Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (R) said Tuesday night that Republicans who would marginalize Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) are making a big mistake.

Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin (R). (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“So, the worst thing that the GOP machine can do is marginalize Ron Paul and his supporters,” she added.

Palin said that while she disagrees with Paul on foreign policy, the Texas Republican “does have good ideas when it comes to the austerity measures that domestically we must engage in in order to be secure, in order to be solvent as a nation.”

“The supporters of Ron Paul, they hear that. They have been touched by that,” she said.

As results from the Iowa caucuses were coming in Tuesday night, Paul was in a tight three-way race with former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. In interviews on the campaign trail in recent days, backers of both Santorum and Romney have sharply criticized Paul and his supporters, and Santorum himself Tuesday morning called Paul “disgusting.”

Asked by Cavuto whether she thinks Ron Paul would be able to win the presidency, Palin did not directly respond. She did muse, however, that Paul might mount a third-party bid that could hurt the chances of the eventual GOP nominee.

“You know, I would not predict that he would be elected president,” she said. “What we can predict, though, is his supporters would convince him to perhaps mount a third party effort, and that, unfortunately, would strengthen the incumbent’s chances of reelection, and that is the last thing our country can afford is four more years of Obama’s failed job policies that has only exacerbated the problems that he, as he loves to preach about, that he inherited. He has made it worse. And a third party run, unfortunately, I think, would give Obama a better chance of winning again. “

Palin said that while Romney “has been calm, cool and collected” on the trail, Paul has been “very passionate about his fiscal conservative policies.”

Paul “understands that, you know, he had to run with scissors, if you will in the campaign,” Palin said.

She also told Cavuto that she does not regret her decision not to run for president.

“No,” she said. “You know why? I don’t think, at this time in my life, that I’m wired to be one, to be saying pick me, pick me, I’m smarter than you are, I’m more equipped than you are, pick me. I’ve never been able to do that, and I don’t see that evolution taking place in the last few years.”