Palin says she has no respect for Romney's debt-ceiling stance

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) joined the attacks against Mitt Romney's handling of the debt-ceiling debate, saying she has no respect for how the GOP presidential front-runner handled the issue.

Palin, the Republican rock star who's still evaluating whether to wage her own bid for the presidency, joined in the chorus of criticism of Romney.

The 2008 vice presidential nominee accused Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, of sticking his finger in the wind to gauge the political currents before deciding to oppose the debt-ceiling deal that ultimately passed Congress with bipartisan support.

"Bless his heart, I have respect for Mitt Romney, but I do not have respect for what he has done during this debt-increase debate," Palin said on Fox News.

"He waited until it was a done deal, that we would increase the debt ceiling ... and then he came out and made a statement that he didn't like the deal after all," she said. "You can't defer an issue and assume the problem is then going to be avoided. Mitt Romney and other candidates, you need to get out there, you need to tell the electorate what you really feel about these issues."

That's a clear shot across the bow by Palin toward Romney, and could provide a glimpse of how Palin will go after the campaign's putative front-runner if she decides to make a late entry into the field.

Her line of criticism echoes other Republican candidates' complaints regarding Romney during the debt-ceiling debate. Romney's refusal to weigh in specifically during the debt-ceiling debate, his opponents charge, was a dereliction, and his eventual decision to oppose the deal came after the politics of the issue had ultimately settled. Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman (R) and former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) have been most vocal about questioning Romney's handling of the issue.

Palin singled out Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), a likeminded conservative linked to the Tea Party movement, for taking a strong stance in the debate (Bachmann opposed raising the debt limit), but Palin said she wasn't "prejudging the field."

As for Palin, she said she still hadn't made any decision about her own political future.

"Getting closer to making the decision, of course, for legal reasons, for practical reasons," she said. "Still haven't made up my mind yet. But doggone it, I want these candidates who are in there, I want them not to be sitting back."

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