Governor Sarah Palin has returned to Alaska. But her political future in both her home state and in Washington is the subject of widespread speculation.
For now, Palin says she's content with being the governor of her home state of Alaska. She has with no concrete plans to run for national office in 2012.
What does the future hold for Palin in politics? Click play for more insight from Regent University's Charles Dunn.
"Oh, you know, seems like it's so far, 2012," Palin said. "We'll be enrolling him in kindergarten. She'll be heading to, what, fifth grade, sixth grade by then? Those are my thoughts at this point as 2012 seeming a long way off today."
Mixed Reception at Home
Two months ago, Palin was the GOP's rising star, credited with energizing the party's conservative base and infusing new life into Arizona senator John McCain's presidential campaign.
But now that the election is over, Palin goes back to Alaska to a mixed reception.
"When she left, she was almost universally liked, universally approved of," explained Alaska pollster Ivan Moore. "Her approval rating was up over 80 percent. Then she went down onto the national campaign trail and her approval rating has come down to 60 percent and her negative rating has pretty much tripled."
And critical reports are tarnishing the governor's folksy small-town image. Fox News reported that anonymous sources inside the McCain campaign call Palin a "diva" who threw "tantrums." One even claimed that she did not know Africa was a continent, and not a country, when she was chosen as the Republican vice presidential candidate.
"That's kind of a small and bitter type of person who would anonymously charge that I didn't know an answer to a question," Palin responded. "So until I know who is talking about it, I won't have a comment on a false allegation."
Blamed for McCain's loss?
Some even blame Palin for McCain's loss. To that, Palin says no one should give her that much credit - to think her presence on the ticket would trump the economic crisis and cost McCain the election.
"Now having said that, if I cost John McCain even one vote, I'm sorry about that," she said. "John McCain, I believe, is the American hero. I had believed that it was his time."
Some political stragegists have advised Governor Palin to get away for a while, so people forget about the interviews, the Saturday Night Live skits - and the now-infamous wardrobe.
"If only people would know, come on up and travel with us to Alaska and see this "diva" lifestyle that i supposedly have or would demand," Palin said. "It's just false."
Many See Bright Future in the GOP
Despite a wave of negative press, many in the GOP still see a bright future for Palin in Republican politics. Many Alaskans also echo this view.
"I wouldn't be surprised if she's our next president," one resident said. "I really wouldn't. She's got all the innate qualities that would make a great leader. She really does."
Palin 2012 pins and t-shirts are already on sale in her hometown of Wasilla.
Upon returning to Anchorage, she was asked by reporters if she might run for president. Palin responded, "We'll see what happens then."
In the meantime, as governor of the nation's most energy-rich state, Palin says she ready to get down to business and help President-elect Obama hammer out a national energy policy.