Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) said Wednesday night that she hasn’t yet settled on a GOP presidential contender, even though her former running mate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), announced his endorsement of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) earlier in the day.

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R). (AP Photos/India Today)

McCain announced his endorsement of Romney on Wednesday afternoon at a campaign event in New Hampshire, one day after the former Massachusetts governor bested former senator Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) by eight votes to win the Iowa caucuses.

“John McCain’s endorsement of Mitt Romney is a reminder that we must have as our aim defeating Obama and the socialist, big-government, job-defeating policies” of his administration, Palin said.

Even so, she noted that “we still have many months to decide who can best lead us to progress this country.”

Palin said she thought Santorum’s speech Tuesday night was “very sincere and heartfelt.”

“I think he left Americans with a sense of real optimism,” she said.

Speaking of former House speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.), who underperformed expectations and faced a barrage of negative ads, Palin said: “You can’t win a ballgame by playing defense all the time.”

Gingrich has since started playing offense. A super PAC backing Gingrich earlier Wednesday circulated a Web ad that McCain had formerly used to attack Romney in 2008, and Gingrich took out a full-page ad against Romney in the New Hampshire Union Leader.

“Newt has every right to defend his record,” Palin said when asked about the ads. She declined to criticize Gingrich for resurrecting the 2008 McCain Web ad, saying only: “It was effective at the time, wasn’t it?”

She also criticized Obama’s 2008 campaign as ”unscrupulous.”

“Senator McCain has evidently chosen Mitt Romney as the one most prepared” to face the Obama campaign “machine” and “thuggery,” she said.