GOP stalwarts blame media for Palin uproar
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Republicans at their convention here are blaming the lefty media for the political travails Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin may face.
After John McCain surprised everyone by tapping her to be his running mate on Saturday, Palin's been kept sequestered someplace here as news outlets raise questions about whether Palin has been properly vetted, if McCain knew her unwed teen daughter was pregnant before he picked her or if McCain's most important decision as a presidential candidate was somehow botched.
I had not seen Phyllis Schlafly for years, and when I ran into the president of the Eagle Forum --one of the nation's leading anti-abortion conservatives -- in the halls of the Xcel Center on Day Two of the GOP convention, I of course wanted to know her take on Palin.
"I think Sarah Palin is the smartest thing that John McCain has done. She has revitalized the grass roots of the Republican Party across the board, all segments," said Schlafly.
Does the seeming chaos surrounding the Palin appointment reflect on McCain's management style?
"The press has tried to dream up some objections," Schlafly replied.
And about Bristol Palin, the 17-year old unwed daughter of the Alaska governor thrust into the limelight?
"Well, I think if it had happened to a Democrat, they would not have carried on like that and have a lot of stories on the front page."
Schlafly, who knows star quality conservative talent, two months ago booked Palin to keynote a reception Tuesday she organized with the Republican National Coalition for Life at the convention headlined "Life of the Party Party."
Palin's handlers canceled her visit. Why?
"It's unclear," Schlafly said Tuesday. "They said she had to rest up for her big speech tomorrow night."
Palin is speaking tonight at the GOP convention, and her debut on the big stage will be a defining moment for her. McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said she is going to discuss bipartisanship in her speech. Palin has a tricky challenge.
She has to introduce herself, tell her life story and decide if her daughter's situation gets mentioned. At the same time she will push her main calling card -- taking on the GOP establishment in Alaska -- with McCain's long record as a party rebel on big issues to Barack Obama's shorter record of working across the aisle on smaller issues.
The message about the left press was buttressed when former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), the actor, threw red meat to the hungry delegates last night.
Said Thompson, "Some -- some Washington pundits and media -- media big shots are at a frenzy over the selection of a woman who has governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit."