Flirting with a kingmaker role, Sarah Palin bashed Mitt Romney and praised Michele Bachmann in an interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night.
“Bless his heart, I have respect for Mitt Romney, but I do not have respect for what he has done through this debt increase debate,” she said. “He waited until it was a done deal that we would increase the debt ceiling and more money would be spent, more money would be borrowed and spent on bigger government, and then he came out and made a statement that he didn’t like the deal after all. You can’t defer an issue and assume that the problem is then going to be avoided.”
Her words echoed similar attacks from Romney rival Jon Huntsman as well as Democratic strategists like Priorities USA’s Bill Burton. Like Huntsman, she praised Bachmann for taking an early position on the debt ceiling (she was a firm “no” on any increase from the start).
“She spoke out and she cast her vote according to her principles, she stood true,” she said.
Palin has shown little indication she’ll enter the race, though she said in the interview she hasn’t made up her mind yet. But her direct attack on Romney suggests that she might play a significant role from the outside. It’s unclear if she still has the same influence she used to, however, even with her famously loyal base of followers. A heavily promoted pro-Palin film, Undefeated, proved a box office disaster this month even as Palin lent it her personal seal of approval.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.