Sarah Palin Votes For, Endorses Newt Gingrich; Takes Shot at Mitt Romney

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Former Alaska governor and 2008 Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin threw her weight behind Newt Gingrich as Republican presidential nominee Tuesday.

At the same time, she coyly left open the door for her own White House run.

The GOP firebrand said she voted for Newt in the caucus/primary in Alaska, one of 10 states to cast ballots yesterday (see THG's full Super Tuesday results).

"I will tell you who I voted for... the cheerful one, it's Newt Gingrich," Palin said, referring to the one-word description Newt gave himself in a recent date.

"I have appreciated what he has stood for, stood boldly for," she said. "He has been the underdog in many of these primary races and these caucuses."

"I've respected what he has stood for."

She spoke as as longtime frontrunner Mitt Romney tightened his grip on the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, but failed to deliver a knockout blow.

Romney won six states, including Alaska, with a whole 33 percent of the vote, while Rick Santorum won three and Gingrich cruised in his native Georgia.

That win gives Newt an outside chance of rebooting his bid if he can gain some momentum in a clutch of upcoming battles in the conservative Deep South.

It also keeps alive the possibility that while Gingrich, Santorum and Ron Paul may not win the nomination themselves, they could collectively deny Romney.

With 1,144 delegates needed for the nomination, Romney 332 delegates to Santorum’s 139, Gingrich's 73 and Paul's 35, according to the New York Times.

A resurgent Gingrich could further dent Mitt's chances of claiming a majority of delegates - a plurality, or simply earning the most, won't do it - this spring.

Palin conceded that the race lacks excitement, but predicted it would heat up once Republicans choose a nominee, and launched a swipe at Romney.

"It has been slow going, but there will be that zip-a-dee-doo-dah after the nominee is chosen. I guarantee there will be that enthusiasm," she said.

"But to be brutally honest, with all due respect to governor Romney, who is obviously the frontrunner, he's not garnering a lot of that enthusiasm right now."

That may be the understatement of all time.

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Sarah Palin Biography

Sarah Palin College Photo
Sarah Palin is the former Governor of Alaska, and was the 2008 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States, running on... More »
Sandpoint, Idaho
Full Name
Sarah Louise Heath Palin

Sarah Palin Quotes

What I've had to do, though, is in the middle of the night, put down the Blackberries and pick up the breast pump. Do a couple of things different and still get it all done.

Sarah Palin

I am thankful to be married to a man who loves being a dad as much as I love being a mom so he is my strength. And practically speaking, we have a great network of help with lots of grandparents and aunties and uncles all around us. We have a lot of help.

Sarah Palin