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Posted by on Sep 17, 2008 in Media, Politics | 6 comments

GOP And Palin: Lawyering Up And Media Clampdown


Lawyers and media control are now swirling around Republican Vice Presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, the Associated Press reports:

GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is effectively turning over questions about her record as Alaska’s governor to John McCain’s political campaign, part of an ambitious Republican strategy to limit any embarrassing disclosures and carefully shape her image for voters in the rest of the country.

Republican efforts include dispatching a former top U.S. terrorism prosecutor from New York, Ed O’Callaghan, to assist Palin’s personal lawyer working to derail or delay a pending ethics investigation in Alaska. The probe, known as “Troopergate,” is examining whether the governor abused her power by trying to remove her former brother-in-law as a state trooper.

This now moves this from Palin versus the Alaska investigation and charges that she is trying to derail it to a new phase where the GOP is now stepping in to delay it.

O’Callaghan is just part of a cadre of high-powered operatives patrolling Alaska as reporters and Democrats scrutinize every detail of Palin’s tenure in government, plus her family and friends. One strategy: Carefully coordinate any information that’s released. The McCain campaign is demanding that it becomes the de facto source for answers about the operations of Alaska’s government during the past 20 months.

Palin’s normal press secretary, for example, now turns away inquiries from any reporter who isn’t permanently based in Alaska, referring questions to the presidential campaign. Trouble is, some of McCain operatives only recently have arrived in Alaska and struggle to explain Palin’s positions on arcane state issues.

When a reporter for The Associated Press asked the state’s Department of Health and Social Services about lawsuits involving state health policies, he was directed to call Meg Stapleton, a former spokeswoman for Palin now working for McCain.

What you’re seeing is a shift. Once something is done and has become the norm, that’s the new standard. So in the future if any candidate — Republican or Democrat – seeks to delay or derail a local problem and refuses to directly answer questions to the press, it will be our new campaign norm. Been there/done that/it’s OK. You can tell we’re in a new era because (a) it is happening and (b) it is working.

Cartoon by Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

UPDATE: Palin is not loved by everyone on the right…