McCain camp pushes back against Palin

November 13, 2009

You’ve seen the Sarah Palin book excerpts in which she complains about being “bottled up” by Republican John McCain’s campaign last year.

Long-time McCain adviser Mark Salter explains here the thinking behind the McCain campaign’s media strategy that Palin seems to be complaining about in an excerpt of her book published by the Drudgereport today.

PALIN/“After we had been criticized in the press for a lack of disciplined messaging earlier in the campaign when we provided frequent and unscheduled access to the candidate, we felt it necessary to adopt the same deliberativeness and discipline employed by our opponents and rely less on impromptu press conferences with our traveling press, and more on interviews arranged in advance so our candidates would have the same opportunity our opponents enjoyed to discuss and prepare for the interview.

“Approximately one week elapsed from Governor Palin’s nomination to her first major press interview, the first in a series of major interviews Governor Palin did. Those interviews were discussed and agreed to by senior members of the campaign staff in consultation with the candidates. Nicolle Wallace, along with others, was tasked with helping the Governor prepare for some of her interviews. She did not decide which interview requests the candidates would accept. Nor was she tasked with securing the candidates’ agreement. Those decisions were made by campaign management in consultation with the candidates. Campaign management and the candidates agreed to multi segment interviews so the Governor would maintain a presence in the media while she was in debate prep. And to the best of my knowledge, any interviews the Governor had with the individuals she referred to were approved and arranged by the campaign management with her agreement.”

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– Photo credit: Reuters/Nathaniel Wilder (Palin at her farewell speech in July)


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How can Palin even attempt to play the blame game when her problem was simply sounding like an idiot? Her words came out of her mouth and the whole world learned instantly that this woman wasn’t remotely qualified to be VP. I can’t help but think how much credibility Sarah would garner if she just acknowledged the fact that she wasn’t ready for the role she was asked to play. In fact, she might even attract some moderates if she went that route.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

How unfortunate th that Bill is obviously jealous of a woman who had achieved MUCH MORE than Obama cvould ever hope to achieve in less time. A real woman and a real leader. A leader of a resource rich state and a leader in any way success can be measured. Bill is obviously just following the tired Democrat rhetoric and its old worn out phrases.Sarah is the future – like it or not. An accomplished hunter, fisherman and outdoorsman she obvioulsy intimidates someone like Bill who is probably a football wanna be. A couch potato whose only claim to fame is winning the beer drinking contest when he was 18.

Posted by Gene Unger | Report as abusive

Gene, a hunter/fisherman (or fisherwoman?) from Alaska can be intimidating. And I can see now (thanks to you) how accomplished she is. I failed to consider hunting/fishing, and how those skills can indeed translate to economic/diplomatic success in today’s global economy. And what better way to lead a state than quit as governor? I know people don’t get that, but folksy folks like you and I do, don’t we Gene? However, I don’t wanna be a football. I’d much rather be Sarah Palin’s rifle. Bearing down on unsuspecting moose and elk…I’m getting intimidated just thinking about it.

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

Yeah, Gene. A leader who bailed out midway through her term in order to make a quick buck. Pass me what you’re smoking; maybe I’ll feel better about the situation your boy GWB and the Republican party got us into.

Posted by Roman Sanchez III | Report as abusive

“jealous of a woman who had achieved MUCH MORe than Obama could ever hope to achieve in less time..”

He’s President, she’s not.. she comes from a state which requires the most Federal subsidies of any state to survive.. Washington pays $1.84 for every $1 Alaska pays in taxes back.. The “Bridge To Nowhere”.. the gas pipeline bid won by TransCanada which had ties to her Alaskan administration.. um yeah, she’s “achieved” so much.

Bill is right, the only reason she had such an issue with the “biased media” was her inability to say anything intelligent and informed.. they didn’t manipulate anything, the cameras didn’t lie.. she wasn’t ready for the role she agreed to step into, period.. See Russia from her front door and use that as Foreign Policy experience? Yeah, a high school kid can run the fry line at McDonalds, still doesn’t make him Gordon Ramsey.

Posted by Maria | Report as abusive

Um, Gene Unger. Can we have a reality break?

You say that Palin has achieved much more than Obama could ever hope to achieve in less time. Sarah was born February 11, 1964. Obama was born August 4, 1961. He’s basically two and a half years older than she is.

Obama’s accomplishments include being elected president of the United States in an electoral landslide and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. Whatever anyone may think about whether he deserves or merits any of his accomplishments, no one can deny that he has accomplished them. They’re facts. Sarah may be the future and a hunter, fisher and outdoorswoman. But those are hardly accomplishments that outshine Obama’s.

Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Do any of you recall that Gov. Palin did not run for the office of President? The comparison should be made with Biden.

Posted by Katherine | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin has guts but whether she has the right qualities to be an effective President are the moot points. She needs so many coaching lessons. Time is simply not on her side!

Posted by Pancha Chandra | Report as abusive

She’s a QUITTER.
The people of Alaska elected her to be their Govenor.
For whatever reasons (never fully explained!) she QUIT.

