Sarah Palin and Rick Perry Friendship: Will It Stop the 'Mama Grizzly' From Running?

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On Palin's recent trip to the Iowa State Fair, just days before Perry officially got in the race, she was prodded by reporters to draw a contrast between her governing record and Perry's.

"There's two different forms of government in the state of Alaska and in the state of Texas. Alaska has a very powerful executive position. Texas, it's not as powerful," Palin said. "That doesn't mean he's doing a better job or worse job than any other governor, including myself. It just means it's different."

The next week she defended Perry and his headline-grabbing attack on the Federal Reserve in which he said that it would be "almost treasonous" for Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to increase the money supply before the 2012 election.

"More power to Rick Perry for calling it like he saw it," Palin said on Fox News last week. "And you know, he used some of that rascal type of rhetoric that he uses there in Texas and evidently the president took some issue to that.

"I just wish that President Obama would stay focused on what really matters," Palin continued. "Stay focused and quit picking on other people like Rick Perry who is just going to continue to call it like he sees it."

Unlike other political friendships, their relationship actually dates back to before the last election, although Palin did back Perry in his gubernatorial primary last year against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas. She declared her support in a letter to Texas GOP women, saying her choice stays "true to conservative principles even when others think the party needs to go a different direction. I like that about him: He doesn't care which way the wind blows, he acts on his beliefs."

Palin added in the letter that Perry, "walks the walk of a true conservative. And he sticks to his guns, and you know how I feel about guns!"

And when she went to Texas to campaign for her "good friend Rick Perry" in the primary, she told the story of how Perry was the last one to wish her well before giving birth to her son, Trig, who she said was "almost born in Texas" because she was at an oil and gas conference hosted by Perry in Dallas when she went into labor.

"I finally handed Rick the mic and I said, 'You know, I think I got to go.' And he said -- he's teasing me as I'm hustling out the door, finding an exit so I can get on an airplane and get home and he says, 'Yeah, I know you're pregnant, but what are you going to do? Go and have your baby now?'

"And I mumbled as I walked out, 'Uh huh.' And I did, that evening," Palin told the crowd before Perry gave Palin a certificate making her an "honorary Texan."

Palin has steadily teased and left the door open to getting into the race, but she has also consistently said that if there was someone else who got in that represented her values and what she would bring to the race she, would not get in.

When it comes to conservative and Tea Party credentials, Perry checks most of the boxes. But critics point to a long governorship in which questions have been raised about his brushing against ethical boundaries by appointing political donors and accepting gifts, which is something that Palin has consistently made a point of fighting against.

She waged her underdog campaign for governor on pledging to "clean up" the Alaska state capital of Juneau. This is an issue she would surely bring up in a presidential campaign, despite their friendship.

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