WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin and Tim Pawlenty, two Republicans widely viewed as possible 2012 White House hopefuls, weighed in Thursday night on the closely-watched special election in New York's 23rd congressional district. They chose very different approaches - but neither endorsed the GOP candidate.
Calling it a matter of principle, Palin - the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate - bucked her party and enthusiastically endorsed Conservative Party candidate Doug Hoffman over Republican Dede Scozzafava. The race has attracted national attention, especially from grassroots activists who accuse Scozzafava of not being conservative enough to run under the Republican party mantle.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty," the former Alaska governor wrote on her Facebook page. "Political parties must stand for something."
Palin then urged her supporters to donate to Hoffman, who she said "has not been anointed by any political machine."
Just minutes before she made the announcement, Pawlenty happened to be speaking to reporters in Washington after a fundraiser for his new political action committee. The Minnesota governor refused to make an endorsement when asked about the race.
"You know I haven't been following that, I haven't studied the race at all," he said. "It's not that I would or wouldn't, I just don't know anything about it. I haven't taken the time to study their positions, their records, so I haven't taken a position on it."
The Minnesota governor did venture to make a prediction in two other high-profile campaigns, the Virginia and New Jersey governor's races. Pawlenty predicted victory for Republicans, but quickly hedged on New Jersey.
"I think we're going to win them both," he said. "In New Jersey, I don't want to get ahead of ourselves. But it sure looks like Republicans are going to win in Virginia. New Jersey's going to be a closer call, but that's also a tougher state for Republicans. But if the election were held today I think we'd win them both."
Scozzafava and Hoffman are on the ballot along with Democrat Bill Owens. Election Day is November 3.
UPDATE: Another conservative who may have an interest in running for the GOP presidential nomination is weighing in on the race.
Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, said he supports Hoffman. Filling in as guest host Friday morning on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" national radio program, Santorum said "the Republican candidate has been in the process of disqualifying herself."
"You're not throwing your vote away on [Hoffman]," added Santorum.
"This is a race that we need to win," said Santorum, who added that even though he's never endorsed a third party candidate before, he thinks Hoffman is the best chance to win.
Santorum last month acknowledged his interest in a possible 2012 bid for the White House. His September trip to Iowa also raised eyebrows. While Santorum lost his 2006 re-election bid, he's still well regarded in Republican circles, especially among social conservatives.
Why is she still around? She makes no sense.
Go Palin... Go Palin... Go Palin... At last – someone ready to speak his/her mind... rather than play these political tap dancing games when asked their opinion. I don't care if you agree with her or not – you have to respect that she is at least a politician that takes a stand in what she believes in – most of Washington is too busy playing cr*p games.
Why??? This woman should not be allowed to offer her opinion on anything. When will the GOP wake up and realize that she is not a viable candidate for County Council let alone the presidency. There are plenty of people with common sense and real work ethic that deserve their opportunity ahead of this joke of a human being...and anyone that posts a comment that contains "and you GO Sarah!!!" is someone that clearly should not be allowed to vote or has no real knowledge of this ladies credentials. I would vote for Dick "Halliburton" Cheney over Mrs. Palin in any election...regardless of the fact that he may be one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
With Sarah Palin endorsing him, I am sure Doug Hoffman wishes she would just go away. I don't blame him. All that glitters ain't gold and she sure as hell ain't gold. "Fools Gold" maybe but not gold.
Does it rally matter who palin gives an endorsment to? If I were running I would say thanks but no thanks (that is for a palin endorsment).
Who cares what Sarah Palin thinks. She is an unemployed Mom who thinks she is relevant.
Where are the $150k in designer clothes that Sarah Palin said she would donate to charity??
Is there really a human being in the US who believes that the vapid Palin has a chance at being the president? I sincerely hope she runs, it will absolutely make Obama's next win a no-brainer (given that he'd be running against Palin, who has no brain).
Who cares what Palin does or what Palin says!?!? This woman could not say anything intellectual. The only time i would want to know about Palin is when she has done something stupid again. Yeah, make her a candidate for 2012...we surely need the big laughs again...HA, HA, HA, HA (and again), HA, HA, HA, HA...
Whether one likes Sraha Palin or not, I find it interesting that she provokes many to respond her presence. I read very nasty emails about her mostly giving her personal comments. This is a bit disturbing for me. Why people attack her personally instead of reacting to her on issues. What are the things that are attached to her? I am sure it would then bring a package of "gain and lose" at the same time for these candidates.
Now you all know who NOT to vote for.
Palin is a joke. She is a guaranteed win for the democratic opponent in 2012 – should she run. Too bad she can't take an honest assessment of her skills, maybe she wouldn't so much bad press that she is always complaining about.
Palin shows she is a leader and a spokesperson for a certain philosophy and way of governance. Her endorsement is one in a series of actions and gestures that bespeaks of a Sarah Palin brand of political thought in the country leading up to 2010 and beyond. Go Sarah!
Sarah? You still out there? I thought you were writing a book. Oh! You don't know how to write, I forgot.
You can put lipstick on a pig and she'll still be Sarah Palin. Pig, hog, swine. They all fit this hate-mongering wack-job. I hope she DOES run for president; she's already proven just how stupid she really is. Do you think she'd really have a chance in a debate with Obama? Get real.
Shouldn't she be home taking care of Trig?
I endorse Mrs. Palin 100 %. I hope she wins the election. Which ever one she is running for..Run! Sarah, Run!
Only an idiot would vote for uhbumbala again. Palin 2012.
RNC has outlived it's usefulness and is now in the way of true conservatism.
RNC has too long taken it's constituents for granted.
Here is plainly demonstrated that the GOP, RNC and RNCC DO NOT call the shots.
It is rather...We, the people!
A Palin endorsement – was it written in crayon? Sounds like a sure ticket to defeat!
Go, go, gal!
Sarah! Sarah! Sarah! Just like the swine flu, it keeps coming back...
I didn't not know you could read or write. That is so patriotic...
tats goona go well, your a quiter. As formal Frogmen i can never listen to you.
Palin continues to marginalize her political future-