(Pat Greenhouse / Globe Staff Photo)
Even as she insisted that she was not trying to undermine Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign announcement today, Sarah Palin sharply criticized Romney’s universal health care law while touring historic sites on Romney’s home turf in Massachusetts.
“In my opinion, any mandate coming from government is not a good thing,” Palin told reporters during a visit to the Bunker Hill Monument in Charlestown. The law will be one of the reasons that it “will be a big challenge” for Romney to appeal to Tea Party supporters.
“It’s tough for a lot of us independent Americans to accept [the mandate] because we have great faith in the private sector and our own families and our own business men and women making decisions for ourselves, not any level of government telling us what to do,’’ said Palin, who is a potential challenger to Romney for the Republican presidential nomination.
Palin appeared to be headed to New Hampshire just after noon. Romney announced his candidacy in Stratham this afternoon.
“Coincidental that we’re in the same territory at the same time,’’ said Palin. “But more power to Mitt … and best of luck to him.’’
Palin said she remains undecided on whether she will challenge Romney and other candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.
“Haven’t decided yet,’’ she told reporters. “Looking at the field, and knowing that there is going to be a lot of shakeup in that lineup.’’
Palin said that when she was in New York City last night she did speak with Roger Ailes, chairman of the Fox television network, but she refused to provide details of that conversation.
Earlier today, Palin jokingly tapped her first surrogate of the 2012 campaign – Cecilia Thompson, a Sarah Palin impersonator from the North Shore.
During a stop at the Old North Church in the North End this morning, Palin and Thompson briefly hugged and then the former Alaska governor told Thompson what to do next.
“Now you go talk to all these reporters,’’ Palin said, laughing. “And you speak for me.’’
The impostor encounter took place as Palin toured the Freedom Trail with her 10-year-old daughter, Piper, her parents, and a contingent of reporters who have been following the potential GOP candidate during her One Nation tour.
At the Old North Church, Palin also encountered a group of fifth-graders from Waltham on a field trip who greeted her like a rock star, offering shouts of “we love you’’ as they jostled to have Palin sign their shirts, hats, or whatever else they could offer.
Palin also offered them signed copies of the US Constitution, which she is handing out to those she crosses paths with today in Boston.
As she left the Marriott Long Wharf hotel in downtown Boston this morning, Palin’s entourage piled into two SUVs followed by a media throng, which included a crew from Comedy Central's "The Daily Show." There was no obvious sign of Boston police or other law enforcement presence around her.
Palin has acknowledged that she is interested in running for president, but has insisted that her unusual tour — which has featured a visit to Ellis Island and a pizza dinner with Donald Trump — is about highlighting America’s great historic sites.
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