Gingrich has been particularly effusive in expressing his admiration for Palin over the last few months, and she has returned the favor by heaping praise on the former House speaker.
"Newt Gingrich again, I think, did the best because he seems to be above a lot of the bickering that goes on," Palin said on Fox News after a Republican debate in Las Vegas last month, adding that Gingrich would “clobber” President Obama in a general election debate.
But like any good Navy Seal operation (or Call of Duty mission) , timing is important to achieve maximum impact.
Palin and her advisers have in recent weeks discussed when her endorsement might have the greatest impact on the race, but the timing remains undetermined.
But Palin would likely have the biggest influence if she were to back a candidate before the Iowa caucuses. Her still considerable clout with the evangelical and Tea Party-leaning wings of the party could have a particularly significant impact in Iowa and in the first-in-the-South primary in South Carolina.
And here was Newt, after being asked in October if he'd like Palin's endorsement:
"Oh, sure. I think any candidate would like to have her endorsement, but I don't expect her to jump in in the near future.
She is a citizen in her own right, she is a force in her own right, and I think that she will have an impact by talking out on issues, by talking out on specific things.
Obviously, I think any of the candidates would love to have her become an active part of her campaign, because she has so many followers who really listen to her and pay attention to her."