Is internal strife rippling through McCain-Palin campaign?

October 26, 2008
Sarah Palin is trying to distance herself from the top of the ticket, John McCain. " data-share-img="" data-share="twitter,facebook,linkedin,reddit,google" data-share-count="false">

WASHINGTON – As the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign enters its final week, reports are bubbling up about internal strife within the Republican ticket that suggest vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is trying to distance herself from the top of the ticket, John McCain.

Palin over the last few weeks has publicly expressed her differences with McCain on issues such as a constitutional ban on gay marriage, the campaign’s decision to no longer contest Democrats in Michigan and her distaste for automated calls that have drawn scrutiny. reported this weekend that Palin has also cast aside advice from former George W. Bush aides assigned to help her on the campaign trail, citing their handling of her debut. She was roundly criticized for her poor performance in her initial national media interviews.

The report said:

Those Palin supporters, inside the campaign and out, said Palin blames her handlers for a botched rollout and a tarnished public image — even as others in McCain’s camp blame the pick of the relatively inexperienced Alaska governor, and her public performance, for McCain’s decline.

“She’s lost confidence in most of the people on the plane,” said a senior Republican who speaks to Palin, referring to her campaign jet. He said Palin had begun to “go rogue” in some of her public pronouncements and decisions.

After that story emerged, CNN reported that aides from the McCain side of the house were fighting back, including quoting one unnamed aide who described Palin as a “diva” and that she was looking out for her own political future in case they do not win the White House next week.

The report said:

McCain sources say Palin has gone off-message several times, and they privately wonder whether the incidents were deliberate. They cited an instance in which she labeled robocalls — recorded messages often used to attack a candidate’s opponent — “irritating” even as the campaign defended their use. Also, they pointed to her telling reporters she disagreed with the campaign’s decision to pull out of Michigan.

A second McCain source says she appears to be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.

“She is a diva. She takes no advice from anyone,” said this McCain adviser. “She does not have any relationships of trust with any of us, her family or anyone else.

The reports of the internal strife come as McCain and Palin have been for weeks trailing the Democratic ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden in national polls and in a tight battle for states that traditionally have been Republican strongholds like Colorado and Virginia.

However, the latest Reuters/Zogby/C-Span national poll shows that McCain has closed the gap on rival Barack Obama to five points after being down as much as 12 points.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage

- Photo credit: Reuters/Brian Snyder (Palin and McCain get off their campaign bus last week in Ohio.)


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To those who say I’m out of touch with Alaska:

1) I’ve spoken with many people in Alaska, both in person and over the phone, and all of them were extremely supportive of Palin. Of COURSE there must be a few dissenters, but I suspect they are a small and VOCAL minority. I recommend those folks who have friends in Alaska should call them and get the facts from people who are already experiencing Sarah’s leadership.

2) The largest newspaper in Alaska, The Anchorage Daily News, is a left-leaning paper owned by the McClatchy syndicate–a group of “Outsiders” as those outside Alaska are called. Let me explain:

* Many years ago, there was another locally-owned paper called The Anchorage Times. It was conservative. Then, the McClatchy folks waged a circulation war to drive the Times out of business. They succeeded, because they had a huge warchest and could basically give away subscriptions for a while. Check out the BRIEF story here: imes aily_News

- So now the major paper in Alaska is controlled by liberals from out of state. I’d hesitate to even call it an “Alaskan” newspaper. Let me ask you a question: If the New York Times had a report on Chicago politics, and I bought an issue of the New York Times in Chicago, does that make the New York Times a Chicago newspaper?

3) Obama’s team thought they could have a chance in Alaska in 2008. That chance evaporated when Palin was named McCain’s running mate. I would guess from the rather one-sided discussion here that there are some Obama supporters who were originally hoping to swing Alaska his way, who now have little to do but try to spread anti-Palin propaganda.

4) It’s interesting to note that, having broken his promise to use public financing, Obama has raised $600 million. Even though McCain is abiding by the rules and thus is limited to less than $100 million, he’s STILL in the race. Wow! I would have thought a 6-to-1 funding advantage would have given Obama a landslide by now. Apparently, the citizens of our great country are beginning to see through Obama’s rhetoric, and realize that he would take the country in the wrong direction.

5) Would someone please remind Obama and his supporters that it’s not 2004?

Have a nice day!

(Please forgive any repeat of this message. I tried sending an earlier version, and the website didn’t seem to take it.)

What did they expect? Palin’s pick was a double edged sword for McCain. She’s a true maverick not a paper one! She’s looking out for her own butt and I don’t blame her. I think McCain picked her because it would be easy to blame her if he loses as well. But, then again it’s both McCains managers and Palins fault for the bad criticism. Afterall, it was Palin that interviewed poorly not McCain, but McCains organizers didn’t help Palin either. In the end, I don’t blame her for being a maverick, at least she’s consistent. In fact, I like her more now that I see her standing up to everyone!

Posted by Dean | Report as abusive

I like how every 5th person here seems to think stating the same thing is going to change the arguement.
Is Palin inexperienced… yes
Is Obama… yes
Is the Duty of the VP to preside over the senate… YES
Is it stupid to have chosen Palin for VP… NO
Is McCain going to win? no because the ipod nation that does whatever the advertisers say to do (and Obama has spent an almost record amount) the obamabot sheep LOVE to crawl like lemmings punching every republican in the way of their “beloved leader”.

I think obama will win, but I think he will be the worst person for president ever…

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is the biggest joke this country has ever seen in a national election. She makes that stupid Dan Quayle look like a Rhodes Scholar. I have never heard the woman put together an intelligent sentence. Her followers are the lowest subset of the radical right. If the Republicans want to seriously challenge the Democrats, they need to aim much, much, higher than this.

