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There they go again

Vanity Fair Palin hit piece ignites a firestorm

The NY Daily News is promoting the August edition of Vanity Fair, in which a vicious hit piece full of lies, distortions and innuendo savagely attacks everything about Sarah Palin, not the least of which is her character.

The author is the liberal magazine’s national editor Todd Purdum. If you don’t know where he’s coming from, consider that Purdum formerly hacked for the New York Times, the newspaper of the Democrat Party’s liberal wing.  He is married to Dee Dee Myers, who was Bill Clinton’s White House press secretary from 1993 to 1994. Clinton has called Purdum “a real slimy guy,” “a scumbag” and a” dishonest guy.” Clinton should know. The former president was impeached on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice by the U.S. House of Representatives in 1998.

So the VF hit piece, written by “a dishonest guy,” quotes “a slew of senior members of McCain’s campaign team” who bash Sarah Palin. None of these McCain staffers has the courage to put their names behind their attacks, of course. And none of the McCain aides who have consistently defended Gov. Palin, such as Randy Scheunemann, are quoted. Balance is the last thing on a writer’s mind when he’s authoring a smear job.

The anonymous Palin-bashing campaign aides haven’t changed their modus operandi since last November, when DBKP pointed out:

As Rush Limbaugh observed, “John McCain’s campaign staff has spent more time attacking Sarah Palin than it did attacking Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers…and Obama himself.”

Michelle Malkin called the Palin-bashers inside the McCain campaign “classless cowards”:

“At least all the Hollywood and Manhattan Palin-haters were willing to sign their names and put their faces on their attacks.”

Six months later, and there they go again. Unable to man up and admit that they ran one of the worst presidential campaigns in U.S. electoral history, the cowardly campaign staffers are repeating their hearsay attacks on Gov. Palin.

Why, you may ask, are they doing this? It’s simple, really. They want jobs with any potential GOP presidential candidate for 2012 who will hire them. In order to excuse the poor performance of the campaign they ran for McCain, they still need their scapegoat, and they long ago chose McCain’s former running mate to blame their incompetence on. Though it’s only 2009, we’re approaching the point where the planning for primary campaigns begins, and staffing is one of the first things the nascent campaign organizations start thinking about.

Who is behind the anonymous dissing of Sarah Palin? The first former McCain staffer outed for kneecapping Gov. Palin was Nicole Wallace. Wallace had been a political analyst for the CBS Evening News, where she became friends with Katie Couric and arranged the interview with Sarah Palin for which Couric prepared by studying with anti-Palin foreign-policy advisors who went on to campaign for then-candidate Barack Obama.

Late in October, The Prowler revealed:

“Former Mitt Romney presidential campaign staffers, some of whom are currently working for Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin’s bid for the White House, have been involved in spreading anti-Palin spin to reporters, seeking to diminish her standing after the election. ‘Sarah Palin is a lightweight, she won’t be the first, not even the third, person people will think of when it comes to 2012,’ says one former Romney aide, now working for McCain-Palin. ‘The only serious candidate ready to challenge to lead the Republican Party is Mitt Romney. He’s in charge on November 5th.'”

The Prowler added:

“Some former Romney aides were behind the recent leaks to media, including CNN, that Governor Sarah Palin was a ‘diva’ and was going off message intentionally.”

The Romney supporters in the McCain campaign had access to internal polling which indicated well in advance of the November 4 election that McCain had no chance to win. So they began working to position their man Mitt for a run in 2012.

Just two days after the election, The Palmetto Scoop reported:

“One of the first stories to hit the national airwaves was the claim of a major internal strife between close McCain aides and the folks handling his running mate Sarah Palin.”

“I’m told by very good sources that this was indeed the case and that a rift had developed, but it was between Palin’s people and the staffers brought on from the failed presidential campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney, not McCain aides.”

“The sources said nearly 80 percent of Romney’s former staff was absorbed by McCain and these individuals were responsible for what amounts to a premeditated, last-minute sabotage of Palin.”

