Sarah Palin on Tuesday urged South Carolina voters to support Newt Gingrich in their GOP presidential primary, offering the closest thing to an endorsement the former Alaska governor may come before this weekend's contest.
“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,” Palin said during a FOX News interview Tuesday night.
Her support for the former House speaker, however, was somewhat qualified. Palin said she believed it would be best for the primary campaign to continue, so as to continue to add scrutiny to candidates and forge their strength as an eventual nominee against President Obama.
“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,” Palin explained. “I want to see that taking place this time because America is on this precipice — it’s that important. We need this process to continue."
“We think its a pretty darn clear call to arms,” Gingrich campaign spokesman R.C. Hammond told NBC News shortly after Palin made these comments this evening.
If you consolidate the three conservative candidates, we clearly would have a huge margin over Romney, and the challenge for me is to convince conservatives to come home and have a single candidate on Saturday,” Gingrich told a crowd in Florence, S.C. today.
Palin offered words of flattery for Gingrich beyond her support this weekend, crowning him the winner of a Monday night debate. Her husband, Todd Palin, has formally endorsed Gingrich for president.
"Newt Gingrich is a true leader, which he has proven not only since the beginning of his campaign, but throughout his career,” Todd Palin said in a written statement sent out by the Gingrich campaign on Jan. 9.
Gingrich seems to be singing the same song as Ms. Palin, suggesting strongly that a Romney win in SC pretty much seals the deal:
Newt Gingrich came clean Tuesday afternoon, admitting that if he can't win this state's primary on Saturday, he probably can't win the Republican nomination at all.
"If I don't win the primary Saturday, we will probably nominate a moderate," the former House speaker said, referring to Mitt Romney. "And the odds are fairly high he will lose to Obama."
There's a part of me that thinks the longer this primary season goes on, the higher the odds that Obama wins in November.
I hope I'm wrong and that Ms. Palin is right.
For the sake of the country.