ABC News' Mary Bruce reports:
Sarah Palin responded tonight to Rick Santorum’s speculation as to why she is not attending the conservative gathering, CPAC, saying he was “uninformed” to suggest she has “other business opportunities.”
“I will not call him the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that perhaps others would want to call him. I’ll let his wife call him that instead,” Palin told Sean Hannity on Fox News.
Earlier this week, Santorum took a swipe at Palin’s decision to skip the conference saying “I have a feeling that she has some demands on her time, and a lot of them have financial benefit attached to them.”
Despite clearly disagreeing with Santorum, Palin took issue with the media’s response to his comments.
“I think the reports were much worse than what he really said. I think some things were maybe taken out of context,” she said.
The former Alaska governor reiterated why she decided not to attend CPAC, which often is considered the unofficial kickoff for the 2012 GOP race.
“I’ve never been to CPAC," she said. "I don’t know what the big brouhaha is this go-round. ... I don’t know why anybody would think it’s that big of a darn deal not to be there this time.”
Santorum, a father of seven, also suggested that Palin’s responsibilities as a mother might prevent her from attending the conference.
“I’m not the mother to all these kids and I don’t have other responsibilities that she has,” he said.
The famous "Mama Grizzly" replied, “I’m the proud mother of five children and my kids don’t hold me back from attending a conference.”
With the Iowa caucuses less than a year away, speculation about the GOP 2012 presidential contenders is mounting.
Asked when she will decide whether or not to run, Palin told Hannity, “I don’t have a date in mind. I will make the decision as things fall into place or don’t fall into place. ... I’m not going to put myself in a box to give a timeline.”
Regarding rumors that her political action committee has been active Iowa, Palin said, "Nobody has to read anything into anything.”
On other news, Palin offered her opinion of how the Obama administration is handling the situation in Egypt, in particular the Muslin Brotherhood.
“The Muslim Brotherhood, as they believe in a caliphate, is a big problem and I think it should give us all great pause to hear officials in our own nation believing that the Muslim Brotherhood should be given a seat at the table,” Palin said, referencing Bill O’Reilly’s interview with the president this past Sunday.
In that interview, Obama described the Muslim Brotherhood as “one faction in Egypt” and downplayed concerns that they could gain power, explaining “they don’t have majority support.”
Tonight, Palin made clear she believes the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood are at odds with American principles.
“Does the Muslim Brotherhood really, truly, sincerely believe in freedoms?” she asked. “Or do they believe in cramming down someone’s throat their own religious beliefs and if you won’t buy into them you are beheaded?”
“If that’s part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s mission, then for shame that the U.S. government would believe they can be embraced and still bring those who desire freedom and democracy down a road toward democracy,” Palin said.