Palin’s “One Nation Tour” is stirring speculation that she will enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination, in which she and Bachmann would compete for much the same constituency.

The U.S. is at a “critical turning point,” Palin, 47, said in a statement on her political action committee’s website, and her aim is to help Americans to “connect with our founders, our patriots, our challenges and victories to clearly see our way forward.”

“I think she is trying to make a preemptive strike to maybe convince Bachmann not to run,” said Dianne Bystrom, director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics at Iowa State University in Ames.

Bystrom said that if both women were to run in Iowa, neither would win the caucuses because they would split the vote of Tea Party activists and social conservatives.

“The more it is split by potential candidates, it would probably mean that neither of them would win the caucuses,” she said.

Bachmann had been scheduled to appear in Des Moines before she was delayed by the House vote to extend expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act. She has said that she will make her presidential intentions known in June.

Via speakerphone, Bachmann told reporters in Iowa last night that she wasn’t concerned that her supporters overlap with those of Palin’s.

“Our decision is unique, and we are independent of what any other candidates decide,” she said. “I consider Governor Palin a friend and I have great respect for Governor Palin. But again, I don’t believe any two candidates are interchangeable.”

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