Sarah Palin said Tuesday she'd vote for Newt Gingrich in South Carolina this weekend, but she stopped short of a full endorsement.

The former Alaska governor and political pundit told Fox News she'd check off Gingrich on her primary ballot this Saturday because it would keep the primary season going. Most politicos agree that if front-runner Mitt Romney wins the South Carolina, he's a sure bet for the Republican nomination for the rest of the season, and Palin is clearly hoping for an alternative to the Massachusetts governor -- she has criticized Romney and his job-creation record at Bain capital in the past.

I can tell you what I would do if I were a South Carolinian...If I were a South Carolinian though, and each one of these primaries and caucuses are different, Sean, I want to see this thing continue because iron sharpens iron. Steel sharpens steel, she said. These guys are getting better in their debates. They are getting more concise. They are getting more grounded in what their beliefs are and articulating what their ideas are for getting America back on the right track and getting Americans working again. If I had to vote in South Carolina order to keep this thing going, I would vote for Newt and I would want it to continue. More debates, more vetting of candidates.

Palin also praised the former House Speaker's performance at the debate Monday night because he came out like South Carolina's own Smokin' Joe Frazier.

He came out there swinging, talking about work, talking about jobs and work ethic and how government needs to get out of the way in order for all Americans to have a sense of opportunity to work, and I think that's what a lot of voters have been craving to hear, she said.

Gingrich has already been endorsed by Todd Palin. Although Sarah's husband has a limited role in political life, Gingrich embraced the endorsement for its association with his wife, telling Fox News sometime down the road Sarah may come along.

The GOP hopeful immediately posted the Fox News video on his website Tuesday night with the headline, Sarah Palin: If I Were a South Carolinian, I would Vote for Newt.

Sarah Palin flirted with the idea of the presidential run for months, even embarking on a nation-wide bus tour to historical landmarks and campaign hot spots. She hasn't, however, officially backed a candidate.