Prior to Governor Palin’s much anticipated speech at CPAC today, she sat down for a brief interview with CNN and the New York Times. She reiterated her preference for an extended nominating process so that the candidates can be vetted. She also called on Mitt Romney to explain his record to conservatives or face an enthusiasm gap if he’s the nominee. Here are a couple excerpts from her interview.
From Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times:
Sarah Palin said Saturday that Republicans should be in no hurry to wrap up the presidential nominating contest, declaring that a competitive campaign until the August convention in Tampa would not complicate the party’s efforts to defeat President Obama.
“People who start screaming that a brokered convention is the worst thing that could happen to the G.O.P., they have an agenda,” Ms. Palin said in an interview. “They have their own personal or political reasons, their own candidate who they would like to see protected away from a brokered convention.”
She added: “That’s part of competition, part of the process and it may happen.”
From CNN’s Peter Hamby:
Sarah Palin issued a warning to Mitt Romney Saturday, calling on the former Massachusetts governor to do a better job explaining his record to conservatives or risk dampening voter turnout in November if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.
In an interview with CNN and The New York Times before her speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, Palin said she was confused by Romney’s declaration here on Friday that he was a “severely conservative Republican.”
“I wasn’t quite sure what the word ‘severely’ meant,” Palin said.
She said Romney and his two main rivals – Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich – should be given time to explain the flaws in their record until the Republican National Convention in August, when she said the nomination fight could ultimately be decided.
But Romney may have the hardest sale to make, she said, asking him to explain his “shifts in ideology” since he left the Massachusetts governorship.
“You have to have the tea party patriots enthused and energized in order to win this nomination, and more importantly in order to defeat Barack Obama,” Palin argued.
Read the entire New York Times piece here and the CNN piece here. The Governor is delivering a barnburner to the CPAC faithful as I type this. We’ll get her speech up as soon as it becomes available.