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Palin stokes 2012 run speculation

Sarah Palin after returning to Anchorage, Alaska, on 5 November 2008
Mrs Palin has conducted a flurry of national TV interviews this week

Defeated Republican running mate Sarah Palin has said that a woman would be good for the party's ticket in 2012.

Attending the Republican Governors Association in Florida, she did not say if that female nominee might be her.

But the Alaska governor told reporters she would be happy to do whatever she was asked to progress the nation.

Mrs Palin, who is scheduled to speak about the Republican Party's future on Thursday, said she stood for everyday hardworking US families.

Correspondents say the mother-of-five could face stiff competition if she wants to become the Republican nominee in 2012.

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who both failed in their candidacy this year, along with Florida Governor Charlie Crist and Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour may also be candidates.

'Honour to assist'

Mrs Palin, 44, was asked by reporters on Wednesday about speculation that she is the party's future.

I'm comfortable with Barack Obama as our commander-in-chief, assuming that he has those around him who recognise terrorists have not changed their minds
Sarah Palin

She said: "I don't think it's me personally, I think it's what I represent. Everyday hardworking American families - a woman on the ticket perhaps represents that.

"It would be good for the ticket. It would be good for the party. I would be happy to get to do whatever is asked of me to help progress this nation."

Meanwhile, in an interview with NBC on Wednesday, Mrs Palin said she would feel at ease with President-elect Barack Obama in the White House as long as his advisers understood threats against the United States.

"I'm comfortable with Barack Obama as our commander-in-chief, assuming that he has those around him who recognise... that terrorists have not changed their minds," she said.

She has also hinted at a possible run for the top job in 2012 during a flurry of national television interviews this week, telling one network she would "plough through that door" if it was God's will.

She told CNN it would be her "honour to assist and support our new president and the new administration" if asked.

But she said Mr Obama's ties to former militant William Ayers "still concerned" her.

Correspondents say her sudden media blitz is a marked departure from her tightly-controlled interaction with journalists during this autumn's presidential campaign, when she was John McCain's running mate.

Arizona Senator McCain praised Mrs Palin on Tuesday night during his first post-election interview, saying she inspired people and "would play a big role in the future of this country".

The former beauty queen, who was relatively unknown outside Alaska before Mr McCain picked her as his number two in August, energised crowds on the campaign trail.

But she also drew criticism from across the political spectrum that she lacked experience.

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