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Palin coy on 2012, decries 'birthers'

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Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin speaks to the Long Island Association on Thursday in Woodbury, N.Y.

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WOODBURY, N.Y. -- Sarah Palin, in a rare public appearance at which reporters were allowed, praised lawmakers threatening to vote against raising the federal debt ceiling. She stuck to her guns on "death panels" Thursday and continued tweaking First Lady Michelle Obama's efforts to fight childhood obesity, but she chided some of her own supporters for sustaining the "annoying" claims that President Obama is foreign-born and Muslim.

As for whether she's running for president in 2012, -- the former GOP vice presidential nominee said she's thinking about it.

"No one is more qualified, really, to multitasking and the things you need to do as president, than a woman, a mom," said the former Alaska governor, who has five children.

Mrs. Palin sat for an interview with the president of the Long Island Association, a business group outside New York, at the group's annual meeting. Kevin Law pressed her on gun rights, presidential aspirations, and how she usually communicates through Facebook and Fox News, where she is a contributor, rather than talking to reporters.

Reporters were allowed at the New York event, unlike many Palin speaking engagements where they have been banned, but they did not get a chance to ask questions.

Whether or not she runs for president, Mrs. Palin predicted an unconventional Republican contest in which social media would play a key role.

She also praised the Tea Party movement, saying it had forced Republicans and Democrats to "rethink the way they do business."

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