Former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s bid to be the conservative alternative to Mitt Romney in the GOP race received a huge boost last night on the Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity show when saying, that she’d vote for Newt Gingrich in the South Carolina primary in order “to keep this thing going.” The former Alaska governor’s latest wink and nod at the former House speaker comes just weeks after her husband Todd Palin openly endorsed the former speaker.
Palin said, “Newt came out just like South Carolina’s own Smokin’ Joe Frazier. He came out there swinging’, talking about work, talking about jobs and work ethic, and how government needs to get out of the way in order for all Americans to have a sense of opportunity to work. And I think that’s what a lot of voters have been craving to hear,” she said.
Palin said she was happy to see the remaining GOP candidates continue to mix it up in the televised forums. “Because iron sharpens iron. Steel sharpens steel. These guys are getting better in their debates. They’re getting more concise. They’re getting more grounded in what their beliefs are and articulating what their ideas are to get the country back on the right track.”
She praised all of the candidates’ performances Monday although didn’t mention Ron Paul or Mitt Romney by name expressly when commenting on Monday’s South Carolina debate.
When asked if she was ready to make a public endorsement, Palin said she would only say what she would do if she were a South Carolina voter.
“I’d vote for Newt and I would want this to continue, more debates, more vetting of candidates. Because we know the mistake made in our country four years ago was having a candidate that was not vetted to the degree that he should have been,” she said.
Palin, the GOP vice presidential nominee in 2008, was referring to President Obama, who took part in well over a dozen candidate debates, including a handful one-on-one against Hillary Clinton.
Fox News host Sean Hannity then asked Ms. Palin to assess the popular notion that Mr. Gingrich and the other remaining candidates are battling to attract conservative Republicans against the front running candidate Mitt Romney.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate called Mr. Romney the “more moderate” candidate and was critical of the media for popularizing the notion that it is “inevitable” that Mr. Romney will eventually win the Republican nomination in 2012.
Speaker Gingrich who now has become involved in a back and forth with White House Spokesman Jay Carney over his “Food Stamp President” comments on Monday will no doubt openly embrace such a vote of support ahead of this Saturday’s South Carolina GOP primary.
It is widely accepted that Palin and Gingrich are outside the Republican Party establishment circle due to their support of the Tea-Party movement and more conservative stances.
Gingrich’s performance on Monday, which has drawn widespread acclaim from far and wide, appears to have worried Team Romney who today released two new negative web videos, unleashed attacking surrogates and even went after the former House speaker himself.
A Team Romney source said on Wednesday that the attacks on Gingrich are coming because he is “the one left who can go the longest.” The truth is, if Mitt Romney can’t win over the GOP support in person or through the live debates, one has to worry how he would perform in a general election campaign trail when even the slightest mis-step could have dire consequences for any potential nominee.
The huge war-chest and most negative of ads in the campaign may win him the primary however, the question everyone has to ask is, will Romney be able to take on President Obama head to head on the campaign trail, and win over independent voters. One must have serious reservations when Romney has no script or safe interview environment to protect him.
Responding to Romney’s attack ads, an independent group allied with Gingrich released its own Internet ad, showing computer-animated Obama annihilating his Romney counterpart in a debate by detailing some of his position changes on issues dear to conservatives.
“I agreed with Governor Romney on many things, but this presidential candidate Romney? I don’t even know the guy,” the mock Obama says. “Then again, he doesn’t seem to know himself.”
Thursday night will see a crucial CNN debate take place which could very well swing the outcome of Saturday’s decisive primary race.