From Candy Crowley, CNN Senior Political Correspondent
Washington (CNN) – She was a high-voltage candidate, lighting a fire in the grassroots of Republican-land – fresh, folksy and fierce.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/10/palin.sarah.gi.art.jpg caption="Sarah Palin stepped down from her post as governor of Alaska in July."]
She famously belittled her party's presidential opponent, Barack Obama, at her coming-out party at the 2008 Republican National Convention:
"I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities."
Sarah Palin remains a force - the most recognizable name in the Republican Party, a headline magnet.
Just over a year after the defeat of the Republican ticket, the Republican No. 2 is Amazon.com's No. 1 in non-fiction pre-sales.
Writer of books, giver of speeches, muser of politics on an unusually active Facebook account. And robo-caller on behalf of a conservative group in this year's Virginia governor's race.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll found 85 percent of Republicans say Palin agrees with them on their most important issues. But only 49 percent of independents feel that way.
It's a telling measure of her political reach - and its limits - that the Republicans who won governor seats in Virginia and New Jersey this year politely rejected Palin's offers to campaign for them.