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.
I remember a newspaper cartoon just before Richard Nixon resigned. It was a picture of a large Nixon with small words beside it that read "I AM NOT A CROOK." As the cartoon progressed and Nixons stature with the public diminished, the image got smaller while the words got bigger until at the end Nixon was very very small and the words screamed out at you.
This is Sarah Palin.
As she becomes more and more of a laughing stock her hystericle screaming gets ever louder. It's a sad commentary upon the intelligence of her ever diminishing power base, (Not that she ever had one.) The woman is irrelevant. Anybody who believes that the world is only four thousand years old belongs in a booby hatch. She can ask Dick Chaney for directions how to get there.
Pathetic.......I hope the DEM wins.
Bravo Palin! Dems, that's called guts... not just bending over for a "party". We need more people like Sarah Palin.
Imagine campaigner in chief obama doing that? never. he has no standards, and just wants power.
Typical of Palin. Not knowing anything about it, never stopped Palin from addressing the issue and making a fool of herself.
I'm pretty sure this hurts Hoffman. Getting an endorsement from a woman who's intelligence level is close to that of a porcupine isn't going to help.
Sarah has become the highest paid hooker ever, for the Corporate Fascists,selling their propaganda,like there is "no global warming","healthcare will make you ill" and "the earth is still flat".
I want to run for village idiot. How do I get Sarah Palin's endorsement?
I know very little about Doug Hoffman or Dede Scozzafava, but based on Palin's endorsement and the fact that the extremists say Scozzafava is not conservative enough, I can be reasonably sure that Scozzafava must be at least somewhat rational, able to think for herself, and aware of reality to some extent and that Hoffman is not. That's pretty much been the pattern with all the other cases where Republicans turned on one of their own for "not being conservative enough".
I just hope that there are enough rational people left to ensure that the radicals don't get enough power to destroy the country any more than they already have.
I can't stand that woman! Everytime I see her I want to throw up!! She's a shame for all women.
Just donated to Hoffman, he'll make a ton of money because of Sarah's endorsement :)
Who cares who she endorses and someone please tell me she would not be a serious candidate in 2012 .
sarah palin is an idiot.
Go Gov. Palin!!
Way to go Sarh, you are on the right track. Most americans are expecting a lot from you next year.
So Palin endorsed a Tea Party candidate instead of the Republican... Is she finally admitting republican candidates are BAD for America. How refreshing, nice to know not even the biggest republican would endorse a republican... lol
The "Quitter from Wasilla" is making endorsements??
Palin should be banned from public appearances. How does her opinion count for much of anything? Anyone who abandones their sworn-in public office seat mid term is clerly not committed enough to her state or country to be considered in a leadership position.
Wow. It's not that Republicans are too conservative, see? It's that they aren't conservative ENOUGH!
I thought being to the right of Atilla the Hun was conservative enough, apparently, you have to be far to the right of him...
For many of us, an endorsement from Palin indicates a toxic candidate.
Talking head, and an empty head at that.
The Republican Party is a "no brainer" as long as it continues to be held hostage by the likes of Sarah Palin and her group of misfits. I cannot even believe America has come to the point where an ideology driven fringe can demand so much attention.
What has Palin accomplished in life besides becoming a "cult of personality" to a deranged and frightened lot? God help us if we are ignorant enough to put her anywhere near The White House. (please do not forget George W and his vampire Cheney who's teeth drip blood every time he speaks while Bush touted his "Christian faith")
I know the left wingers will have a lot of negative comments about this article, however you need to know most americans love your attitude and charm. Good luck 1n 2010.
Who is Sarah Palin and why should we care who she supports or endorses for a congressional seat in New York?
Sarah Palin is a hero to those who believe in self-reliance (that means no welfare slackers), a strong defense, limited government, low taxes, and personal responsibility. Those that call her a quitter; I recall that Obama quit the Senate, quit Rev. Wright's church, quit being a lawyer for ACORN, quit defending our country, quit ALL is campaign promises about transparency and post-partisanship. Every night is a party at the White House. Date night on the tax-payers dime. A NYC flyover on Airforce One for his friends. His worldwide "Apology Tour." Turning his back on our allies. Now, sending out his THUGS to intimidate ALL his critics. Maybe CNN will allow one positive post for Palin.
This is silly.
"Calling it a matter of principle"-What could Palin possible comprehend about principle?
"Doug Hoffman stands for the principles that all Republicans should share..."-Don't tax the wealthy, don't feed the poor, don't protect the nation, don't have principles or values but say you do. Lie, cheat, steal, deny others their equal rights, these are the principles of the conservatives. These are the principles of the republicant party.
Independent voter here who listens, thinks, and decides...
Equality means equal...not less than.