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McCain aides trash Palin (anonymously) in Vanity Fair. What else is new...

Republican presidential candidate John McCain names Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008

Longtime friends and campaign workers for Arizona Sen. John McCain have been talking to Vanity Fair about what Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's candidacy as vice president did for the GOP ticket in 2008.

"A Little Shop of Horrors," said one unnamed aide.

Perhaps they want to keep the governor -- still a hot-button favorite among social conservatives -- off the ticket in 2012?

In a just-published piece by Todd Purdum in the August Vanity Fair, McCain aides said they still suffer a kind of survivor's guilt. (An earlier version of this post misspelled the author's last name as Purdam.)

"They can't quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be," Purdam writes.

A former reporter for the New York Times and husband of former Clinton press secretary Dee Dee Myers, Purdam has a few nuggets of news. Reports of tension between Palin and McCain are, well, true.

She maintained "only the barest level of civil discourse" with Tucker Eskew, the operative assigned to be her chief minder, Purdam reports. Mark McKinnon, a longtime McCain admirer and a former Democrat who told insiders he would never work against Barack Obama in the general election, signed on to be Palin's "whisperer," the calming influence. And Obama, on learning of Palin's selection, said Palin would never have time to get up to speed. "I don't care how talented she is, this is really a leap," said Obama, telling aides it had taken him four months to learn how to be a national candidate.

But for the most, the piece reads more like juicy political speculation than news. Many of the quotes are from aides who would rather not be named. And it's hard to read the title -- "It Came From Wasilla" -- as anything but an insult, at least to anyone who's a person who came from somewhere.

Palin refused to talk to Vanity Fair for the piece. At work on her own book about her life -- to be published jointly by HarperCollins and the Bible-publishing house Zondervan -- the self-described pit bull-with-lipstick  from Alaska will get plenty of ink for her rebuttal.

In the meantime, here come the knives.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo credit: J.D. Pooley / Getty Images

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Comments () | Archives (23)

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Just more evidence that the idiots running McCain's campaign did the poorest job since the Dole campaign in '96. Pretty pathetic when you consider their opponent was a southside Chicago activist who counted among his best friends a race baiting preacher, a Black Muslim racist demagogue, and a White domestic terrorist.

Hey...when the spotlight of failure is on you, what does human nature tell you to do? Shift the blame for your screwups to someone else...which is what they have done with their continuing slanderous attacks on Gov. Palin. These guys couldn't get anyone elected as dogcatcher. Disgusting.

It really is interesting how these twits view someone who has probably made more executive decisions in her present position than they have made in their lifetime. Then we put the brilliant, all knowing, all seeing, master of elequent speech in the Vice Presidential position who was supposed to be ready. Haven't seen much of him since he tipped off where the secure site was located.

So you wrote and article that says nothing new about an article that says nothing new. Welcome to the new content providers on the web - and we're supposed to eventually pay for this crap?

Can someone, anyone stop this Moose killer before her ego gets as large as the State she supposedly represents? Sarah Palin is living proof that American politics has nothing to do with ability, intelligence or compassion because she has none of these qualities.

Didn't you get the memo? This is how journalism works now. Unattributed comments by anonymous figures in the White House served as hard journalism for the past five years, and you somehow expect Vanity Fair to take the high ground? Get real -- journalism is dead, long live gossip.

I think Barak Obama was right, it takes time to learn enough to run a credible campaign on the national level. That would mean that John McCain was ill advised to choose someone other than Romney or Huckaby. Sarah Palin might be a great candidate if not flung in among the wolves with no time to prepare herself for the ordeal.

Sara - you are just another 15 minute face that won't go away. You live in a world where contraindications between your personal life and what you espouse are as wide as the distance between Alaska and Russia (which you can't see from your house).

This article in VF is too soft on the reality of the wicked witch of Alaska. She is not the face or voice of America; she is the voice and face of the bad side of Christianity in government.

Yet more proof that cousins shouldn't marry.

The Dems and Repubs are all scared of her. She is a lot smarter than they give her credit for and they are simply trying the best way they can to run her down. The old sticks and stones saying holds true and it won't even phase her. Bless you Palin!

"opponent was a southside Chicago activist"
AND a Harvard law school graduate who taught constitutional law, worked as a civil rights attorney, served 3 terms in the Illinois legislature, and 1 term in the United States Senate.
Sarah Palin is governor of a state whose entire population is less than that of Memphis, Tennessee and which is the "welfare queen" of states in its dependence on oil subsidies.
She's also an exhibitionist and nutty as a fruitcake. The Republicans deserved to lose if for no other reason than being disrespectful enough to the vice-presidency to run her.

People who support Mrs. Palin ask yourself one question.Do you think Sarah Palin could handle all of the issues that the current President is handling?? If you say "yes" then you have a serious judgement problem.

Todd Purdum told MSNBC that Wall Street and the neo-cons are groups that will never support Sarah Palin. Can you name two other groups who have done more damage to the country?