These aides loyal to Romney inside the McCain campaign, said The Scoop, reportedly saw that Palin would be a serious contender for the Republican nomination in 2012 or 2016, which made her a threat to another presidential quest by Romney.

Erick Erickson, who organized Operation Leper, said:

“Here’s what I think: I think there are some staffers on the McCain campaign who seriously screwed up the roll out of Sarah Palin, to which Governor Palin herself objected. These staffers are now out trying to finish her off thinking, as typical D.C. types do, that if they don’t do it to her, she’ll do it to them. They just never understood who Palin is or what she is about.”

“Likewise, I do think there are some staffers and others who expect Mitt Romney to run again in 2012, they decided McCain could not win, and decided to undermine Sarah Palin and her chances hoping it would ingratiate themselves with Mitt Romney. This also explains people like Kathleen Parker, who lusts the magnificent hair.”

There’s no evidence that Romney himself directed or was even aware of what his former staffers were up to. But some Romney supporters have engaged in some below-the-belt campaign tactics against Republican challengers. Just ask Fred Thompson.

Reaction: Some McCain staffers whose loyalties may have remained with Romney include Tucker Eskew, Nicole Wallace, John Feehery, Carl Forti, Kevin Madden, Michelle Laxalt, Joe Pounder and Joe Gray.

Bill Kristol names Steve Schmidt as one of the McCain staffers trash-talking Palin. Other reaction from Jim Geraghty and Tom Bevin shows the Vainly Unfair smear job to be liberal boilerplate offering nothing new to the same old lies from the left.

Joseph Russo eviscerates Purdumb’s hit piece, and William Jacobson says you can tell the 2012 campaign is already underway because the drive-by media is attacking Sarah Palin “based on anonymous sources… dubious rumors and innuendo.” Dan Riehl didn’t even have to read the article to point out, “Now these are the same people who let it out that McCain was uncomfortable discussing economics in the middle of a financial collapse, yet it’s Sarah Palin’s fault that he lost? What a bunch of nonsense.” Even liberal blogger Andrew Perez worries that the VF slime job may help Gov. Palin instead of hurt her: “It reads like an attack piece and will help to reinforce Palin’s assertion… that the left-wing media is out to destroy her…” Andrew, it “reads like” an attack piece because that’s what it is.

In the wake of the Vainly Unfair hit piece, three McCain staffers have gone on the record with the Washington Times in support of Gov. Palin:

Randy Scheunemann, director of foreign policy and national security for the McCain-Palin campaign and who played Joe Biden in Mrs. Palin’s debate prep, was happy to push back against the Vanity Fair piece, saying she was an impressive and capable candidate.

He recalled her performance in the vice-presidential debate where she “held her own and went toe-to-toe” against Mr. Biden, a candidate with much more experience in debates and decades of public service. She was “incredibly hard-working and concerned she’d do a good job for John McCain who was a national hero and plucked her from obscurity,” Mr. Scheunemann said. “That weighed on her every day.”

“It’s disheartening and dishonorable anyone who worked for John McCain would participate in this kind of character assassination against his running mate,” Mr. Scheunemann said.

Jason Recher, who worked closely with Mrs. Palin as a vice presidential candidate, said “The mean tone of this article is completely false, this is not the Sarah Palin I knew and spent two and a half months with.” He also said he was tired of reporters using information about Mrs. Palin from people unwilling to go on the record.

David Welch, deputy research director for the McCain-Palin ticket, said he was “shocked to read the Vanity Fair article about Governor Palin and the allegations made against her by former staffers” and complained “significant parts of the story are based on half truths and gossip from staffers who refused to go on the record.”

None of these men were approached by Vanity Fair to discuss their experience working with Mrs. Palin for Mr. Purdum’s piece.

Pam Geller weighs in, as does Mike Sargent. And here’s Geraghty again, this time taking apart Purdum’s smear job point by point. Meanwhile, Jonathan Martin hosts a tag team match at Politico: Kristol and Scheunemann vs. Schmidt and Wallace.

And this is just the first day’s fallout.

- JP

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