Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Was Sarah Palin Properly Vetted By The McCain Team?

Right Wingnut has initiated a debate with me in which he insists that the liberal media started pushing the meme that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted and that meme is now being pushed by bitter Romney supporters such as myself: 
A few weeks ago, I started to notice a theme developing - designed to discredit Sarah Palin and the amount of vetting that was done prior to adding her to the ticket in 2008. Nearly every MSM article about the topic suggested that the GOP nominee would be more cautious in their vetting process to avoid making the same "mistake" the McCain campaign made.

Initially, the propagation of this false meme was mostly limited to left-wing journalists with an axe to grind. Lately, it seems that some on the right (mostly Romney supporters who are still bitter that McCain picked her over Mitt) are seizing on the opportunity to pile on.
This claim is false.  

The claim that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted was mentioned almost immediately after John McCain announced her as his running mate and it was an observation that was made by people both on the left and the right during the 2008 campaign. For example, Jazz Shaw, a well known conservative blogger who writes articles for the popular conservative website, Hot Air, said back in 2008 that he suspects that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted:
Ok, team, we clearly need to address this a bit more. First, let’s start with a bit of background. The original intent of this post, as a follow-on to a previous one, was to express not only my personal dissatisfaction with McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin as the running mate, but to highlight my suspicions that Ms. Palin had not been vetted as fully as some of the other potential nominees.  
Back in 2008, Allahpundit, writing for Hot Air had an article that had links to other articles that raised questions over whether or not she was properly vetted. Other conservative websites such as Townhall.com,  Little Green Football, Right Wing News and Red State all discussed the issue of whether or not Palin was properly vetted during the 2008 Presidential election. Conservatives during the 2008 election had every right to be concerned about whether or not Sarah Palin was properly vetted.

John Aravosis, a blogger, carried a short little article in 2008 on his blog, AmericaBlog about how Sarah Palin wasn't vetted. 

Let us review the facts why so many people on the left, right and center who were in the media, in the political trenches and at home were concerned about the vetting of Sarah Palin.

There were news reports that John McCain deliberately chose not to involve some of his top senior campaign advisors when they were deciding who to pick as his running mate. For example, McCain spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer didn't even know how McCain and Palin knew  each other:
"You're running flat into the wall of my ignorance here," she said. "I truly have no indication whatsoever the extent of a relationship that exists with the Governor of Alaska."
There are also reports that the McCain team did not contact state political leaders or business leaders about Sarah Palin. Moreover, it appears that the McCain team didn't even look at the local newspaper archives to see what they had to say about Palin.  They didn't even contact Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, a man that Palin tried to fire after he refused to fire a family member from the Alaskan police force. Even more surprisingly, there is a report by Marc Ambinder that the McCain team didn't even conduct an FBI background check on the governor. 

In fact, it appears that a intensive vetting of Sarah Palin didn't occur until shortly before it was announced she was McCain's running mate:
Aides to Mr. McCain said they had a team on the ground in Alaska now to look more thoroughly into Ms. Palin’s background. A Republican with ties to the campaign said the team assigned to vet Ms. Palin in Alaska had not arrived there until Thursday, a day before Mr. McCain stunned the political world with his vice-presidential choice. The campaign was still calling Republican operatives as late as Sunday night asking them to go to Alaska to deal with the unexpected candidacy of Ms. Palin.
It appears to conservatives and liberals and reporters that the McCain team was trying to close the barn door after the horse has already bolted.

