In a February interview with MTV, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin lavished praise on maverick Republican presidential contender Ron Paul.

She had a few nice things to say about another GOP candidate, Mitt Romney.

But Palin made no mention of John McCain.

Now that McCain is the presumptive Republican presidential candidate, he has selected Palin as his prospective running-mate for vice president.

McCain calls Palin his political “soul-mate.”

But, in February, at a point when McCain was closing in on the Republican nomination, it sure sounded like she was sweet on Paul.

The governor, who sported a Pat Buchanan pin at a 1999 rally for the renegade Republican presidential candidate (Pat says: “She’s a great choice for the base … She’s a Buchananite”), described the anti-war, libertarian-leaning congressman from Texas as “cool.”

“He’s a good guy,” she said of Paul. “He’s so independent. He’s independent of the party machine. I’m like, ‘Right on, so am I.'”

Paul supporters were delighted. In fact, they even began promoting Palin as a possible veep choice for the Texas congressman.

As it happens, Paul won’t be picking a running-mate in St. Paul.

But the congressman will be in the Twin Cities.

Conveniently for Palin, Paul — who refuses to endorse McCain — will be holding an outside-the-convention “Rally for the Republic.”

More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold for an event that is expected to draw thousands of Paul’s most ardent supporters to the Target Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday.

Perhaps Palin will join them.

Or is she now with the party machine?