Sarah Palin got some push-back Wednesday, but not from one of her liberal critics in the "mainstream" media. No, it was a conservative -- and influential -- New Hampshire newspaper that tartly dismissed the former Alaska governor's recent endorsement of U.S. Senate candidate Kelly Ayotte.
In a front-page editorial, New Hampshire Union Leader
Publisher Joseph W. McQuaid wrote that Palin's endorsement should "neither surprise nor upset the other campaigns" since voters in the state are "rarely impressed by what outsiders have to say."
Better pay attention: in a state that traditionally hosts the first presidential primary -- and will again in 2012 -- the Manchester newspaper wields considerable clout, particularly among Republican voters.
Palin, the 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate, "isn't making these endorsements because, as she claims, she had spent time in New Hampshire and thus knows that the people here are a lot like Alaskans. She spent a few hours here one day during the 2008 presidential election. That's still more time than she spent getting to know Ayotte, but it takes quite a lot longer to know New Hampshire," McQuaid said in the editorial. The publisher called Ayotte a formidable, legitimate contender in a four-person race for the GOP Senate nomination. But he advised other candidates: "Don't fret over what a 'Mama Grizzly' from Alaska does. Right now, Granite Staters have more to worry about in keeping bears away from bird feeders."
In a Facebook
posting, Palin praised Ayotte as a "Mama Grizzly" and said she was the "strongest common-sense conservative who can win in the fall."
Ayotte, the former New Hampshire attorney general, is well financed and the front-runner in polls
heading into the Sept. 14 Republican Senate primary. Rep. Paul Hodes (D-N.H.) is the likely Democratic nominee in a contest to succeed Sen. Judd Gregg, (R-N.H.), who chose not to seek a fourth term.