EXCLUSIVE: Palin Throws Down Gauntlet on Primary Challenges to Rubio, Ayotte
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who has the most influence among conservative voters in Republican primaries, told Breitbart News on Tuesday that Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) should be primaried for their support of the Senate's immigration bill.
“Conservatives are getting ready for the 2014 and 2016 primaries. We have long memories, and there will be consequences for those who break campaign promises and vote for this amnesty bill," Palin told Breitbart News. "Competition makes everyone work harder, be better, and be held accountable. This applies to politics, too. No one is ‘entitled’ to anything."
She continued, "Rigorous debate in competitive primaries allows candidates the opportunity to explain their flip-flops. So think of contested primaries as a win-win for politicians and their voters."
Palin responded to Breitbart News's request for comment about an interview she did earlier on Tuesday with John Gibson on Fox News radio in which she said Rubio and Ayotte "turned their back" on voters and should be primaried to be held accountable. Rubio and Ayotte will be up for reelection in 2016.
"Every politician should be held accountable for breaking their campaign promises," Palin said during an interview on the "John Gibson Radio Show" on Fox News radio. "They turned their back on the American public, so why should they not be held accountable?"
Palin said Rubio had promised that "border security would come first," and he would not support "legalization of illegal immigrants" and "amnesty" before border security while running in the Florida Republican Senate primary against Charlie Crist in 2010. She said Ayotte, whom she endorsed, had on her campaign website in 2010 that there were "no excuses" not to secure the border and also said she would not support amnesty.
"I think that they should be challenged. I don't have a problem with heated debates and contested primaries where they have to answer to constituents regarding their flip-flopping on such a fundamental position as amnesty for illegal immigrants," she told Gibson. "I don't have a problem at all with contested primaries. In fact, competition makes us all better and makes us be held accountable and I'd like to see them held accountable and answer as to why it is that they flip-flopped."
Palin also told Gibson that she had said "nice things" about Rubio before he "reneged on his promise" on the bill because she thought he was "an honest politician." She remarked, "honest politician" is too often an oxymoron.
"Marco Rubio has blatantly flip-flopped on his position on immigration, on amnesty, and border security," Palin said to Gibson, before noting the Senate's Gang of Eight bill he orchestrated would reward law breakers and give President Barack Obama "a victory in his mission to fundamentally transform America economically."
Ayotte and Rubio, along with 13 other Republicans, voted on Monday to end debate on the so-called "border surge" amendment, which would actually allow the Department of Homeland Security to ignore border security almost entirely. And while Ayotte is not a Gang of Eight member like Rubio is, two of her close colleagues--Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)--are.
Palin, to Gibson, said Ayotte's and Rubio's failure to live up to their campaign promises "gives us more reasons not to trust politicians, not to trust our government, unfortunately."
"This is a scary place for our republic to be," she said.