Former vice presidential candidate and Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin would prove "formidable" in a 2016 run for president, Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol predicted Thursday.
"She's a huge political talent. She has a real populist streak, and a real feel for, sort of, middle America in a way that very few politicians do," Kristol told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"The truth is, she might be kind of formidable," he added.
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Her biggest obstacle, Kristol maintained, would be explaining why she stepped down as Alaska's governor before serving her entire term.
Kristol advised the next Republican nominee to "spend some time talking to her," because she "has a feel for what people out there care about, and a way to formulate things, and she should be part of the conversation."
Kristol revealed a list of his nine top possible Republicans who could vie for the nation's top office. In light of New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie's troubles over the "bridge-gate" scandal, Kristol predicted the Republican establishment would instead rally behind former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
"Jeb Bush will be the establishment candidate," Kristol said. "I think [Chris] Christie's in trouble. I think Jeb is much more likely to run than people have thought. And he will have formidable establishment support."
Kristol named Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana, who he said was "underrated," and Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin as sitting governors who could be contenders.
Two senators made Kristol's list — Ted Cruz of Texas and Kentucky's Rand Paul. He said both "have some real messages and real support" and called each "underrated."
Former presidential candidate and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made the list. He described him as "underrated in Washington" and an "awfully talented candidate."
Kristol also named former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton as a possible candidate. He called him "hawkish on the stage" and described him as believing "strongly that foreign policy issues need to be litigated."
The final name on the list was jokingly reserved for the show's host, former Florida Rep. Joe Scarborough, because Kristol said he had "a real following out there."
Mr. Scarborough laughed that off, saying he could be "a debate moderator... I love it."
In addition, Kristol maintained Sens. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida would both "be formidable if they ran."
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