Sarah Palin speaks during the Republican Party of Florida's fundraising… (Roberto Gonzalez / Getty…)
Sarah Palin -- remember her? -- says she won't make an endorsement in the GOP race just yet. But it sounds like there's one candidate who could earn her support: Newt Gingrich.
The former Alaska governor, who waited until October to announce she would not be a candidate in the 2012 race, told Fox Business Network that Gingrich has "been a bit more successful" than Mitt Romney in courting party activists.
"He has been engaged in that movement most recently in order for them to hear his solutions and there's been some forgiveness then on the part of Tea Party Patriots for some of the things in Gingrich's past," she said, according to an advanced transcript of the interview provided by the network. "Romney and others need to reach out and convince Tea Party Patriots and constitutional conservatives that he truly believes in smaller, smarter government."
Gingrich, she acknowledged, can't sell himself as an outsider. But she said that during his time in Washington "some of the things he's done have been good."
"He helped balance the budget under Bill Clinton. That is what we need today," she said.
Scott Conroy of Real Clear Politics reported last month that Gingrich appeared to be best-positioned to win Palin's support, according to close advisors.
"They speak very favorably of Newt and what they see as his credentials as compared to [Rick] Perry and Romney," one member of her "inner circle" told the website.
As for an endorsement, she said that the Iowa caucuses are just "the beginning of the road" toward the GOP nomination. She also criticized Romney for not agreeing to participate in a Newsmax debate moderated by Donald Trump.
"We can't just be preaching to the choir," she said. "Trump is going to attract people who haven't been just necessarily conservative, right-wing listeners and viewers of media. I think Romney could and should still change his mind and Huntsman too and jump in there and participate."