What's ahead for Gov. Palin? Seven challenges

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- For two months she basked -- and sizzled -- in the world's hottest celebrity spotlight. Now Sarah Palin has come home to begin the last two years of her term as governor of Alaska.

Everything has changed: Palin's personal horizon, her relations with the state's other elected officials, the public's sense of who she is.

Palin returned to her office Friday amid a brutal crossfire between detractors and defenders in the McCain camp. At the same time, however, a new national poll said 64 percent of Republicans consider her their top choice to run for president in 2012.

Does Palin really want to run for president in four years? And if she does, would it be best to find a way to the U.S. Senate, where she could acquire some of the big-time political and foreign-policy luster lacking in her first national campaign?

Or should she run again for governor in 2010, maintaining her "Washington-outsider" status by taking what one Republican strategist calls "the Hillary Clinton model," rolling up her sleeves and re-establishing herself as a local hero?

So many questions, so many strategic choices, so many complications that didn't exist a few short months ago.

What will all this mean to Alaska?

Time to take a deep breath and consider some of the key challenges that lie ahead for Sarah Palin.

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