(CNN) – Carly Fiorina, the Republican Senate candidate in California gifted Sarah Palin a high compliment on Monday.
"I certainly think she's qualified to be president of the United States," Fiorina said in an interview on CNN's The Situation Room.
But when the former Alaska governor, who endorsed Fiorina in the primary race, visits California Saturday with Michael Steele, Fiorina won't be in attendance. Instead, she said, she will be campaigning with Republican Sen. John McCain at an event for veterans.
"Sarah Palin is here to endorse her book I believe and to raise money," Fiorina told CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer. "I am here running for office so we're all busy."
Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, wouldn't say if she considers herself a member of the Tea Party movement.
"I see myself as a candidate running for public office for the very first time," Fiorina said. "I see myself as serving the voters of California."
During the 2008 presidential election, when Fiorina was an economic adviser McCain's presidential campaign, she said Palin didn't have the experience to run a major cooperation. And in subsequent interviews said John McCain, Barack Obama and Joe Biden didn't either.
Fiorina is in a tough race against three-term incumbent Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer. In the latest CNN/Time/Opinion Research Poll of likely voters, 52 percent of respondents said they would back Boxer and 43 percent said they would back Fiorina. The survey had a sampling error of 2.5 percentage points.