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.
She's still a Presidential hopeful? Based on how people 'attack' Obama for not being experienced, what experience does she have? Palin and Community College background should stay in Alaska.
Ugh. This guy must be desperate. Let's face it, she couldn't even complete her own term as governor. Who wants to be endorsed by a quitter? Is that really someone who's opinion we value?
Didn't Palin resign as governor so she could get on one of government Healthcare's new 'death panels'?
Who cares who Palin endorses? Is that an endorsement meaning "I'm confident this person will serve 2 years and quit"?
with sarah's endorsement hoffman is toast!!! you go girl, lmao
Come on CNN. "Gross Exaggeration" is a better term. Not many people in upstate New York care for "Caribou Barbie" and, besides, she couldn't find the district on a map, if you circled it for her.
I wanna vote for whoever a complete idiot tells me I should vote for! That's good strategy!
I'd think an endorsement from Palin would be like a curse at this point. She's shown nothing but poor judgement and corruption, so knowing she likes someone is cause to be wary of them.
I have to give her some credit for not just blindly supporting the Republican candidate.
Does she really think she can "endorse" anyone? LOL!!! You have to have some credibility and a base that would follow. Winning a beauty pageant and needing 6 YEARS to complete COMMUNITY COLLEGE doesn't sway my vote. LOL!!!!
LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!! LOL!!!
How is being endorsed by a quitter, a good thing?... stop giving her the time of day!
Its incredibly sad to see this woman desperately try to stay relevant. I find it hard to believe any new yorker would care what this woman has to say.
Pawlenty needs to get back to MN and fix the mess he got our state into.
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty,"
So that means he stands against everything palin and cheney stand for which makes this an odd endorsement indeed.
They stand for Individual Liberty as long as you are not Muslim, Jew, Gay, etc, etc....
And Sarah Palin should know.
She was not anointed by any political machine in Alaska.
The RINOs hated her.
Sarah Palin was anointed by the People in Alaska.
And in time the People of our Great Country will anoint her as POTUS.
You heard it here first.
Ah, another "Republican" tries to purify the party by supporting a non-Republican candidate. Boy, what a winning strategy to make the GOP a contender again. I imagine the party leadership will remember this (among other insulting slights from Ms Beehive Palin) when 2012 comes around.
She must be endorsing a "real" American.
Gee. Sarah and others did not say much during the Bush-Cheney era about "....Republicans should share: smaller government, lower taxes, strong national defense, and a commitment to individual liberty". We had none of those things when Republicans were running the show!
Who cares which candidate Sarah Palin endorses. She is trying so hard to be in the limelight. Just remember how she did the people in Alaska. How can she endorse anyone?
Brovo Sarah! It's time to vote for conversative principles. Doesn'rt matter if Repub or Dem. Those shady characters parading around as Repubs will find out the hard way. We the conservatives have had it with the Olympia Snowes, Lindsey Grahams and McCain wanna be's in the Repub party.
Because a bimbo from Alaska who quit her own job knows EXACTLY what the people of New York need.
Yes, Republicans stand for personal liberty. Unless you don't fit their 1950s era cookie-cutter mad-for-TV image about what that means. In that case, you're a sinner and don't deserve human rights.
Oh yeah, Lets sit back and watch the conservatives continue to ruin the Republican party. Lets nominate Palin/Joe the Plumber in 012!
When are the politicians & the media going to learn "It's not about the parties" It's about govenment corruption. Sarah Palin gets it! I don't agree with Palin on all issues but would vote for her because she's not corrupted, she tells it like it is, that's why both parties need to destroy her. The last thing either party wants is a corruption watch dog in Washington.
Thank you Sister Sarah!!! Now that the Democrat will win for sure :), you SP crazies will see how much we should be scared of her. LOL!