On Tuesday night, Governor Palin appeared with Greta Van Susteren on Fox News and indicated she was supporting Orrin Hatch in the Utah Senate Primary. A short time later she issued a more formal endorsement of Senator Hatch. In endorsing Hatch, she joined an impressive and growing list of conservatives who are supporting the long-time conservative warrior including Mark Levin and others. In a piece at the National Review, Robert Costa takes a behind-the-scenes look at the endorsement:
The two people least surprised by Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Senator Orrin Hatch this week are Palin and Hatch. In the Twitter and Facebook era, they became political allies the old-fashioned way: through handwritten letters and personal phone calls.
It’s an unlikely, politics-fueled friendship that’s fit for a Robert Caro book. Hatch, a soft-spoken grandfather, is one of Palin’s top outside mentors. He encourages her and cheers her. They share family stories, they discuss history, and they talk about legislation.
“It’s true,” Palin tells National Review Online. “He’s a warrior.” She respects his record, especially his work on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Hatch has frequently been an influential figure during contentious Supreme Court confirmations.
Even though she is 30 years his junior, Palin has grown to appreciate Hatch’s historical perspective on Congress, the presidency, and the conservative movement. “I respect public servants who benefited from and grew under the tutelage of Ronald Reagan,” she says.
The warmth is mutual. “She and her husband are the handsomest couple that I’ve ever met,” Hatch says, smiling, as we chat in his spacious Senate office. “They’re both top-flight people and I got angry with the mainstream media constantly running her down.”
“She’s sharp as a tack,” Hatch says. “I like the way she defends herself and our conservative values.” When she was attacked in the press, he’d defend her in conversations with reporters, during talk-radio interviews, and on cable television.
Sources close to the Alaskan say Palin noticed Hatch’s consistent and vocal support. It drew them closer as friends and deepened their growing political ties. Palin didn’t mind having a Senate legend in her corner; Hatch liked having a tea-party star in his.
When Palin went on Fox News on Tuesday night to signal her support for Hatch ahead of the primary, it was a pleasant surprise to the senator, but not entirely unexpected.
Early Wednesday, the pair spoke on the phone. “I told her that I love her and her husband,” Hatch chuckles. “She said, ‘We love you, too,’ and that she’s here to help.”
Read Costa’s entire article here. I’ll add myself to the list of those not surprised by Governor Palin’s endorsement of Senator Hatch. He’s been a solid, reliable conservative since before I was old enough to pay attention to politics, and a passionate, tireless advocate of conservative causes such as the nomination of original intent Supreme Court justices and a balanced budget amendment as both Mark Levin and Governor Palin noted. Moreover, Governor Palin signaled her support for Senator Hatch in another interview with Greta Van Susteren last August so I’d have been surprised if she hadn’t endorsed him. The relevant part begins at about the 8:50 mark:
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(h/t Adrienne Ross)