Just transitioning to the Vice-Governor wastes a lot of money, time, effort and is a burden to the Alaskan citizens and taxpayers.

If she has her sights set on the Presidency, would it not have been in her greater interest to bear down, get to work in the job she campaigned for and was elected to– the governorship–and make such a public success of running America’s biggest state that all of us in the 49 states ‘down under’ would start clamoring for her marvelous leadership skills and vast wisdom to be utilized on a national scale– as President??

QUITTERS don’t make good leaders.

Posted by Cassandra | Report as abusive

it doesn’t matter who you are — a media outlet can take any interview and splice it up to make you look like an idiot… they could have taken quotes of Obama’s like “57 states” and done the same thing with him. they obviously chose not to with Obama, but chose to with Palin. simple as that. stupid things come out of all of our mouths….

Posted by jan | Report as abusive

I’m as much an Obama hater as anyone, but as far as Palin goes I challenge you to find any interview where she sounds smart.

How did the media modify the interviews to make her look stupid I’m curious?

Posted by Michael Ham | Report as abusive

Matt, you are obviously a left wing nut. Obama was elected because everyone was tired of the Republican BS…….Obama has only one accomplishment and that being elected as president and nothing else. BTW, he wont be elected for a second term just as Jimmy (do nothing) Carter was.

Posted by Chuck | Report as abusive

Cassandra. The fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what Sarah Palin does, there are plenty of haters, like you, who will denigrate her no matter what decision she makes.

I agree with Jan, it’s all about what the media decides to print. Obama is given a free pass and in this case it doesn’t matter what he says, he will get a pass.

He has plenty of baggage to hit upon, but the media is one dimensional in its criticisms. The love the left and hate the right…no news story there…

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

Sarah explained her leaving office mid term it was about how many millions of dollars Alaska taxpayers were having to spend on stupid lawsuits brought by the influx of lower 48 attorneys and muck rackers looking to fluster the VP candidate, the Repubs and anyone who likes Sarah Palin.

She bowed out to save Alaska’s taxpayers from bearing that burden, it was in her speech, and it’s documented. It wasn’t fair to pair such talent with John McCain, he is a descent, honorable, and great patriot of a man but he wasn’t presidential material either.

Sarah Palin – Condoleezza Rice would be the ticket. They are two intelligent, strong and experienced women in getting things done. To those who think Sarah Palin wasn’t VP material and believe Joe Biden was, enough said. Or better, the less he says the better. When Dick Chaney was VP everyone always asked his whereabouts so tell me, where’s Joe? I think I saw him with tape over his lips sitting in a corner after the last speech he gave.

Free speech, isn’t it great? Next fall you better vote for conservatives to protect us all including the liberals. We need values instead of political correctness, we need the consensus of the people to rule rather than bend to the view of one and we need truth, transparency and open dialogue in government.

Truth and transparency were campaign promises that have been forgotten by Obama, and his council of advisors. Behind closed door policy making, Czars accountable to Obama only, political prostitution for party votes, agenda and favor by Pelosi, and the latest act of trying war criminals as civilians in New York City shows how little experience the Commander In Chief has for sensible solutions.

Let the vote of the people cast him out in 2012, let the left be voted out in 2010 and may the voice of the people be the same as the representation we are supposed to have in Washington.

Posted by Ben B | Report as abusive


I may or may not be a left wing nut. I really have no idea. But speaking of accomplishments, you definitely have at least one. You’re really funny!

I wish I only had one lousy, insignificant little accomplishment and it was being elected president. It would certainly add a little more luster to my National Honor Society Pin!



Posted by Matt | Report as abusive


You’re right. Haters will hate.

I totally agree with you when you say “the fact of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what Barack Obama does, there are plenty of haters who will denigrate him no matter what decision he makes.”

Also totally agree with you when you say “the media is one dimensional in its criticisms. The love the right and hate the left…no news story there…”

Just kidding. I know that’s not what you said.

But I’m sure lots of folks out there feel that way too.

Isn’t the main issue the fact that the media has segmented the market and gives every segment exactly what they want to hear?

For every Drudge Report, there’s a Huffington Post. For every Glen Beck, there’s a Keith Olbermann. None of them even try to do objective journalism. They’re all just trying to generate ratings by capturing their target demographic.

They’ve turned the news into a commodity to be packaged, marketed and sold. And the customer is always right – if they don’t get what they paid for, they’ll go somewhere else to get what they want.

Some of them market their reporting as “fair,” but that’s just spin. Surveys showed that the focus group representing their target audience likes to think of themselves as fair. Or smart. Or informed.

It doesn’t seem like there IS a target demographic of people who would like to hear reporting that tries to be objective and unbiased. I guess that’s because it’s annoying. It’s confusing. Sometimes you don’t even know what you’re supposed to think.



Posted by matt | Report as abusive

How can anyone not get a really ‘slimy’ feeling from this woman? She is the a picture-perfect example of what wrong with politics – all flash, no bang. She is a walking image and sound-bite machine. Dig back a little and you see there is nothing else.

