Former Gov. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) sharply criticized the Republican Party “establishment” for using what she called a “Stalin-esque rewriting of history” to tar Newt Gingrich as he fights for the GOP presidential nomination.
Palin, the 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, posted a nearly 1,400-word statement on her Facebook page on Friday in which she accused Republican party elders of employing “tactics of the left” to derail the Gingrich campaign.
Palin has all but endorsed the Gingrich candidacy, saying before last week’s South Carolina primary that she would have voted for him if she had the chance. In her Facebook essay, she argued as she did in South Carolina that the GOP primary should go on so that each candidate, and particularly front-runner Mitt Romney, could be vetted by the public.
She did not call out Gingrich’s critics by name, but two of the most prominent in the last week have been Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who tapped Palin as his running mate four years ago, and Bob Dole, the party’s presidential nominee in 1996. Palin defended Gingrich, saying that while he is an “imperfect vessel for Tea Party support,” he “fought in the trenches during the Reagan revolution.”
In particular, she took on critics, including former members of the Reagan administration, who have accused Gingrich of standing against and undermining the 40th president, who is revered by conservatives.
Though she again stopped short of a full-throated endorsement of the former House Speaker, Palin made clear she has reservations about Romney, the former Massachusetts governor.
“Now, I respect Governor Romney and his success,” she wrote. “But there are serious concerns about his record and whether as a politician he consistently applied conservative principles and how this impacts the agenda moving forward. The questions need answers now. That is why this primary should not be rushed to an end. We need to vet this.”
Palin also complained that the same GOP “establishment” figures now criticizing Gingrich did not come to her aid in 2008 nor did they go after then-Sen. Barack Obama with the same fervor. Obama, she said, “escape[d] unvetted.”
“The challenge of this election is not simply to replace President Obama,” Palin wrote. “The real challenge is who and what we will replace him with. It’s not enough to just change up the uniform. If we don’t change the team and the game plan, we won’t save our country.”