Sarah Palin will spend much of the next few weeks campaigning with Republican presidential nominee John McCain, a move that not only capitalises on the party's enthusiasm for the vice presidential nominee but also limits her exposure to the news media.
Palin, the little-known, first-term Alaska governor thrust into the national spotlight, left Washington for her home state yesterday afternoon, her first trip back home since being named to the ticket. She and her husband boarded the plane after McCain and his wife escorted them to the aircraft.
The two are expected to begin appearing together again as early as next week, said a McCain adviser aboard Palin's flight. The election, against Democrat Barack Obama and his running mate Joe Biden, is November 4.
McCain and Palin traveling together limits her exposure to reporters and gives McCain's top aides more control of her. Palin has not done interviews after the first and only one she gave to People magazine on the day she was introduced as McCain's vice presidential choice.
Palin's plane made a brief refueling stop in Montana to finish the trip to Fairbanks. Palin is scheduled to make at least two public appearances in Alaska, including a homecoming rally scheduled in Wasilla, the town where she served as mayor before being elected governor.
She also is scheduled for an interview with ABC News, but no other interviews with reporters are scheduled, campaign officials said. The campaign repeatedly has denied other interview requests.
This is Palin's first venture away from McCain and his advisers, although several of the campaign's staff accompanied her to Alaska.