McCain campaign officials are unloading on Sarah Palin. Fox News is reporting that staffers were shocked after her selection that Palin did not know that Africa was a continent and could not name the countries who were members of the NAFTA agreement. In the meantime, Newsweek is reporting that aides were furious with Palin’s shopping binges — which appear bigger than reported and contradict her statements that these clothes were forced upon her. One aide at the time complained that it was “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast.”
[UPDATE: The Fox account has been thrown into question after one of the alleged sources was outed as a fraud. It is not clear if this was the only source or even one of the sources used by Fox]
Since Palin can see Canada from her home, one would have thought that two countries would have been clear (Canada and the United States). That would still be a passing grade of 66 percent, even if she missed Mexico. NAFTA is particularly bizarre since it impacts Alaska and, given Palin’s claim of executive experience and pro-business savvy, it should have been well known to the governor of a neighboring state. Of course, George Bush told the head of another country recently that he did not know what the G20 was. However, Palin’s problems with basic geography and other subjects could have something to do with the fact that she took six years and six school changes to earn a four-year college degree.
McCain officials are reporting that Palin was something of a prima donna and difficult to work with — including temper tantrums and complaints over her handling. McCain aides reportedly refused Palin’s request to speak at the concession event. Freed from the confines of the campaign, there is a stampede of former aides to media outlets to criticize Palin and give new information on how difficult she proved as a person and candidate to work with during the campaign.
Fox also confirms that there was virtually no vetting of Palin by McCain before he selected her to be the second most powerful person in the nation. She was described as a “hail Mary” play for the campaign that was sinking in the polls and an obvious mistake by campaign officials.
Now, Newsweek is reporting that Palin’s expensive shopping trips were larger than expected and that Palin ignored campaign demands that she limit herself to three outfits. This directly contradicts what Palin said publicly. Here is how the magazine described it:
hile publicly supporting Palin, McCain’s top advisers privately fumed at what they regarded as her outrageous profligacy. One senior aide said that Nicolle Wallace had told Palin to buy three suits for the convention and hire a stylist. But instead, the vice presidential nominee began buying for herself and her family—clothes and accessories from top stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus. According to two knowledgeable sources, a vast majority of the clothes were bought by a wealthy donor, who was shocked when he got the bill. Palin also used low-level staffers to buy some of the clothes on their credit cards. The McCain campaign found out last week when the aides sought reimbursement. One aide estimated that she spent “tens of thousands” more than the reported $150,000, and that $20,000 to $40,000 went to buy clothes for her husband. Some articles of clothing have apparently been lost. An angry aide characterized the shopping spree as “Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast,” and said the truth will eventually come out when the Republican Party audits its books.
For the Newsweek story, click here. While Newsweek does not accuse her of lying, the report clearly contradicts her public statements that the clothes were forced upon her, were worth far less than the reported $150,000, and that she turned back much of the clothes — which were left in the belly of the plane. She described herself as “frugal” and denies the impression that she went on a shopping spree. Click here. At the time, aides were furious about her addressing the issue and it now appears that they may have been concerned about the truth of the statements.
In the meantime, Alaskans (who just reelected a convicted felon and sent an equally unethical House member back to Congress) greeted Palin at the airport chanting “2012, 2012!” Democrats, pundits, and Tina Fey certainly hope that they are right.
For the Fox interview, click here.
For the Fox report, click here.