Latest Palin Kerfuffle -- I Was There!

Today's juicy inside-baseball political story is at CBS News, which has testy emails between Sarah Palin and McCain campaign strategist Steve Schmidt. Palin was demanding that the campaign respond to stories about her husband's involvement with an Alaskan secessionist group; Schmidt was telling her that responding is the wrong move, and the campaign won't do it.

The email exchange took place on October 15th -- a day that I spent trailing Sarah Palin around New Hampshire.

I wrote about my impressions from those appearances on my blog the next day, and then wrote an article for the next issue of the Phoenix.

I noted then that her rhetoric had been toned down -- at least in part, I suggested, because "the campaign wanted to rein [Palin] in, to avoid controversy before the final presidential debate to be held that evening." The CBS News story seems to confirm this, in discussing why Schmidt didn't want to issue a statement:

The final of the three presidential debates was just hours away, which would mark the unveiling of the soon-to-be canonized Joe The Plumber. The Joe The Plumber narrative was the Republicans' secret weapon -- the last chance to put a chink in Obama's seemingly impervious armor. It was not a time for distractions, but the campaign was compelled to deal with the drama that seemed to follow Palin wherever she went.

In the email exchange, Palin claimed that the Alaskan Independence Party issue "cropped up all day today - two reporters, a protestor's sign, and many shout-outs all claiming Todd's involvement in an anti-American political party." Schmidt refuted her claim, writing that "According to your staff there have been no media inquiries into this and you received no questions about it during your interviews."

I don't have my notes from that day handy at the moment, but I can tell you that Palin had very little opportunity to see or hear anyone protesting her; she was very well isolated from what few anti-Palin demonstrators there were. And I have no recollection of seeing or hearing the AIP issue cropping up at all that day -- although again, I'm just relying on my memory and could be mistaken.

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