and takes shots at both Democrats and Republicans. Without saying if she will run for president in 2012, she states her positions in a manner not unlike a campaign platform.

She believes federal taxes are a Washington “power grab” that should abolished, wants prayers allowed in schools and wants to overturn what President Barack Obama sees as his biggest legislative achievement - health care.

“The reason for books like this is to lay the groundwork for a potential presidential candidacy,” said Thomas Schwartz, history professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

“Books like this have long been used in the American political tradition as a campaign policy paper. If it mobilizes supporters, it will have accomplished its goal.”

Palin portrays herself in the Ronald Reagan mold. She opens with “Do you love your freedom?!” and calls America “the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan believed it is.” She says one of her favorite films is “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

On taxes, she shows her Tea Party stripes. “America hasn’t always had an income tax,” she writes, noting the first such tax was in 1861 to fund the Civil War and was later repealed. “It wasn’t until 1913 that the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and the individual federal income tax that we know today was created.”

Michael Musto, pop culture writer at New York’s Village Voice, said calling for no federal taxes will appeal to many voters. But he said the Palin brand may be spread too thin.

“She’s certainly reaching out to the masses, both with this book and the fact that she and her daughter are on just about every channel you click on these days,” Musto said.

“The problem with that approach is that by 2012, she and Bristol might both be thought of as former reality stars,” Musto said. “Anyone remember who came in second on ‘American Idol’ two years ago? Exactly.”

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