Is Sarah Palin Floating a Trial Balloon for Gingrich Endorsement?

Todd Palin isn’t particularly vocal about his politics, so his endorsement of Newt Gingrich today has already prompted speculation that his wife may follow:

Todd Palin notes that he hasn’t spoken with the Gingrich campaign at all, and his wife still hasn’t decided whom to support. The Daily Caller’s Matt Lewis thus seizes on the one glimmer of importance in all this: “Obvious question: Will Sarah Palin follow Todd?” he asks. Sarah Palin, after all, does maintain something of a constituency these days so her endorsement (which might finally, finally end the “will she run rumors”) might give Gingrich’s sad campaign some oomph.

Could Sarah Palin be putting out a trial balloon for her own Gingrich endorsement? It wouldn’t be the first time the Palins tested the waters like this. In 2010, Todd endorsed Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller a full 10 days before his wife did.

Palin really only has three choices for an endorsement at this point, at least if she’s interested in backing someone who has any shot at the nomination. And she’s likely going to choose either Gingrich or Rick Santorum, considering her recent swipes at Mitt Romney. During the weekend, she hinted that Romney is getting a free pass from the media because reporters think he’d be the weakest candidate against President Obama:

Palin said the mainstream media would take a hands-off approach to Romney “in order to bolster Romney’s chances” to “finally face Obama.”

According to Palin, the mainstream media and Obama would then portray Romney as someone who is out of touch with regular Americans in the general election. …

Palin continued: “My opinion is that I can see what’s coming … the media will try to bolster Romney so they can tear him down, and that is quite unfortunate.”

The idea that “the media” is keeping a lid on Romney’s baggage is a little ridiculous. His moderate political record and flip-flops have been written about extensively. And if his history at Bain Capital hasn’t been combed over as much as it would be during a general election, it’s mainly because Republican primary voters don’t view it as particularly controversial.

Palin’s right that Romney would probably get much more scrutiny once he got the nomination. But how exactly is that different from what the media does with any Republican nominee — including Palin, when she ran for vice president? A presidential election is always more difficult for the GOP, and the candidates who are unable to withstand the media spotlight of a primary race would have no chance of withstanding it during the general election.