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Sarah Palin’s Secretive Bus Tour Stops In Philadelphia

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Sarah Palin visits Independence Hall while visiting Philly on May 31, 2011.

Sarah Palin visits Independence Hall while visiting Philly on May 31, 2011.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Whether Sarah Palin will run for the White House is still a secret, but we at least know that she is confident she can beat President Obama if she runs.

“To put it concisely, yes,” she told Eyewitness News when our cameras caught up with her in Philadelphia early Tuesday afternoon. “I think most of the Republican candidates who are lining themselves up to run have a very good chance of beating President Obama because I think people are looking for the economy to be put back on track and strong national security measures.”

Palin was in town as part of a secretive bus tour visiting historic sites along the east coast. She spent about 45 minutes in Philadelphia touring Independence Hall and seeing the Liberty Bell.

She says the intention is not to keep the media guessing about her intentions.

It’s not “to play cat and mouse and have you guys guessing or anything else,” she said. “Really it’s a genuine concern for our country, highlighting our past.”

Eyewitness News spoke with Palin exclusively before she began her tour of the historic sites. National Park Service rangers escorted her through a back gate of Independence Hall. When she emerged on the Chestnut Street side of the building, crowds of tourists and students had gathered to get a look.

Some shouted “We love you!” Others said “Go home!”

Surrounded by Philadelphia police and park rangers, she crossed Chestnut Street and entered the Liberty Bell Center through its exit door.

Palin says she’s hoping to spread awareness of the nation’s symbols of freedom – something she says too few young people cherish. She visited Philadelphia after making stops at Gettysburg and Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

She said she believes she has several more weeks to make a decision about running for president in 2012.

“We think that it is still many weeks away before the field has to be set. There’s going to be lots of shuffling around,” she said. There are “good candidates in there – and good candidates we’re hearing that might be potential. Like Rick Perry – like him!”

Philadelphia Police had no advance notice of Palin’s visit. Traffic officers quickly shut down Chestnut and parts of Fifth Street. The National Park Service says it was given a heads up about an hour before Palin arrived in the city.

By 2 p.m., she was back on her “One Nation” bus and headed out of the city. Where she stops next is anyone’s guess.

Reported by Ben Simmoneau, CBS 3

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