As I told my newsroom colleagues when I got the Sarah Palin endorsement of Rand Paul confirmed on Monday morning, this will make national headines.
My analysis explains how the endorsement highlights a GOP divide. The two members of the McCain-Palin ticket have contributed to different candidates in Kentucky's GOP Senate primary.
A sampling of national political reaction to the Palin endorsement:
CBS News' Charles Cooper says because Palin and Paul have very different foreign policy views, (My interview with Rand and Ron Paul Saturday focused on foreign policy), Palin's endorsement shows she is a "Big Tent" Republican:
Another point of departure from Palin's foreign policy positions: Paul rejects the notion that fighting "them" over there relieves us from fighting terrorists on U.S. soil. He also questions the notion that U.S. policy in the Middle East is killing more terrorists than it creates.
And then this leftist, um, libertarian-Republican questions the bedrock assumption held by many Republicans that it's possible to balance the budget by going after welfare queens is baloney. The reason: The military-industrial complex - which he mentions by name.
Ms. Palin’s endorsement comes not long after she announced she will campaign for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Arizona Senator John McCain and Representative Michele Bachmann. Mr. Perry, who is seeking a third full term, faces Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in a high-profile primary, while Mr. McCain could face a tough challenge from the right.
According to Federal Election Commission records, Sarah PAC gave $45,500 to federal candidates and committees in 2009, including Republican Senate hopefuls in Missouri and Ohio as well as several GOP incumbents.
Palin’s endorsement is somewhat surprising given Paul’s moderate social views, which largely follow the libertarian streak of his father Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas).
Palin has identified herself with the Tea Party movement—she will headline a Nashville-based convention of Tea Party activists this weekend—but her endorsements aren’t all anti-establishment.
The former governor has already endorsed incumbent GOP Texas Gov. Rick Perry in his primary against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, well before former Ron Paul campaign activist and local party chairwoman Debra Medina stepped in to the race and roused the spirits of Tea Partiers in the Lone Star state.
Palin joins a growing list of Rand Paul endorsers, which includes Concerned Women for America, Gun Owners of America, Steve Forbes and RedState.com. Paul has also established himself as a darling of the Tea Party Movement and conservative groups such as Dick Armey's Freedom Works.