(CNN) – Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele is defending Sarah Palin against recent attacks Monday, telling CNN that GOP detractors of the former vice presidential nominee need to "shut up."
"These Republican leaders who don't put their names in print but make comments in shadows need to shut up," Steele told American Morning's John Roberts Monday. "We're focused on winning elections tomorrow night. We're not focused on 2012."
Steele's comments were in reference to a Politico article out Monday in which a string of unnamed Republicans, feeling Palin could not be a viable presidential contender, said it will be the party's goal to prevent her from running in 2012.
Other establishment Republicans have also gone on the record to criticize the former Alaska governor – most recently Karl Rove, who last week said Palin lacks the gravitas to sit in the oval office.
But speaking on CNN Monday, Steele said he would be happy if she is the party's standard-bearer in 2012
"If she goes through the process and the Republican primary voters vote for her, absolutely I would be happy," said Steele. "Why wouldn't I be?"