Thursday, November 06, 2008

Newsweek's Revelations

Newsweek's Special Election Project, according to their description: "...first published in an inside, behind-the-scenes account of the presidential election produced by a special team of reporters working for more than a year on an embargoed basis and detached from the weekly magazine and Everything the project team learns is kept confidential until the day after the polls close." Here are some direct quotes of revelations from this project. I present them first without comment, then add a few afterward (note, there's more on the website):
  1. "NEWSWEEK has also learned that Palin's shopping spree at high-end department stores was more extensive than previously reported. While 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.

  2. "McCain himself rarely spoke to Palin during the campaign, and aides kept him in the dark about the details of her spending on clothes because they were sure he would be offended. Palin asked to speak along with McCain at his Arizona concession speech Tuesday night, but campaign strategist Steve Schmidt vetoed the request."

  3. "The Obama campaign was provided with reports from the Secret Service showing a sharp and disturbing increase in threats to Obama in September and early October, at the same time that many crowds at Palin rallies became more frenzied. Michelle Obama was shaken by the vituperative crowds and the hot rhetoric from the GOP candidates. "Why would they try to make people hate us?" Michelle asked a top campaign aide."

  4. "Obama was never inclined to choose Sen. Hillary Clinton as his running mate, not so much because she had been his sometime bitter rival on the campaign trail, but because of her husband. Still, as Hillary's name came up in veep discussions, and Obama's advisers gave all the reasons why she should be kept off the ticket, Obama would stop and ask, "Are we sure?" He needed to be convinced one more time that the Clintons would do more harm than good. McCain, on the other hand, was relieved to face Sen. Joe Biden as the veep choice, and not Hillary Clinton, whom the McCain camp had truly feared."

  5. "McCain was dumbfounded when Congressman John Lewis, a civil-rights hero, issued a press release comparing the GOP nominee with former Alabama governor George Wallace, a segregationist infamous for stirring racial fears. McCain had devoted a chapter to Lewis in one of his books, "Why Courage Matters," and had so admired Lewis that he had once taken his children to meet him."

  6. "On the night she officially lost the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton enjoyed a long and friendly phone conversation with McCain. Clinton was actually on better terms with McCain than she was with Obama. Clinton and McCain had downed shots together on Senate junkets; they regarded each other as grizzled veterans of the political wars and shared a certain disdain for Obama as flashy and callow."

  7. "At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Palin was completely unfazed by the boys' club fraternity she had just joined. One night, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said."
OK, some quick comments:
  1. The towel story is the most revealing (har) about Palin's character, even more than the incredible spending/theft (which can be explained as a combo of pure Republican greed and the Beverly Hillbillies). Palin knowingly used sex as a weapon and that above anything else was why she was hated by moderate & liberal women.

  2. The McCain campaign "truly feared" Hillary Clinton. What rubes. But it gives more context for the insane choice of Palin.

  3. The John Lewis story highlights a growing impression about John McCain's cluelessness and ambivalence in this campaign. McCain comes across as a sheltered, half-dead candidate who had no idea what his operatives were doing in his name. I'm not exonerating him, but it does explain why his speeches (most notably his concession) was in a vastly different tone from his campaign. The GOP Machine never liked him and never trusted him... for the very same reasons that McCain was popular and liked by everyone else in America. McCain's joking accessability and his reasonableness were anathema to the Bush/Rove Party. And with the same short-sightedness that destroyed Iraq and spoiled the bipartisan patriotism after 9/11 was the same toxic stupidity that destroyed McCain's reputation and chose Sarah Palin.

  4. A sign of the toxicity of the GOP, and especially Palin, is the bit about the threats to the Obamas as a direct result of Palin's rhetoric. We can not forget, nor forgive, the GOP for that.

  5. "Clinton and McCain had downed shots together on Senate junkets;" Ugh

  6. "Clinton was actually on better terms with McCain than she was with Obama. ... [Clinton and McCain] regarded each other as grizzled veterans of the political wars and shared a certain disdain for Obama as flashy and callow." Ya know, that didn't come across at all. Heh heh heh. Losers.

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