I'm really getting tired of professional reporters repeating the 'Palin goes on a shopping spree' story without any evidence whatsoever. Any pictures or video of her going into a clothing store (other than the Walmart diaper trip?) any interviews with clerks who waited on her while she tried on these clothes? No. Does anyone think that if she had done all this shopping there wouldn't be dozens of people eagerly talking about her visits to their stores?

Never happened. Staffers went wild, the same staffers who arrogantly assumed that someone from Wasilla couldn't figure out how to dress. Probably that Anonymous staffer doing all the talking now.

Clayton, you are the one with the judgement problems. You act as if Obama is handling the current issues. If by handling you mean unemploment nearing 10%, taking over the auto industry, creating the largest tax increase in the countriy's history with cap-and-tax, Iranians being slaughtered in the streets and siding with Chavez and Castro then you are right there is NO way Sarah could ever do that.

Palin 2012, dismiss her all you like libs.

"Do you think Sarah Palin could handle all of the issues that the current President is handling??" The current President is running this country into a financial hole we are never gonna get out of, except for all-out bankruptcy. Not even my grandchildren are gonna be able to pay off our national debt.

At least with Sarah Palin I get the feeling she cares more about the country than herself, as opposed to the "current President" who is only caring about what he can do now to get reelected in 3.5 years. "Screw the deficit, we need to spend our way out of this recession." Ha, what a maroon! At least she comes across to me as honest and sincere. Which is what the Republican 'handlers' tried to take away.

PS - George Bush didn't do much better than the "current President".

Ron Paul 2012!

1) McCain's chief campaign aide went to the same college prep as I did, A college prep that never in my time there admitted they were honestly defeated in anything, Instead, they blame someone/something else. It's the Brophy way. Beyond (but related I suspect) to that, why aren't these little maggots willing to put a name to their tripe? Apparently they lack integrity, that's why
2) As a conservative I was less than thrilled by he nomination of "Milquetoast McCain", even as an Arizonan. But the nomination of Sarah Palin gave me and others hope that our dismal chances might turn around. Yet, how do he McCain people handle her? When they weren't hiding her they allowing her to be interviewed by dedicated left-wing journalists like Kouric and Gibbons. Way to go guys, I wouldn't want anyone to know who I am, either!

OK, about her being ready for the job, here goes....

The Republican Party could care less about readiness.

Reagan and George W. were imbasills, intellectual voids, simple minded fools who simply follow orders of those who elect them. They were nothing more than front men, and very stupid ones at that. But they followed well.

George W. still doesn't speak for the party, President Cheney does and pulls the line for those people who elected him and that doesn't mean the voting public.

The Republican Party after Nixon had continuously worked to elect men the can control and the party runs the show. Just follow the script, stupid.

PALIN does need a brain, her problem is will she follow. And that may prove to be her downfall. Who can trust her. She obviously wasn't willing to follow during the McCain campaign.


“The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government… And I won’t be buried under their damn flag,” - Joe Vogler in 1991, Founder of the Alaska Independence Party.....“I’m an Alaskan, not an American. I've got no use for America or her damned institutions."

Sarah Palin’s husband, Todd, was a member the Alaskan Independence Party, a radical group working for Alaskan secession from the United States. Todd Palin registered in October 1995 to the Alaska Independence Party and remained a member until 2002, when he registered as undeclared while his wife ran for political office. She is more than sympathetic to the cause of secession; she sleeps with a man who is committed to the idea of destroying the unity of the United States.

Sarah Palin and 'first dudes' political alliance with a terrorist who was murdered in 1993 during “a plastic explosives sale gone bad.” Todd Palin joined the party two years later. Neither Sarah nor Todd were 9 years old at the time.

Dexter Clark, vice chairman of the A.I.P.: refers to the American soldiers in Alaska as "occupying troops." Michael Hill, a representative of A.I.P., stated on Glen Beck’s program that the goal of the A.I.P. “is to dissolve the United States and the Constitution.

Sarah congratulates the secession party only 6 months ago on their political gains.


Palin, Typical Republican trying to destroy the United States and its Constitution.

Palin is to normal for the American idiots! Americans can't see the forrest for the trees. Sarah Palin represents the America of 40 years ago and the stupid people of America in particular the young people do not have a clue of the great nation we were in the 1950's. The deranged college professors of today fill the young with Karl Marx theories and who follows this is non-other than the imposter people call a president. Very glad to only be visiting this country...

Regardless of one's assessment of Palin, one must agree with those who've already commented that this whole stink -- the picking of Palin, yes, but more importantly the lack of cooperation with her then, and the anonymous trashing of her now -- rises from McCain more than anyone else.

McCain chose her. McCain may not be able to control his campaign aides now, post-campaign, but he can do his utmost, such as by telephoning and emailing them to STFU about Palin-trashing.

For the most part, in contrast, Palin and her "native" crew seem to be taking the high road, refusing to snipe back at McCain. (This isn't to say that her critics therefore were wrong. Just that she's being more classy after the campaign.)

News to Barack Obama, you're still not ready or you don't represent the "bitter americans" you spoke so condescendingly about during the campaign, otherwise you would have stepped into Chase Bank's business months ago.


The irony of your labeling as "imbasills" those whom you deem lacking in intellect appears to be lost only on you.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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