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Palin’s whirlwind tour could rain on Romney

He’s set to unveil White House bid

Sarah Palin’s tour bus quietly stopped at a Boston hotel, where onlookers and tourists took pictures of the bus. Sarah Palin’s tour bus quietly stopped at a Boston hotel, where onlookers and tourists took pictures of the bus. (Dina Rudick/Globe Staff)
By Michael Levenson
Globe Staff / June 2, 2011

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Sarah Palin’s mystery tour/summer vacation/media scavenger hunt rolled into Boston last night, putting the former Alaska governor on a potential collision course with her possible Republican presidential rival, Mitt Romney, who is set to announce his second bid for the White House in New Hampshire today.

After leaving New York City and crossing tornado-raked Western Massachusetts, Palin’s One Nation tour bus pulled quietly into the Marriott Long Wharf at about 8 p.m., drawing tourists and onlookers.

“We’re thrilled,’’ said George Williams, a 74-year-old retired power company foreman from Wallingford, Conn., who posed for a photo in front of the bus with his wife, Mary, and her cousins from Italy.

“We never expected to see it,’’ said Williams, a self-described conservative who was visiting Boston’s historic sites. “It’s just a little bit of extra joy for us.’’

Palin did not hobnob with voters, at least initially, said Andrew Babb, a bartender who watched Palin disembark with a small entourage. “She shook hands with a few people and went inside,’’ he said.

As has been her practice throughout the tour, Palin is not saying what, precisely, she will do in Boston.

She is rumored, however, to be planning a walk along the Freedom Trail today. Local residents have also speculated that she might visit Old North Bridge in Concord, although the National Park Service said it had not been notified of a visit.

“But we hope the Palins might find the time to stop here on their tour of iconic American places!’’ Nancy Nelson, a National Park Service superintendent, wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. “This is, after all, ’where it all began’ and so would be a great addition to their tour.’’

Palin could, however, draw attention from Romney’s big day today. The New Hampshire Union Leader reported last night that, after visiting Boston, Palin was planning to hold a clambake on the New Hampshire seacoast this evening, hours after Romney announces his presidential run at a major event in Stratham, N.H.

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.

Levenson can be reached at mlevenson@globe.com.