Lets not forget that experienced Conservative campaign advisors have always believed that she was not properly vetted. For example, Sara Fagen, a former political director for President George W. Bush.had this to say about the vetting process of Sarah Palin:
"There's one thing the people in the Republican establishment agree on: There was clearly not a thorough thought process or vetting that went into the vetting of Sarah Palin. They didn't ask the fundamental questions or spend enough time with her,"
Finally, McCain advisor, A.B. Culvahouse, who says that the vetting process was fully conducted. In contrast, we have at least two McCain staffers who say she wasn't vetted. For example, Nicolle Wallace, one of the ’08 campaign’s top advisors, said that the HBO movie, Game Change, was too close to the truth as to make it uncomfortable. to watch. We also have Steve Schmidt who also says Sarah Palin wasn't vetted:
“It’s a story of when cynicism and idealism collide, when you have to do the things that are necessary to win to try to get in office to do the great things you want to do for the country,” Schmidt said. “And I think it showed a process of vetting that was debilitated by secrecy, that was compartmentalized, that failed, that led to a result that was reckless for the country. And I think when you look back at that race, you see this person who is just so phenomenally talented at so many levels, an ability to connect. But also someone who had a lot of flaws as someone running to be in the national command authority who clearly wasn’t prepared.”
Its clear to me that the McCain team is still in disagreement on the issue of whether she was properly vetted or not. Steve Schmidt and Nicole Wallace have been vilified for reporting their observation about what they saw and as controversial as their testimony may be, we still have to take it into consideration given what we know of the facts as reviewed above.  

In the end, the debate over whether or not Sarah Palin was properly vetted or not will go on for a very long time. Historians, journalists, academics, politicians, bloggers, activists and people will debate this issue for many years to come. However, there are enough facts, individually and collectively, to give a reasonable person a legitimate and rational basis for their belief that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted. This belief isn't some fringe conspiracy but a belief held by a lot of people on a wide range of the political spectrum. More importantly, conservatives of all stripes and in various levels of power and influence in the Republican party such as Dick Cheney and Ann Coulter believe she wasn't properly vetted.  

In conclusion, it isn't just some blogger such as myself that believes she wasn't properly vetted. This belief isn't just some meme that is being pushed by people on the left or the right because they don't like Sarah Paln and have some sort of axe to grind against her. There are plenty of facts and evidence from a wide range of sources and people that are independent of each other that gives people reasonable doubt that she was vetted. As a result, I stand by my belief that the McCain team did a shoddy job vetting Sarah Palin.

This article was cross posted from Conservative Samizdat.

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Anonymous said...

vetted or not, palin was/is incompetent and inexperienced to be president. she can talk the talk but can never walk the walk. judge people by their actions not by what they say. Romney said liberal positions in the past but his deeds/accomplishments/actions were more conservative positions.

Terrye said...

That was thorough

marK said...

To me, the question has never been if she was "properly vetted" or not. Good grief, Reagan's "vetting" of Bush consisted of a single question -- "Can you support my economics policies?" Less than an hour after George answered in the affirmative, his name was been announced in the 1980 convention.

The only question about any potential VP that really matters is "Will this guy/gal be able to handle a Presidential campaign?" Bush had proven in the example above to be able to do that. He was Reagan #1 adversary in the 1980 primaries.

It is not an easy question to answer. Look at Rick Perry. The guy was a three term governor of a huge important state like Texas. All the pre-campaign "vetting" said he would do great in a Presidential campaign. He sucked at it.

Sarah Palin, by contrast, was a freshman governor from the backwater state of Alaska. But I would submit she did better in her short time in the national spotlight that Rick Perry did.

How many "skeletons" of Sarah Palin were revealed after the nomination? None that I can think of, or at least none that were deal-killers. So the "vetting" team did do their job just fine.

The biggest knock against Palin is 2008 was her lack of issue preparedness. Now THAT is a legitimate concern. But even here I have a hard time believing McCain couldn't figure that out for himself. Remember Reagan's "vetting" of Bush? Are we to believe that McCain and his team didn't sit down with Palin and ask "What are your positions on issues A, B, C, D,...?" If they didn't, whose fault is that? And if they chose to go with her in spite of that, then again -- whose fault is that?

No, I submit that the vetting of Sarah Palin was perfectly adequate. If there is any fault for choosing her, it must lie with McCain. The buck stopped there, remember? If it was a bad decision -- and I am not inclined to think that it was -- then McCain bears the full blame.

marK said...