I don’t see how one can say newsmedia were ‘doctoring up’ LIVE interviews (as some of them were). I also believe that her recent musings published on Facebook (really? what’s next, ‘tweeting’ campagin slogans?) were not her words at all, but speeches prepared for her or perhaps plagarized all together.

I feel actually sorry for Americans who think that Ms. Palin champions their cause; she only looks out for herself and speaks her mind, not yours. Going Rogue – you’d better believe it. It’s America! anything for a buck. Good luck with that Palin-ites. But hey, she hunts and fishes – for sport; utterly barbaric! If it’s for subsistance, it’s acceptable (barely) but for sport? Killing of anything should never be taken lightly, EVER!

Posted by Not_American | Report as abusive

This is really entertaining. Ben, were you suggesting that Condoleezza Rice be Sarah Palins VP? Maybe after her first term she could pass the torch on to Miley Cyrus! Being a woman in the spot light is great, doesn’t mean you should run our country. Mentioning Sarah Palin with Condoleezza Rice is an insult to Condoleezza, and I’m not particularly a fan of either.
Electing Right-wing idiots to office is not whats going to save our country. Changing our mindsets is what is going to change this country. Pick up a book, stop being ignorant and stop relying on the media for your opinion, positive or negative, about people. Require more out of the people that we have our children looking up to.

Posted by Danielle | Report as abusive

~~ GMT ~~
I got a big laugh out of your comments as i know the rest of the people here did… She accomplished so much in her short time as governor that Alaska was in the Black when she took office and she managed to run them into the Red in a very short time,before she quit yet another job… and then she did not want the state of Alaska to except Any stimulus money while they were in the Red..
If she is such a accomplished hunter,fisherman,and outdoorsman then she needs to stick to that, because if that is where her talents lie we done need her in office anywhere. we need someone educated in education,finances ( which she has proved she knows nothing about finances ),politics,and everything that goes with running any office of government.
And the only people that follow her are just uneducated and weak mined that they believe and spread the wackiest lies that are proven as lies by people that ARE educated in the fields that she is not.
Any office that she would be lucky enough to get she would quit it just like she did every school and government office that she tried to do..
I advise you to take a real good look at Palin and dont believe everything you hear. There are plenty of places to research her and all she says. It would be a shame for any one to be led astray and not check out a person to find out for yourself. Don’t believe anyone. check out all politicians, it is for all of our best interest that we do..

Posted by janey | Report as abusive

I’m so tired of the most popular and dominate news channel and it’s right wing followers continuing to assert that Obama is getting a free ride in the media and Palin is being tortured. You can’t have it both ways, with a dominating market share while posing as the victims.

The RNC channel [Fox ] hammers Obama 24 hours a day and softpitches Cheney, Palin, and Rove at every other opportunity.

With its undereducated opinion makers Hannity and Beck, the Billy Mayses of the political right pleading for special victims’ rights for the right wing, it makes me throw up in my mouth a little.

Haters keep hating, history will judge the Bush presidency as the worst of our generation and Obama’s as the best. Economic recovery, peace making and restored diplomatic credibility will doom the Republican right in the next election.

Posted by Lyle | Report as abusive

Matt. I will fully admit I don’t agree with all you have to say. But I know you don’t expect me to agree with all you have to say.

I appreciate your overall perspective on the news media and did not just lash out at one news station…FOX, of course. That is one dimensional thinking and does not get at the crux of the matter, that news is biased toward whatever political leaning it’s owner sides with. No surprise there.

I will say this about Glenn Beck. Of all the personalities on TV reporting news or current events, he is closer to the middle than you might think. He has criticized George Bush, the republican party, Carrie Prejean (sp?), the democrats, Barak Obama, basically both sides of the political spectrum. He does his research and he doesn’t pick sides. I didn’t hear the left complain about him when he was harshly criticizing Bush during the last 2 years of his term. Trust me, he held no punches.

Only now, that he is criticizing Obama because of the direction he is taking this country has he become an enemy of the left. But again, he is doing no different than when he criticized Bush. In addition, he would not and did not vote for McCain (he said he could not give him his vote because McCain was really no different from Obama….).

So, with that being said, Beck is really not the problem. I guess he is if he is going after your guy, but otherwise, he is a wise sage…


Posted by TC | Report as abusive


Thanks for the nice and thoughtful reply.

I’ll check Glen Beck out again. Not sure if I’ll end up agreeing with you, but I appreciate that you took time to give such a nice response.



Posted by Matt | Report as abusive

Palin, McCain, Obama, Pelosi, etc. Some of the most worthless humans on earth. Why can’t they be like Ted Kennedy?

Posted by Mufaso | Report as abusive

More of what the GOP doesn’t need – conflict. They should all listen to crackerjack marketing guru, Heather:


Posted by bondwooley | Report as abusive

Palin is an idiot. Glen Beck is a pig.

Posted by Carl | Report as abusive

And Carl is a Moron

Posted by James Swanson | Report as abusive

She lies!

Posted by nellpost | Report as abusive