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Peggy Noonan explains: She doesn't think 'it's over' for John McCain

September 4, 2008 |  9:16 am

Republican-speechwriter-turned-columnist Peggy Noonan was a center of attention Wednesday when, in a casual conversation inadvertently recorded after she had wrapped up an appearance on MSNBC, she seemed to say that, in her view, John McCain had no chance of winning the presidency.

"It's over" Noonan can be heard saying on the clip as she, NBC political director Chuck Todd and Mike Murphy (another one-time GOP political operative) discuss the ramifications of McCain's pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Noonan has since clarified the context of her comment, and it's not as has been interpreted, she says.

She doesn't believe McCain can't win. Indeed, in a message she sent out after the conversation on the MSNBC set made it onto YouTube, she noted that "at an on-the-record press symposium on the campaign on Monday, when all of those on the panel were pressed to predict who would win, I said that I didn't know, but that we just might find, 'This IS a country for old men.' That is, McCain may well win. I do not think the campaign is over, I do not think this is settled ..."

Her "it's over" comment, she said, referred to the assumption among some GOP leaders that reactions within the Republican base -- such as the enthusiastic embrace of Palin -- reflect the attitudes of most Americans. It is those days, Noonan says, that are "over."

Our colleague Frank James at The Swamp blog has more on Noonan's clarification.

-- Don Frederick

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