Sarah Palin stokes GOP divisions over debt limit

Much of America is pushing Washington to reach a compromise this week and raise the debt limit. But not Sarah Palin.

The former Alaska governor and potential 2012 presidential candidate on Thursday took to her favorite medium--Facebook--to publicly threaten tea party freshmen who may be considering compromising their fiscal-conservative values (as she sees it) by supporting a deal to raise the debt ceiling.

Palin, in an open letter, offered a not-so-gentle reminder of the tea party values--lower spending, smaller government, and lowering the deficit--that helped propel them to wins in November 2010. She suggested freshmen must now remember those values and hold firm in their opposition to raising the debt limit.

"P.S." she added. "Everyone I talk to still believes in contested primaries."

The GOP leadership is busy this week trying to use spending cuts and other tools to entice tea party freshmen and fiscal conservatives in Congress to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

Palin told Fox News' Sean Hannity earlier this month that she opposes raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and she does not believe it will be catastrophic if Congress fails to raise it. The U.S. Treasury says the government will run out of tools available to pay its debts Aug. 2 if the ceiling is not raised.

Palin in 2010 famously helped tea party candidates across the country--such as Sharron Angle in Nevada Senate, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware--run against GOP establishment figures. And she made clear Thursday she'll do it again in 2012.

Palin would not be where she is today if she had not challenged the GOP establishment. She launched her political career in 2006 by successfully defeating incumbent Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski in the state's Republican primary.