Advisers to two potential 2012 Republican presidential contenders have been busy stoking the flames of controversy, albeit anonymously, before official campaigning has even begun. An aide to Sarah Palin responded recently to reported claims that the Romney camp wasn't taking the former Alaska Governor seriously.
"She's not a serious human being," a Romney adviser said of Palin, according to a Time magazine report by Mark Halperin. "If she's standing up there in a debate and the answers are more than 15 seconds long, she's in trouble."
When asked by Politico for a response, an anonymous Palin aide responded:
"It shocks me that anyone would try to do that...You'd think we'd all be working together toward a common goal - that being 2010 - and that should be the focus right now. Those who try to claim the mantle of Reagan would be good to follow one of his most sacred tenets."
"For Washington consultants to sit around and personally disparage the Governor anonymously to reporters is unfortunate and counterproductive and frankly immature."
Romney tried to defuse tensions Friday by tweeting out a reprimand of his unidentified staffers.
TIME says unnamed advisors disparaged @SarahPalinUSA. Anonymous numbskulls. She's proven her smarts; they've disproven theirs.
Looking ahead to 2012, a Romney-Palin matchup could be quite interesting. A recent Gallup poll shows Sarah Palin leading all GOP contenders in party support, with 76 percent of Republicans having a favorable view of a potential 2012 run. Though she also has the highest unfavorable numbers at 20 percent, Romney's unfavorables were only slightly less -- 19 percent -- while only 54 percent had a favorable view of him as a Republican contender.
Romney and Palin have also proven their fundraising prowess, though Romney's PAC topped Palin's by more than $1 million in the second quarter.