Posted by Topper | Report as abusive

Did McCain REALLY make the right choice ? Here is a small list of current female senators and governors as possible candidates for VP.

Olympia Snowe Maine
Kay A. Orr Nebraska
Christine Todd Whitman New Jersey
Jane Dee Hull Arizona
Nancy P. Hollister Ohio
Jane Swift Massachusetts
Judy Martz Montana
Linda Lingle Hawaii
Olene Smith Walker Utah
M. Jodi Rell Connecticut
Nancy Kassebaum Kansas
Kay Bailey Hutchison Texas
Sheila Frahm Kansas
Susan Collins Maine
Lisa Murkowski Alaska
Elizabeth Dole North Carolina

Posted by Tom | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is a breath of fresh air. She is real. You people are doing the same thing to Gov. Palin that you did to Senator Clinton. Both these women took your slurs and your hate and just went on to do their jobs.

The Anchorage newspaper is Democratic and would endorse Mickey Mouse if he were a democrat running for president.
This newspaper has been critical of Palin since she was mayor of Wasilla.

Yes, she is ambitious. All politicians are ambitious – goes with the breed. True, she did not do well in the Couric interview. The McCain campaign’s mistake was not letting her out to speak to reporters from the beginning. She would have made a few mistakes and then got into the routine and performed much better. They programmed her and did not let Sarah be Sarah.

The McCain campaign is apparently run by a much of macho men who can’t stand it that Gov. Palin is so popular. McCain probably will not win this election. That is not Sarah’s fault. It is the economy and the sudden crash of the market combined with a charismatic orator to whom truth is foreign – but one who has mesmerized many Americans.

You have not heard the last of Governor Sarah Palin. This is only the beginning of a successful political career on the national level.

Hold on to your wallets when he starts spreading the wealth.

Posted by Karolyn | Report as abusive

“She’s a Winner! I can’t wait to Volunteer for here 2012 Campaign.”

Ha. Thanks for the morning laugh.

Palin is a joke. Her approval rating is right down there with Bush’s.

Posted by ElizaDay | Report as abusive

when Palin was introduced, her blithering,incoherent answers and “deer in headlights” pauses when asked relatively simple questions by Gibson (and especially Couric) are nobody’s fault but her own.

Posted by malone | Report as abusive

Palin’s hometown newspaper endorses Obama…They must be a part of the vast left-wing conspiracy too…

Posted by malone | Report as abusive

The thought of “Queen Palin” being just a heartbeat away from running the whole shebang just gives me the willies. Just as Bush was picked by the far-right Christian conservatives, she’s just another empty (yet fashionably expensive) suit propped up behind the podium in order to further the evangelical agenda. Remember, current estimates show that these “real,” God-fearing evangelical Americans represent just 25% of our population, yet they want to legislate the morality of the rest of us. If the Palin/McCain ticket succeeds in this election, expect more of the same rollbacks of individual freedoms that we’ve been subjected to in the last eight years. And if Palin runs, and God forbid, wins in 2012, then perhaps all of those end-of-time nutjobs will be proven correct. Do you think Lahaye supports McCain/Palin? I’d bet on it! But if the Republicans lose, I have a suggestion for the disllusioned GOP right-wing-nutters here:

I love hyperbole. 100% of Alaskan’s are behind her? I must draw your attention to the latest polls of her approval rating in Alaska (the most recent were taken October 1st or so). Her approval rating as of October 1 (the latest figures available) put her at 68%. Although this is still quite respectable, it is not reflective of “the most popular governor in the United States”, and it is a far cry from 100%. Please try to back up what you say with some actual data.

Posted by Raymond | Report as abusive

Palin is a total hick. I’m sorry, but is this the best this country has to offer? Why do people insist on supporting a VP candidate just because they think she’d be a pleasant person to strike up a conversation with in the Costco membership renewal line or something? While I’m disgusted by the he said/she said rhetoric from both sides in this campaign, and think the level of discourse is almost as simplistically sound-byte-based as what we heard in the W campaigns, I think by selecting Palin, McCain showed what he’s really made of. Some maverick!

Posted by Michael | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin is showing her true colors. Her only principle is personal ambition, and now that she thinks her team is losing, she’s “going rogue,” treacherously compromising John McCain’s candidacy to pursue her only goal all along – more power for herself.

Her public speeches and interviews are totally lacking in insight, analysis and candor. She’s as snaky as they come, pandering to those who mistake a homey accent for empathy with common people when she clearly has none.

If she’s so quick to throw McCain under his own bus, she can’t possibly be trusted with the public good. Alaska is an anomalous state because of its oil and low population density. What works in Alaska a will not work in the rest of America. She’s closer to Siberia than Alabama.

Don’t Drink the Kool-Aid.

Read the Transcripts.

Get Real.

Posted by Kombo | Report as abusive

If the polls show anything, there are not enough “real Americans” to elect someone like Palin in any future election. I know she doesn’t pay attention to the polls (which reflect the values, opinions, and concerns of Americans), but maybe she should. That might be kind of an important thing to do if you want to run for President. She ought to get out and see what people want and not just the people in rural America. Get to know “the rest of America,” which in all liklihood is the majority.

Posted by Carolyn B. | Report as abusive

In 2000 I would have voted for McCain, if he had survived the smear in SC.. Regardless his erratic mal-adroit discipline, he was honorable above and beyond all else. But now he has adopted the Rovian battle-plan and employed the same robo-smear that sunk his own campaign with lies. Add to that the unforgiveable choice of a running mate that has neither the experience nor the intellect to be successful as his VP, much less his replacement should the worst events prevail. And it would be absolute idiocy to support this man following the secretive and self-involved presidency that has held America prisoner for eight years.

It is clear already that a vote for McCain is a vote for perpetuation..

Posted by Psyllicon | Report as abusive