Hatch cozies up to Palin in preparation for primary fight

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) boasted on Friday of some kind words from former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), part of the Utah senator's effort to shore up conservative support ahead of a possible primary challenge.

Hatch's campaign trumpeted Palin's words last night on Fox News in encouragement of the veteran senator's pursuit of a balanced-budget amendment.

"So people like Orrin Hatch, who now especially — he's rising up with quite aggressive talk about the balanced-budget amendment and other things that he has seen for all these years need to be done," Palin said Thursday on Fox. "We need to be agreeing and embracing his idea and working with him to make sure that that happens, instead of shooing him away and shooing him out of a Tea Party movement, if you will, when he agrees with such a basic fundamental principle that we must see implemented, and that's just simply balancing the doggone federal budget!"

To be clear: Palin did not endorse Hatch, who is seen as likely to face a primary challenge from his right by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah). But the words are being filed away by the Hatch campaign, which has worked diligently to win endorsements from conservative pundits and bloggers in order to help fend off the challenge.

"I am grateful for the support of Sarah Palin as I continue to lead this fight," Hatch said. "Mrs. Palin is highly respected by Utahns and the national conservative movement and I appreciate her influence to create a united front in confronting the issue of our national debt."