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"who are they really running against?"
The GOP establishment are "cannibals" using "tactics of the left" to take down Newt Gingrich, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin charged Friday.
The former House Speaker has come under fire from many prominent conservatives in recent weeks, including some questioning his credentials as a true Ronald Reagan conservative.
"I am in favor of contested primaries and healthy, pointed debate," Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "They help focus candidates and the electorate. I have fought in tough and heated contested primaries myself. But what we have seen in Florida this week is beyond the pale."
Palin has not endorsed a candidate for president, though has recently stepped up her defense of Gingrich.
Recalling her own time on the national stage four years ago, Palin said she is "sadly too familiar with these tactics."
"The difference in 2008 was that I was largely unknown to the American public, so they had no way of differentiating between the lies and the truth," Palin said. "All of it came at them at once as 'facts' about me. But Newt Gingrich is known to us – both the good and the bad."
Palin went on to praise Gingrich, saying his relationship with Nancy Reagan and endorsement from son Michael Reagan -- "no two greater keepers of the Reagan legacy" -- should speak to Gingrich's record as a conservative.
"What we saw with this ridiculous opposition dump on Newt was nothing short of Stalin-esque rewriting of history. It was Alinsky tactics at their worst," she said.
Ultimately, Palin said, the clash isn't between Gingrich and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney: It's a fight between the Republican establishment and Tea Party and independent Americans who are "sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives."
"Now, I respect Governor Romney and his success," Palin said. "But there are serious concerns about his record and whether as a politician he consistently applied conservative principles and how this impacts the agenda moving forward. The questions need answers now. That is why this primary should not be rushed to an end. We need to vet this."
Palin also went on to question whether the GOP establishment would use the same tactics they're employing against Gingrich against Obama in the general election.
"They’re now using every available microscope and endoscope – along with rewriting history – in attempts to character assassinate anyone challenging their chosen one in their own party’s primary," Palin said. "So, one must ask, who are they really running against?"
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