Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich performed best in Tuesday night's Republican debate in Las Vegas and compared the other candidates to "bickering" children.
"I think we are more interested in substance. And that's why, like, tonight Newt Gingrich again I think did the best because he seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on," she said to Fox News' Greta Van Susteren on "On The Record," following the debate Tuesday night. She added that the former House speaker would "clobber" President Barack Obama in an debate.
She also praised Herman Cain for being more specific about his 999 plan. "Herman Cain, thankfully, although a lot of people are criticizing his plan, he does have some specifics that he laid out. And that was appreciated. That's what I was looking for. Didn't get a lot of that."
The former Alaska governor, who declined to run for president in 2012, also praised Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) for her straightforwardness. "It's refreshing to hear somebody candid and blunt like Michelle Obama -- or Michele Bachmann -- I'm sorry -- tonight. She came right out and she said, no, she would not cut foreign aid to Israel because they are such a strong ally."
Palin did not always like the tone of the debate. "So when the debate started, a couple minutes into the debate, my kids started walking through the door after school and after play dates, and they're kind of griping and bickering amongst each other, then the debate in my other ear, the candidates are up there bickering and fighting amongst each other. And I honestly for a minute or two there didn't know which group I be listening to and which group was making more sense," she said. "Thankfully, the candidates kind of calmed down and started talking more about detailing the things that -- serious -- an electorate that is very serious in these serious times needs to hear."
She attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry for signing a bill allowing undocumented immigrants who are Texas residents to pay in-state tuition rates. She called his attack on former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for once employing -- and subsequently firing after two Boston Globe stories -- a lawn care company who hired undocumented immigrants, "a little bit of a cheap shot."
Palin said the debates are "still so valuable" and again bemoaned that Obama did not have a primary challenger.
However, she said the candidates were evasive: "It amazes me that the candidates so often get to escape actually answering the question. They get to spin and pivot and go off onto their sound bites that they want in the 10 seconds that they have to make a point," she said. As vice presidential candidate in 2008, Palin beat expectations in her one debate but performed poorly in several interviews.
"I think the hosts need to kind of dig a little bit more and come back to that candidate and say, No, that's not what I asked you. Here's what I asked you. Please answer it," she said.