- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 12, 2012

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sunday again questioned Mitt Romney’s conservative credentials but said the Republican presidential front-runner remains in the lead because he’s “a great candidate.”

“I trust that his idea of conservatism is evolving,” Mrs. Palin, the GOP candidate for vice president in 2008, said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“I base this on a pretty moderate past that he has had, even, in some cases, a liberal past,” she said.

Mrs. Palin also took veiled shots at Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, during her speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington over the weekend, saying that “it’s too late in the game to teach” conservatism.

“I am not convinced” of Mr. Romney’s conservative views, she said Sunday. “I do not think the majority of GOP or independent voters are convinced. [Mr. Romney] still needs to be able to articulate what his solutions are.”

Despite Mrs. Palin’s concerns, Mr. Romney on Saturday came out on top of The Washington Times/CPAC Straw Poll, a key test of conservative support. He also scored another important victory on Saturday, besting Rep. Ron Paul by a small margin in the Maine caucuses.

The longer the Republican primary race continues, Ms. Palin said, the stronger the eventual nominee will be.

“I want to see the competition continue,” she said.