12/02/2010 01:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Mitt Romney On 'Tonight Show' With Jay Leno: Talks 'Attractive' Sarah Palin (VIDEO)

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney declined to ignite any drama during his appearance on NBC's "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno Wednesday, instead choosing to praise potential 2012 presidential opponent Sarah Palin.

"She's a remarkable, energetic, powerful figure in my party -- and attractive too," Romney said. "She's a qualified, capable person."

While he had nothing but kind words to direct toward the former Alaska governor, he did earlier appear to make a clear distinction between the two of them regarding recent deprecating comments made by Palin toward former President George H.W. Bush and his wife, Barbara, as well as Michelle Obama.

"They're remarkable people, wonderful people, you know we've been blessed with great presidents but also great First Ladies. That Barbara Bush, she is one of a long line of terrific first ladies -- and Michelle Obama also, wonderful First Lady," Romney said.

The clear display of respect by Romney toward both Bush and Obama stands in contrast to the criticism that Palin has recently fielded for supposedly showing a lack of respect for first families, both past and present.

After Barbara Bush jabbed Palin last month by announcing her hopes that the former Alaska governor "stays in Alaska" in 2012, the "mama grizzly" flashed her claws and scratched back, calling the Bushes "blue bloods."

Palin has also repeatedly attacked current First Lady Michelle Obama for her allegedly belief-defining connection to Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as well as her anti-obesity campaign.