Leading article: Palin loses her pulling power

A week may be a long time in politics in Britain but in America it might just as well be a lifetime. Remember when Sarah Palin was the darling of the Republican Party and being talked of as a serious contender to Barack Obama in 2012?

That was months ago. The former governor of Alaska still buzzes round the country, lambasting Mr Obama over the deficit, pledging to create countless new jobs and generally revelling in the attention that her appearances – and startling remarks – attract. But after again failing to declare her hand in the last few days, Americans are losing interest.

On the conservative right, among supporters of the Tea Party, her thunder has long been stolen by the equally God-fearing Michele Bachmann who, gallingly for Ms Palin, both looks and sounds like her.

The serious money is concentrating on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and Texas governor Rick Perry, increasingly seen as the man most likely to give Mr Obama a run for his money. No one will be sadder to see Ms Palin out of the race than the President. One of the most divisive figures in the country, she was a dream opponent.