Palin “Endorses” Newt, Would Vote for Him in South Carolina

Politics   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 18, 2012   |   12:13PM   |   Washington, DC

The political word has been waiting with bated breath concerning whether former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin would either run for president or endorse one of the other Republican candidates.

Palin chose not to seek the GOP nomination in the race to replace pro-abortion President Barack Obama. When her husband Todd Palin recently came out with an endorsement for former Speaker Newt Gingrich, many political observers wondered if that portended anything regarding her own endorsement.

While she has not formally endorsed him, Sarah Palin told Fox News last night that, if she lived in South Carolina, she would vote for Gingrich in Saturday’s primary election.

“I would vote for Newt” in the state’s primary, she said. However, Palin hedged her praise by saying she was supporting Newt only to extend the Republican primary election so voters have a chance to weigh more than one candidate. Following his victories in Iowa and New Hampshire and leads in South Carolina and Florida, some voters believe Mitt Romney has the election wrapped up and is the likely nominee.

“I want to see this thing continue because iron sharpens iron, steel sharpens steel,” Palin said, adding that she wants a longer race because it will mean more debates and more vetting of candidates — something that didn’t happen with Barack Obama.

“If I were a South Carolinian, though — and each one of these primaries and caucuses are different, Sean — I want to see this thing continue, because iron sharpens iron,” she said. “If I had to vote in South Carolina, in order to keep this thing going, I’d vote for Newt, and I would want this to continue — more debates, more vetting of candidates.”

Although Palin did not issue an endorsement, the Gingrich campaign is already playing up her comments — posting them on YouTube and promoting them throughout the Internet.

“We’re thrilled – I just talked to Todd and we’re just thrilled,” Gingrich told Politico. “It’s a signal to every conservative that the one conservative vote that’s effective is to Newt Gingrich and that’s very helpful.”

Palin’s expression of support, Gingrich said, is part of a rush of support he believes will power him to victory on Saturday – and from there, into the candidate who will beat Mitt Romney to the GOP nomination, the news web site added.

“Lots of different things are working together to help us,” Gingrich said.