Jonathan Ernst / Reuters
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin speaks to the American Conservative Union's annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) Saturday in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON -- Sarah Palin argued Saturday that a long, competitive battle between the remaining GOP presidential candidates would lead to a Republican victory in November.
“In America we believe that competition strengthens us. Competition elevates our name,” Palin told the crowd as the closing speaker at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “Competition will lead us to victory in 2012. We must stay true to our principles. I believe that the competition has gotta keep going but let's make sure this competition brings out the best in our party.”
Palin did not make an endorsement of any particular candidate during her speech but did tell NBC News afterward, she “would endorse whomever it is who is elevated to the top by this process.”
A brokered convention, Palin said, wouldn’t necessarily be bad.
“We are going to see how this process evolves and if it if ends up as a brokered convention at the end of the day, well that would be a really exciting time for all,” she said just before departing the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.
The former Alaska governor, who flirted with a presidential bid this year herself, spent a big chunk of her speech criticizing President Barack Obama.
"Mr. President, we don't want an economy built to last. We want an economy built to grow," she told the overflowing crowd. “We certainly don’t want your economy built to last, we want your administration to end.”
Palin also picked back up on the populist tone of her speeches from last summer, speaking about the need to rid the government of “crony capitalism.” She said many people who come to Washington calling it a "cesspool" get all too comfortable there in the "hot tub."
"It is time that we drain the Jacuzzi and we throw the bums out with the bathwater," the former governor said, drawing loud applause from the audience.
Palin spoke at CPAC directly after the results of the organization’s straw poll were announced.
Mitt Romney won with 38%. Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum all spoke at CPAC Friday.
The former governor said the nominee must “be ready, strong, fortified, passionate, a fighter for American ideals,” but most importantly, people need to rally around him to beat Obama.
“Whoever our nominee is, we must work together to get him over the finish line so we can start tackling this defense of our Republic,” she said.