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Just when you thought it was safe to take politics seriously again, gaffe-prone Sarah Palin stepped back on the presidential stage Tuesday to endorse her spotlight-loving, soulmate — Donald Trump.
Palin, the former Alaska governor turned vice presidential candidate turned political pundit, stood side by side with the billionaire business mogul turned casino owner turned Republican presidential front-runner to tell an Ames, Iowa, crowd how Trump will save America.
“I am here because, like you, I know it is now or never,” Palin told the cheering crowd.
“I’m in it to win it because I believe in America and I believe in our freedom.”
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks as former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin looks on Tuesday.
“He is the master of the art of the deal,” Palin said. “He is the one who would know what to negotiate.”
“He is from the private sector, not a politician,” Palin said. “Can I get a hallelujah? He knows how to lead the charge. So troops hang in there, he’s on the way.”
After asking supporters if they were “ready for a leader that will command our troops and go kick ISIS’ ass,” Palin painted Trump as a likable softie.
“He is not elitist at all,” Palin said. “If you know him as a person and get to know him more and more you’all have more respect.”
The event, just 13 days before the curtain-raising Iowa caucuses, was a “Saturday Night Live” skit waiting to happen with the rigid, corporate candidate standing beside the folksy mama grizzly using words like “hope-y” and “change-y” to describe President Obama’s vision for America.
Trump, when he was finally able to get the microphone back again, thanked his new cheerleader, and said he had been waiting for this moment since he got into the race.
“From day one, I said if I ever do this, I have to get her support,” Trump said. “She feels it.”
The match made in reality show heaven was a setback for Trump’s GOP opponents, especially Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who had closed the gap with Trump in recent weeks in Iowa.
Palin had endorsed Cruz during his Senate race, and he remarked that he would not have won that election without her.
“Oh, listen, I love Sarah Palin,” Cruz told Fox News. “I would not be in the U.S. Senate if it were not for Sarah’s friendship, for her incredible support and so whatever she chooses to do in 2016, I will always be a big fan of Sarah Palin’s.”
GOP consultant Kevin Madden said the endorsement’s timing will help Trump to drown out Cruz’s message.
“I think it helps Trump overwhelm the news cycle with Trump coverage at a critical time,” he said. “It sort of denies Ted Cruz any chance to get back on offense.”
“Palin’s brand among evangelicals is as gold as the faucets in Trump tower,” said Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
But at least one person wasn’t impressed. “I don’t think she’s really credible anymore,” said Bruce Dodge, 66, of Ankeny, Iowa.
Earlier in the day, Trump received an endorsement from the daughter of the Duke. The real estate mogul got the blessing of Aissa Wayne at the Winterset, Iowa, birthplace museum of screen legend John Wayne.
Trump said he’s a big fan of Wayne and that the actor represented strength and power.
“We have exactly the opposite from John Wayne right now in this country,” Trump said.
The former Alaska governor wasn’t the only Palin to make headlines Tuesday.
A day earlier, her son Track was charged with assault.