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Herman Cain and Sarah Palin: Do they still have political clout?

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At this point, it’s hard to imagine either one of them playing a prominent role at the GOP’s convention in Tampa, Fla., in August. For the most part, Republican presidential politics has moved beyond them. Despite their ability to rouse a tea party gathering, each carries certain baggage the Republican Party would just as soon not remind voters of that close to the November election.

But this past week both Palin and Cain weighed in on behalf of Gingrich – Palin with a spirited defense of the former House Speaker, Cain with an official endorsement.

Gingrich in recent days has had to endure not only relentless attacks from the Romney campaign and the independent super PAC supporting the former Massachusetts governor – the rhetoric could be measured in megatonnage – but a series of biting sniper assaults from establishment Republicans like former Sen. Bob Dole and such conservative commentators as Peggy Noonan and Ann Coulter.

”If Gingrich is the nominee, it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state, and federal offices,” said Dole in a letter released Thursday. “Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him, and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.”

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