Strains Between McCain and Palin Aides Go Public
Report: Palin’s Wardrobe Is to Be Audited by GOP
By KATE SNOW
Nov. 6, 2008 —
Now that the defeated team of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin have gone their separate ways, the knives are out and Palin is the one who is getting filleted.
Revelations from anonymous critics from within the McCain-Palin campaign suggest a number of complaints about the Alaskan governor:
Fox News reports that Palin didn’t know Africa was a continent and did not know the member nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement — the United States, Mexico and Canada — when she was picked for vice president.
The New York Times reports that McCain aides were outraged when Palin staffers scheduled her to speak with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a conversation that turned out to be a radio station prank.
Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more than the previously reported $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family.
Several publications say she irked the McCain campaign by asking to make her own concession speech on election night.
The tension is likely to continue or get worse. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee are heading to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, according to The New York Times.
But those reports are no longer in the rumor stage as McCain loyalists are now blasting away at the Alaska governor, who was a favorite of the Republican right during the campaign, but was cited in numerous polls as a reason why many Americans wouldn’t vote for the Arizona Republican.
Perhaps the most dangerous allegation for Palin are reports in The New York Times and Newsweek that when she was urged by McCain adviser Nicole Wallace to buy three suits for the Republican convention and three suits for the campaign trail, she went on the now-infamous shopping spree at swank stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.
A Republican donor who agreed to foot a majority of the expenses was stunned when he received the bill, Newsweek reported. Both the Times and Newsweek report that the budget for the clothing was expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead, the amount reported by the Republican National Committee was $150,000.
That wasn’t the whole tab, however, according to Newsweek. The magazine claims that Palin leaned on some low-level staffers to put thousands of dollars of additional purchases on their credit cards. The national committee and McCain became aware of the extra expenditures, including clothes for husband Todd Palin, when the staffers sought reimbursement, Newsweek reported.
McCain Aide Calls Palin Family ‘Wasilla Hillbillies’
There is one comment in particular from a McCain aide that guaranteed to heighten friction between the two camps. The angry aide described the Palin family shopping spree to Newsweek as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.”
It’s unclear how much McCain knew about the clothing debacle. Reports suggest that he was kept out of the loop for fear that he would not approve.
Both Newsweek and The New York Times say McCain and Palin had little contact with each other.
“I think it was a difficult relationship,” one top McCain official confided to The New York Times. But a high level McCain adviser told ABC News that the two had a good working relationship.
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