Let me rephrase my above comment in a different way. Here is a question to all those who insist that Palin's 2008 vetting was inadequate. "What about Palin should have been uncovered that would have prevented McCain from choosing her?" If the vetting was so slipshod, then what should have come out?

She sucked at running at the national level? There's no way to determine that before she actually does it (see Rick Perry example above).

Her daughter was pregnant out of wedlock? Already known.

She lacked preparation on the National issues? As stated above, I have a hard time believing McCain's team and McCain himself couldn't figure that out for themselves. A few simple questions would have uncovered that.

So once again the buck stops at McCain. He chose her. If there was any "blame", it was his alone. His vetting team had nothing to do with it.

Right Wingnut said...

You're digging your hole deeper by holding up Nicole Wallace and Steve Schmidt as your primary sources on whether she was vetted.

The second link from my response to you debunks most of the rest of your claims.

It's long. Don't strain yourself looking for the facts, when you can just rely on Steve Schmidt.


Right Wingnut said...


Oh....one more thing. There doesn't appear to be a cure for that "tin ear" of yours.

Anonymous said...

RW-NUT...the only person who thinks Wallace and Schmidt are not believable is you. You will never believe the truth. Sarah will never be ready for the oval office.


Anonymous said...

Sarah left Wasilla in debt..came out AFTER the campaign.
Sarah's huge approval ratings that swayed Mcain were the result of her heavily taxing the oil companies and then 'passing the wealth' to the residents of Alaska..of course they like her.
Sarah lied about Trig. She had her tubes tied after Piper and a dicumented full body massage in February 2008 in which she noted "NO" when asked on the admission form if she were pregnant and she complained of a sore abdomen from shots to remove fat.
Anyone who thinks she cared about being VP needs to look at what she has done to improve her image in the last 4 years. She took a well-paid job at Fox News where she can have a platform to show what she has learned. Instead, she uses it to bash the President and DC at every turn. She has learned nothing because she cares nothing about how this country works. She has her smarmy talking points and sticks to them. Like a high school girl outside the 'in group,' she never forgives, never figures out why she isn't more popular, and makes everything about her. She has done more damage to this nation than anyone has a right to do...she has divided us and lied to us, and it is past time for her to fade away and count her millions.

Anonymous said...

She also bragged about her tubal and whined about the pain for three weeks, refusing to take her turn with the car pool. This information comes from girlfriends in Wasilla who now despise her. She never pulled her weight with the carpool or anything else related to taking care of her kids. It was always left for one of her girlfriends to do. No wonder she doesn't have any girlfriends today.

Anonymous said...

Nice job refuting RW's false narrative that Palin was vetted, J.


Anonymous said...

Nice job refuting RW's false narrative that Palin was vetted, J.


narciso said...

Wallace and Schmidt, made those arguments, to cover that they had given up the game, their judgement
was tragically wrong. Obama's malpractice is not because 'he's
over his head' but because of what
he was taught, who he associated with.

marK said...

Let's face it. This argument is just proxy for the question, "Was it a mistake for McCain to select Palin?" If you think it was a mistake, you will likely argue that she wasn't adequately vetted. If you think it wasn't a mistake, then you will argue that she was adequately vetted.

It's just like those ABRs who complain that nobody adequately took MassCare to Romney during the primaries. If they had, the theory goes, Mitt would not be our nominee. If only someone had just vetted it "adequately", the results would have been different.

The anti-Palin folks claim the same thing. If only McCain had "adequately" vetted Palin, he would never have selected her.

narciso said...

You should know that claim about the Sports Arena, initally came from this reporter


So do we credit his view of Romney

Anonymous said...

Anyone who thinks the Wasilla Hillbilly was properly vetted is as delusional as she. She continues to be an embarrassment to America on a daily basis. The crap RAM has been writing for her makes me think RAM hates Sarah's guts. Clearly, Sarah doesn't proof anything her hack ghost writers write.

