Tea Party-backed Senate hopeful Joe Miller on Wednesday sought to downplay reports of a rift between him and Sarah Palin and her husband, Todd, over his unwillingness to endorse the former Alaska governor for president but he didn't offer any full-throated backing of Palin.
Miller told Fox News it's not his role to comment on presidential candidacies.
"We've been consistent about this from the very beginning," he said. "The Palins are good friends of mine and absolutely critical in the primary."
"But what we don't want to fall into is the trap that the media is trying to plant here in trying to create this misguided idea that what's going on in Alaska is some sort of feud between the Palins and the Murkowskis. That has nothing to do with this race."
The blog site Mudflats obtained an e-mail Todd Palin sent to the treasurer of Sarah Palin's PAC, Miller and Palin and Miller's attorney, taking issue with what he considered Miller's lukewarm response to a question from Fox News' Chris Wallace on Sunday about whether Miller would support Sarah Palin for president.
"Hold off on any letter for Joe. Sarah put her ass on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question "is Sarah Palin Qualified to be President". I DON'T KNOW IF SHE IS," he wrote.
"Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be completely one sided," he added. "Sarah spent all morning working on a Facebook post for Joe, she won't use it, not now.
"Put yourself in her shoe's Joe for one day."
Sarah Palin endorsed Miller, and her PAC gave him $5,000.
The blog also posted an e-mail from Miller, forwarding Todd Palin's message to four people."Just found this in my inbox," Miller wrote on Sept. 22. "This is what we're dealing with. Note the date and the complete misconstruction of what I said. Holy cow."
Todd Palin tried to dismiss talks of a rift in a statement to The Weekly Standard on Wednesday. He wrote that he misunderstood Miller's response and blamed the media for putting personal e-mails online.
"My family has worked hard in supporting Joe Miller, so when I heard he'd said something less than supportive of my wife's efforts, I responded. But it turns out we'd gotten our wires crossed and Joe hadn't said anything like what I'd been told," he wrote, according to the magazine. "So there's no story here except the fact that the press put our personal emails online again, and again couldn't even be bothered to conceal our email addresses or take any steps to protect our privacy."
Miller told Fox News that Palin is qualified to be president based on the requirement spelled out in the Constitution. But given another chance to endorse a potential Palin presidency, Miller declined.
"There are a number of others that are there as well -- any one of which would make a far better presidential candidate than what we got right now in the Oval Office," he said. "But her decision to run is hers, hers alone. It's not our decision as to whether or not she runs. It certainly is a sideline to what's going on in Alaska."