Steele: 2012 Palin speculation 'off the table'

Speculating about a 2012 run by Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) for the White House is off the table," Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele said Tuesday.

Steele, who was generally supportive of Palin's decision to resign from office, said during an interview on Fox News that the focus on the governor's intentions should be out of bounds, due to the various circumstances Palin has been handling.

"You know, from my standpoint -- again not knowing anything, not having talked to the governor -- I take 2012 off the table right now, simply because given everything she's going through personally," Steele said about the speculation.

"I think that she's trying to focus on getting her house in order, her personal house in order," the RNC leader added. "The media's made all of this a distraction in so many respects."

Still, Steele joined the ranks of some top Republican who've rallied to Palin's defense in recent days after her surprising announcement last Friday

"I'm very excited about the opportunity to have Sarah Palin freed up now to engage across the country to help reorient the party and grow it," he said.

"Sarah Palin has not once indicated what her future plans are going to be, so all this speculation about whether or not she's running for president is ridiculous," Steele continued. "I think you need to focus on the fact that she made a personal decision. It was a difficult one. And we, you know, take her at her word."

Updated, 12:12 p.m.

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