Sarah Palin again stopped short Monday of endorsing new front-runner Newt Gingrich but did say voters should choose who they believe can recover the American exceptionalism defined by former President Ronald Reagan. Palin also told Fox News’ Sean Hannity that Mitt Romney’s new strategy of going negative on Gingrich could backfire and he should instead concentrate on reaching out to the tea party, which she said helped Gingrich in South Carolina.
“My advice to Florida voters would be to ask themselves which candidate is able to recapture that American exceptionalism that we all benefited from under Ronald Reagan — who wants to go back to those days of success under Ronald Reagan, and who supported and was shaped by Ronald Reagan’s economic policies, and who isn’t,” said Palin, who before Gingrich’s runaway victory in the South Carolina primary said she would have picked him in that contest.
“Remember under Ronald Reagan— he was able to enact fiscal policies that really invigorated growth and reinvestment in domestic markets — and he decreased federal spending, decreased unemployment numbers and tax rates, and inflation. So, who is it who wants to recapture that?” Palin asked. “I would ask though that voters pay close attention to that experience that one would have as a candidate having served in official capacities in the past. What shaped them?
“We know what shaped Barack Obama — that’s you know, Bill Ayers, Jeremiah Wright, I think Saul Alinsky and others throughout history who had more socialist ideas, big centralized government ideas that Barack Obama now [shoves] down our throat,” she continued. “We know what shaped him. Now, on the GOP side, who and what shaped our candidates — cast your vote according to what that shaping was.”
Palin told Hannity that despite her call for South Carolina voters to cast their lots with Gingrich, she believes the vetting of candidates should continue — although she did acknowledge that she would at some point make a formal endorsement.
The Fox contributor also said that Romney’s new tack of consistently jabbing at Gingrich could backfire.
“Of course, it has a chance of backfiring — but, you know, in this very tumultuous and rough and tumble contested primary, every candidate should expect those tough shots thrown their way — and you know, I don’t like the negativity — a lot of people don’t,” Palin said. “Everybody is going to have to face . . . I do wish, though, that our candidates would remain focused on the main thing — and that is, of course, defeating Obama and understanding that the underemployment rate is nearly 20 percent.
“The increase in energy prices, the closer we get to inflation and all the negative things going on in our nation right now are I believe, mostly cost by this continuation of Barack Obama’s failed policies,” she said. “Let’s focus on that and let’s talk positively about what it is that each candidate can bring to the table in terms of solutions.”
Palin also said if she had any advice for Romney it would be to reach out to the tea party.
“The latest primary in South Carolina, there were a lot of independent tea party patriots who were reached by Newt Gingrich then who won in South Carolina — Mitt Romney . . . a little bit of advice for what it’s worth at him . . . reach out to those tea party independent patriots out there who know that we are taxed enough already and know that government has got to get off their back in order for the private sector to grow and drive and prosper,” she said.
“Well, Mitt Romney needs to more effectively reach out to these independents and not just assume that the media is going to carry his water and the GOP machine, that the establishment’s going to carry his water, and tell us who it is that we should vote for,” she added. “No, we’re much more independent than that — we’ll do our own homework and we do expect though a candidate to give some credence to that tea party movement that was so instrumental I believe in the South Carolina victory for Newt Gingrich.”
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