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Palin Signs Deal to Join Fox News

WASHINGTON - Sarah Palin is going from politician to pundit.

The former GOP vice presidential nominee joined Fox News as a commentator Monday, giving her a cable news platform for a potential White House bid.

Under the multiyear deal, Palin will appear on a variety of Fox News shows, including its business network. She also will host occasional episodes of a new series that will spotlight the inspirational stories of people across the USA. No financial details of agreement were released.

Palin's first appearance will be tonight on The O'Reilly Factor.

The former Alaska governor, who was once a sportscaster in Anchorage, "has captivated everyone on both sides of the political spectrum, and we are excited to add her dynamic voice to the Fox News lineup," said Bill Shine, Fox News' executive vice president of programming.

"It's wonderful to be part of a place that so values fair and balanced news," Palin said in a statement. She did not respond to interview requests.

The move to Fox News marks the continuation of Palin's rise from losing national candidate in 2008 to "major cultural figure," said Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. "If you are going to be a cultural phenomenon, you need mass media exposure."

Palin recently wrapped up a national tour that helped propel her memoir, Going Rogue: An American Life, to the top of best-seller lists and has pledged an active role in November's congressional elections on behalf of conservative Republicans.

She remains a divisive figure, however. A December Gallup Poll found that 47 percent of those surveyed viewed Palin unfavorably, compared with 44 percent who had a favorable opinion. During an interview that aired Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes, Steve Schmidt, a top aide to Palin running mate John McCain, said there were "numerous instances" in which Palin "said things that were not accurate" during the campaign.

Punditry has proved a route for other politicians. Pat Buchanan was a syndicated columnist and TV-show regular before making his first bid for the Republican presidential nomination in 1992. Palin joins other well-known Republican figures on Fox, including 2008 presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.

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