Anonymous said...

I think McCain did Palin a GREAT disservice by choosing her before she was ready, and by not knowing enough about her beforehand.

Everyone knows it was a last minute hail mary. The point is that Romney is not that careless, and thank heaven.


Joel2012 said...

The vetting of Palin wasn't the problem. Palin was the problem. It should never had come to this. She was not qualified and it was all too clear as the campaign unfolded. For that matter neither was the incumbent but the difference was that he was more able to play the role better than she was. He fooled an entire nation. The good news is he won't be able to do it again as he now has a record for people to judge him by.

J said...

Right Wingnut April 24, 2012 7:34 AM

If you actually read my post, I don't just rely on the testimony of Schmidt and Wallace to make my case that she wasn't vetted.

I also use sources from the news and comments from other prominent Republicans to make my case.

Despite the fact that Schmidt and Wallace did not act professionally in discussing with the media their opinions about Palin while the campaign was still running, we can verify their claims by checking other facts and listening to other people.

Even if you discount or dismiss their testimony, we have enough independent evidence that strongly suggest that the McCain team didn't vet her.

How you feel about Sarah Palin will affect or determine your opinion on this debate over whether she was vetted or not.

My feeling about Palin is this: She is an accomplished woman who has lots of sway with the American people and her words have an impact on current events and issues. However, she was not properly vetted and she is not capable of holding any national office.

marK said...

This whole argument misses one crucial fact. Reagan and Bush-41 managed to successful select running-mates who only had a cursory vetting at best. In the case of Reagan picking Bush, it was practically nonexistent.

How could they get away with it? Simple. Reagan and Bush had years of successful executive experience finding, selecting, and hiring top-level talent. Mitt has had decades of that same experience.

All the vetting in the world will be of no use if Mitt picks the wrong guy. However, with his experience, I think the odds of him picking a dud are rather remote.

Anonymous said...

when sarah first came out, I wanted to badly for her to be good. But she stank in interviews and came across as not really prepared. You can blame mccain for that all you want to, but she also holds some of the blame. she clearly jumped at the chance for an office that is over her head as well. She didn't start to improve till the end of the campaign and by then, it was all over. The mockery from SNL, the interviews where she didn't sound like she knew anything, it all pained a narrative that she couldn't recover from. She may have energized the base a little, but she had a narrow popularity and swing voters couldn't get behind mccain because they didn't like her and didn't trust her as vp. When even Biden comes across as better, you know you have problems.

And yet, to me, her likeability has tanked since then. She clearly doesn't bring anything to the table, still. Her popularity remains narrow. Even though I despise the hollywood liberals, with her, they had a point. She was not qualified for the job, still isn't.

Right Wingnut said...

J, you're entitled to rely on the opinions if those who either have an axe to grind, or have no idea what they're talking about, since they weren't there. I will take the word of those who actually did the vetting.

I could write a long post with just as many links, if not more, that "prove" that Romney is a out of touch flip flipper who has no business holding public office. Would that be factual? It would be up to the individual to decide.

By the way, you still haven't told us how this benefits Mitt Romney. Your original post could have been written without taking a shot at Palin. I can only conclude that you're as tone deaf as the candidate you support.

Machtyn said...

The biggest issue is that the POTUS candidate has to be the big (wo)man on the ticket. Clearly, Palin was brought in to assist a slumping candidate. Reagan was the POTUS candidate, Bush did not upstage him. The same could be said of both GHWBush and GWBush's picks. Particularly, in the case of GWB, the Democrats failed to make Cheney the issue. They tried, but it had no legs with the electorate.

McCain, on the other hand, used Palin as a motivator. In process, the media jumped all over her, made her the issue and that was bad for McCain. Still, the media *almost* made a mistake. They were running the Republican VP candidate against the Democrat POTUS candidate. And I contend that Palin had more experience and was more prepared than Obama.

