(CNN) - A week after Sarah Palin asked Republican National Committee officials to remove her name from an invitation that suggested she might attend a series of GOP fundraising events, the former Alaska governor made clear she is a strong supporter of the organization's embattled chairman, Michael Steele.
"I support Michael Steele. I am glad he is the leader of the party, administratively," Palin told Fox News' Sean Hannity Wednesday. "If those within the party are choosing to go a different direction, his term is up in a number of months and they can vote someone else in. But I think he is doing a great job."
The comments come amid speculation Palin is seeking to distance herself from Steele and the RNC after news surfaced the organization expensed a night out a risqué Los Angeles nightclub for donors earlier this year and ran up large bills for luxury hotel stays and private jet travel.
But a Palin adviser told CNN that Palin's request to be removed from the invitation for the events - timed to coincide with this week's Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans - was simply because she never planned on attending the events in the first place. Palin is slated to speak Friday at the SRLC, a gathering of top Republican officials and an early cattle call for potential 2012 presidential candidates.
In her comments Wednesday, the former Republican vice presidential nominee also hailed Steele as an "outsider" who is trying to change the Republican Party.
"The machine is tough I think to penetrate," she said. "I think it's been good to have an independent outsider to create some change in the Republican Party. I support him."