PORTSMOUTH, NH -- It isn't over, but it’s over for now.
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin made one last unconventional stop on her way to the airport this morning to fly home to Alaska. Her caravan of SUVs and reporters' cars stopped at the Golden Egg, a diner here that is used to candidates dropping by, but not completely unexpectedly. (One waitress said they would’ve had all their regulars waiting if they had known she was coming.)
But there was one person who knew Palin was showing up here: rookie New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte, whom Palin endorsed last year.
Ayotte, the senator's husband, and Palin chit-chatted about their children and Alaska travels over coffee as Palin’s parents sat at a table nearby and ate breakfast. Piper was also in tow, eating a sticky bun.
When their chat turned to politics, they lowered their voices, so the microphone only picked up snippets like “55," “the longer we put it off," "Paul Ryan," and "Medicare." The political tone of the stops in New Hampshire -- coupled with this morning’s breakfast and last night’s clambake of who’s who in conservative New Hampshire -- keeps everybody interested in speculating whether or not she will run for president.
That intrigue propelled her to the biggest headline on the front page of the New Hampshire Union Leader this morning, literally shoving Mitt Romney’s presidential announcement yesterday aside.
Palin dropped a few more hints about the next leg of the tour before she took off to the airport. “I don't know if in the next week or two, we have to get back and regroup and figure out schedules and who next can hop on the bus with us - we will figure all that out,” Palin said.
When pressed about which part of the country she may visit next she said, “Midwest and then eventually West... I'd love to do South, too. I just heard from [South Carolina Gov.] Nikki Haley the other day, and I'd love for us to hit her state, too. She is great.”
So it seems like Palin’s tour is not only about seeing historic sites and handing out pocket Constitutions, but also checking in on her team of Mama Grizzlies.
Perhaps another clue to where the Liberty Mystery tour may be headed next.