By Beth Fouhy and Frank Eltman
Sarah Palin is still thinking about running for president in 2012, and she said there should be no new gun-control measures enacted because of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting.
She stood firm in her claim that President Barack Obama's health care reform effort could lead to "death panels." And she poked at first lady Michelle Obama for urging new mothers to breast feed.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate and Alaska's ex-governor sat for a wide-ranging interview Thursday at the annual meeting of the Long Island Association, a business group outside New York.
Palin agreed to an unscripted question- and-answer session with the association's president, Kevin Law.
Law asked Palin whether she would support efforts to restrict semiautomatic weapons or multi-bullet clips.
"There are already on the books many gun-control measures and I do support those that are on the books. I do not support taking away more freedom from the good guy," Palin said.
Palin said she was still thinking about running for president in 2012.
"No one is more qualified, really to multitasking and the things you need to do as president than a woman, a mom," said Palin, who has five children, including a toddler with Down syndrome.
Palin criticized Obama on a range of issues, from his handling of the uprising in Egypt to his latest budget proposal, which she said would do little to close the deficit.
She also praised the Tea Party movement, saying it had "forced both parties to rethink the way they do business."
Palin said the health care bill Obama signed into law last year gave her heartburn. She also defended her much-criticized claim that the law would lead to "death panels" determining who would receive care.
She said: "My question was, who are these faceless bureaucrats on a panel who will decide? Will it be my baby with Down syndrome, who maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have? So maybe if rationed care is part of this, maybe he wouldn't receive the care."
Palin noted recent increases in the price of food and mocked Michelle Obama to make her point. The first lady is encouraging mothers to breast feed their infants as part of her campaign to reduce childhood obesity.
"No wonder Michelle Obama is telling everybody you better breast feed your babies," Palin said. "I'm looking and say, 'Yeah, you better because the price of milk is so high right now.' "