Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) — who has been noted as a potential Tea Party target for 2012 — credited former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) for her endorsement record Wednesday, saying that as a result the GOP is "coming through" in spite of its internal struggles.
"There's a lot of antagonism right now between both [Senate] Democrats and Republicans," he said in an interview on the Fox Business Network. "And sometimes between Democrats and Democrats, and occasionally we have a little fight in the Republican party as well."
"But Sarah Palin has helped us all. She's endorsed a lot of people and we're coming through," he continued, prompting host Don Imus to raise an eyebrow.
The victories of Palin-backed Senate candidates like Joe Miller (R-Alaska) and Christine O'Donnell (R-Del.) in GOP primaries have contributed to a growing feud in the Republican party between its establishment players and those, like Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who support Tea Party outsiders.
Hatch himself maybe be vulnerable to a challenge from the right because of his vote for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) and his support for the construction of a controversial mosque near Ground Zero in Manhattan.
In GOP senate primaries, six of Palin's candidates have won and two have lost.
Of the 37 finished races in which she endorsed candidates, only 11 of her choices have lost.
"I just wish I could get her to endorse the Utah Jazz — I think we'd do a lot better in this upcoming NBA season," Hatch added.
"Spoke on Don Imus show this morning. My jokes were pretty funny, if I do say so myself," he tweeted later.
This post was updated at 11:20.