Sarah Palin's Newsweek Cover-Shoot Photos

In this week's Newsweek, Sarah Palin tells Peter J. Boyer why she thinks she can win in 2012. See more photos from her cover shoot with Emily Shur.

Emily Shur for Newsweek

In this week's Newsweek, Sarah Palin tells Peter J. Boyer why she thinks she can win in 2012. See more images from her cover shoot with photographer Emily Shur.

"I believe that I can win a national election," Sarah Palin tells Newsweek's Peter J. Boyer, sitting in the private dining room of a hotel in rural Iowa. "I’m not so egotistical as to believe that it has to be me, or it can only be me, to turn things around. But I do believe that I can win."

Emily Shur for Newsweek

If Palin doesn’t end up running, the reason will be simple, she said. “Family. If it came down to the family just saying, ‘Please, Mom, don’t do this,’ then that would be the deal-killer for me, because your family’s gotta be in it with you.”

Emily Shur for Newsweek

Palin has no campaign staff directing her course (a famous source of unease during her vice presidential run) and no press secretary urging her to accommodate what she calls the “lamestream media.” She and Todd are free to keep any schedule they wish. “We don’t advertise where we’re going,” she said, in what might be the understatement of the political season.

Emily Shur for Newsweek

A recent Iowa event was a powerful demonstration of Palin’s grassroots allure. It was organized, on very short notice, almost entirely by a devoted network of Palin volunteers, who filled the 350-seat opera house and turned out a thousand people for the invitation-only barbecue that followed the screening. Dressed in a button-down shirt, fitted jeans, and a beaded belt with a big red buckle, Palin cheerily worked her way through the crowd, signing ball caps and copies of her books to the refrain “We hope you run!”

Emily Shur for Newsweek

"You know, I rarely use the term ‘bipartisanship,’ ” she said. “I use the term ‘independent.’ Piper’s middle name is ‘Indie.’ That’s the Alaskan way of life. Seventy-three percent of Alaskans aren’t registered Republican or Democrat, they’re independent. Todd’s not a registered Republican. Most of the people I know, they’re independent people saying, ‘Just use common sense.’ ”

Emily Shur for Newsweek

On the debt ceiling, Palin takes the hardline view. “It is not the apocalypse,” she said, and questioned the need for the urgent negotiating sessions Republicans and Democrats were conducting in search of a debt-limit agreement (ongoing at press time). “The fact is that we have $2.6 trillion in revenue coming in, and if we just use some common sense there—take that revenue, service the debt first, take care of national priorities—we don’t have to increase debt.”

Emily Shur for Newsweek

“The mainstream press is becoming less and less relevant,” Palin said, adding that she would have no hesitation in shunning media outlets she does not trust. “I would say no to those who have lied about me. There is no need to reward bad behavior. I’ve learned. You know, once bitten, twice shy. I have learned.”