Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump received a key endorsement Tuesday from conservative heavyweight Sarah Palin, potentially giving the billionaire businessman a boost with some voters less than two weeks before voting begins with the Iowa caucuses.
"Media heads are spinning," she said after taking the stage at a Trump rally at Iowa State University in Ames. "This is going to be so much fun."
Palin is a former Alaska governor and was the running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain in his 2008 bid for the White House. She said that with Trump as president, America would no longer apologize.
"No more pussy-footing around," she said, adding that Trump would allow the military to do its job and destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). "He's going rogue left and right. That's why he's doing so well." Her memoir was titled "Going Rogue" after a remark made by a McCain staffer who said she was off-message during the campaign.
"I am greatly honored to receive Sarah's endorsement," Trump said in a statement announcing her support. "She is a friend and a high-quality person whom I have great respect for. I am proud to have her support."
He is in a tight contest with Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas for the support of Iowa Republicans, who lean conservative and whose evangelical Christians make up a major voting bloc.
Trump's national political director, Michael Glassner, previously worked with Palin, who was a virtual newcomer to the national political arena when McCain named her as his running mate. She has since risen to prominence as one of the most outspoken conservatives in the party.
She was in her first term as governor of Alaska in 2008 when McCain picked her. She was folksy and liked to suggest there were no fiercer fighters for conservative values than a small-town "hockey mom." She was a former beauty pageant winner who professed a love of hunting with guns and thought it more important that the United States increase drilling for oil than fret about climate change.
McCain and Palin lost the election to Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but by then, her transformation from a little-known politician to national celebrity was complete.
In 2009 she resigned as Alaska's governor and has since worked as a conservative political commentator and as the producer and star of television shows about her large family enjoying Alaska's rugged landscapes.
Joe Brettell, a Republican strategist in Texas, said he thought Palin would not help Trump much "beyond a jolt in the news cycle."
Lindsey Graham — a Republican senator from South Carolina who last month ditched his effort to become president and has endorsed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for the nomination — said in an interview with CNN that he liked Palin.
Still, he added, "Sarah Palin can't save Donald Trump from being crazy," referring to some of Trump's proclamations, such as a plan to bar Muslims from entering the U.S., which Graham said made Trump unelectable.
Earlier Tuesday, Trump received an endorsement from Aissa Wayne, the daughter of movie star John Wayne. Standing in front of a life-size rifle-toting model of the actor in full cowboy gear, Trump accepted her endorsement at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa.
"America needs help, and we need a strong leader, and we need someone like Mr. Trump with leadership qualities, someone with courage, someone that's strong, like John Wayne," she said.