In a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News’ Hannity, Sarah Palin criticized Mitt Romney for his silence on the debt limit debate. Romney stayed conspicuously silent in a debate which was front-page fodder for days and the focus of a presidential prime time address followed by a Republican rebuttal delivered by the Speaker of the House. Despite the national attention on the debt limit, Romney only spoke in the 11th hour when he meekly declared his opposition to the deal reached by President Obama and Congressional Republicans.
“Bless his heart, I have respect for Mitt Romney, but I do not have respect for what he has done through this debt increase debate,” Palin told host Sean Hannity from her home in Wasilla, Alaska.
“He did this,” she said, making a motion with her finger in the air conveying silence. And added, “He waited until it was a done deal.”
Palin is not the only one to criticize Romney’s absence in the debate.
Earlier in July, Romney’s rival for the nomination, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, said, “The current debate is about what kind of leadership you’re going to show, “If you’re running for president, you’ve got to show how you would handle a situation like this.”
Fellow GOP contender Tim Pawlenty also weighed in. His campaign spokesperson Alex Conant said, “The debt ceiling is a gut-check time for all Republicans on spending and size of government. Apparently, Gov. Romney is still checking his gut to figure out where he should stand.”
Jon Huntsman, erstwhile Utah governor also in the run for the presidency, added his voice and said in reference to Romney,“to dodge the debate or to wait until the debate is over effectively and to take a side, I don’t consider that to be leadership.”
The Romney campaign characterized such criticism as unfair and noted that Romney had been a supporter of the “Cut, Cap and Balance Pledge” put forward by many Tea Party groups, an outlined plan in opposition to a debt ceiling raise unless spending cuts, caps on future spending, a super-majority requirement for future taxes and a balanced budge constitutional amendment are part of the deal.
At the time, a Romney spokesperson added that the campaign simply is not able to issue daily statements due to the behind-the-scenes nature of the negotiations. “The details of the negotiations are changing every half hour or so. We’re not privy to the inside information on what’s going on,” the aide said.
In the end, Palin praised Rep. Michele Bachmann, yet another Republican candidate, who voted No on the debt raise. “She spoke out and she cast her vote according to her principles,” Palin said.