At this point, for Palin's sake, I hope she can clearly articulate for her fans what her future role is. She strung them along last year saying maybe she will, maybe she won't be candidate. She's stringing them along again with a false hope of a brokered convention where she sweeps in. In the long run, this will hurt her brand.

Anonymous said...

Nor have to told us, RW how revisiting the worst pick in political history, Palin, hurts or helps Romney either. I have total faith that we will never see another pick who is NOT READY to be president, and who's only claim to real fame is that he or she can draw a crowd. I'm not electing Lady Blah Blah. Im electing the leaders of the free world. And for that job, it takes more than a bunch of folks waiting in a stadium.

Right Wingnut said...

By the way, I did not "initiate a debate" with you. I simply provided you with evidence that you either had not seen, or were not interested in reading since it destroys your argument.

Case closed, counselor.

Anonymous said...

RW, I don't see the ax Schmidt and Wallace had to grind. They were just covering their own butts as much as Culvehouse was, and they obviously wanted to blame someone for a failed campaign.

But by speaking out, they clearly hurt themselves as far as working on another campaign in the furutre, so, I kind of think they said what they thought needed to be said.

Palin was, and still is a net negative for us.


Anonymous said...

PS. Can we all please now close the Palin chapter, and move on?

Enough already! She is not running for office ever again. Let's pretend none of it ever happened.


narciso said...

They were covering up, that they no longer saw fit to challenge Obama for the office, They still don't see a real problem with him, from the economic near depression, to the collapse of all are allies inthe
Near East,

J said...


You know when someone has lost the debate when they start attacking and insulting someone personally. You keep accusing me of having a "tin ear" merely because I support Mitt Romney and that I don't believe Palin was properly vetted.

I didn't ignore the evidence you provided. I read it, digested it and still came to the conclusion that Sarah Palin wasn't properly vetted based on looking at the totality of all the evidence we have at hand.

Your "evidence" doesn't destroy my argument at all but is merely one piece of the puzzle in a box full jigsaw pieces. If we put the pieces together, the overall evidence suggests that she wasn't vetted.

As far as this debate helps Mitt, he's learned the same lesson that everyone else learned from the McCain team: vet completely and throughly.

My intent was never to take a shot at Palin in my original article I was simply stating the facts.

Anonymous said...

1147 WAS me. Ellie. Sorry.

Right Wingnut said...


You forgot to add, "in my opinion" to your last comment. Your opinion is not an objective one. The lengthy article refutes many of your claims. The sources you hold up to make your case were also stating their opinions. If you know anything about politics, you understand that very few words are uttered in the beltway that don't have political motivations behind them.

The only puzzle you should concern yourself with is the Mitt Romney's path to victory in November. The pieces are scattered all over the floor - some are even missing.

Have a nice day.

marK said...

Well, one thing is for certain. Mitt is taking the "He failed to properly vet his running mate" excuse off the table. Nobody will be able to make that claim.

cimbri said...

Poor preparation leads to poor results. Obviously, Palin was not prepared and McCain's people knew that but they were just throwing a hail mary pass. She couldn't get through the simplest interviews that even spouses routinely go through. I don't know what her problem was, but suspect it was the result of a lifetime of reading checkout stand magazines.

Anonymous said...

Sarah Palin was one of the worst running mates I've seen in a long time. Not only was she not prepared, she made it too easy for the left to mock her and she took focus from the main candidate.

Mitt Romney won't make that same mistake. He'll vet the vp well as he knows the Obama camp will be looking for anything they can use.

Anonymous said...

Old news just like Palin. She is a has been and hopefully always will be.

Right Wingnut said...

You guys to the bait.

It looks like I succeeded in exposing Rombots (AJR Disclaimer applies) for the trash that they are....not to mention politically ignorant. Looks like are temporary truce is over.

Right Wingnut said...

*took the bait.

Anonymous said...

The only thing team McCain, including Culverhouse vetted was her pretty face and short, short skirts. They forgot to notice that her head is void of a functioning brain.

Right Wingnut said...

C4P put my post up. Go check out what they think of you. Good job, guys.....


Anonymous said...

Of course C4P would put your post uP! they worship Palin in a really weird and sick way. I go there when I need a laugh. What's scarey, is those folks drive our freeways.


Jerald said...

Right Wingnut...You're funny.

You talk about a "truce" but you spend you days "baiting traps for Rombots" and color all Romney supporters with the same "all Rombots are [enter unflattering term]" meme.

Enjoy yourself.

I hope you vote for Romney over Obama, but I won't hold my breath...

Right Wingnut said...

Jerald, you put "all" in quotes as if I was painting with a broad brush. I did not say that. Are you familiar with the AJR disclaimer? A few of you are decent. I'm not sure where you fit in to that, so I won't pass judgement at this time.

Doug NYC GOP said...

McCain went for the sizzle and fogot to check if there was any steak.

There wasn't.

That doesn't mean sizzle isn't important, it is to degree. But sizzles fade and if there is no good steak to cut into, the meal is a loss.

So after the Palin's sizzle began to fade, it was clear this only a minutue steak and not a Porterhouse.

The countless vapid Fox News/Sean Hannity interviews, where the answers were telegraphed in the questions, revealed Palin was more Mc Donalds than Ruth's Chris.

Both are popular and I enjoy both on occassion, but one clearly offers a more substantial experience.

Anonymous said...

Come on RW. You know exactly where Jerald fits. He's one of the nicest, fairest guys around.

How many people still frequent C4P? Honest question.


Right Wingnut said...


I recall seeing Jerald's name at Race a lot, but I don't remember if he is more like Gordon/Get Real, or if he's more like Martha/Ellie/Firecracker.

That's why I was nice to him. :)

Right Wingnut said...

Martha, I don't know exactly how many. Go look at the sidebar Open thread. Still gets about 1000 comments per day. Sometimes more. More than I thought there would be at this point.

Anonymous said...

@RWN...yes, there are sometimes up to 1000 comments but all of them come from the same 20-25 dolts who spend their entire life at C4P posting their delusions and fantasies of a future that includes the brainless, lying quitter. The nursing home needs to limit their computer time.

A. J. Billings said...

Palin was far too inexperienced and ignorant even REMOTELY be considered for the VP slot.

Her interviews with Couric and Gibson proved how poorly she speaks, and how she lacked even basic understanding of government, law, Supreme Court, and international policy

When you have top campaign staff coming out and admitting she was not ready, there was no doubt she was not ready to be VP.

Anonymous said...

What if the paul peeps and the Palin worshipers got together and had children?


Slick-Willy said...

Palin's lack of knowledge on so many critical issues was shocking. She had a solid grip on most of the principles, but shot blanks when it came to the details explaining how/why anything works.

I'm uncertain if Palin was adequately vetted, but I'm confident she was a very bad candidate for national elected office.

A. J. Billings said...

Ms Palin was, and still is, a profoundly uninformed and ill-suited. candidate for national office.
The disastrous Couric and Gibson interviews were precise bellweathers of her ignorance.

Bill Kristol rightly advised her after the loss in 2008 to go back to Alaska, get the job done as Governor, and study up on issues.
She did nothing of the kind, resigned a few months later, and then claimed she didn't actually quit.

Ms Palin is also a fanatic religious idealogue, with few qualities that would commend her to lead a nation so divided on deadly serious matters of policy and economics in a perilous world.

Mouthing platitudes, being divisive, and bomb throwing at Tea rallies is easy. Presidents have to lead and relate to all Americans to be any good at it, which is beyond Sarah's skill set.

When touring in the Carolina's, she was quoted as saying "It's good to be here with real Americans"

That one comment is nothing but xenophobia dissing everyone who's not a far right white christian”