Wednesday 25 April 2018

Former Sarah Palin colleague says she has multiple flaws

Alex Spillius

Nicolle Wallace, a former colleague of Sarah Palin, has become the latest senior Republican publicly to round on the darling of the Tea Party movement, saying that her opponents should avoid criticising her directly and let her expose her own multiple flaws.

Mrs Wallace, who worked closely with Mrs Palin on the ill-fated 2008 Republican presidential campaign, said the former vice-presidential candidate's weaknesses would be revealed by the rigours and demands of a long contest to secure the party's nomination for the next White House election.

"The more people try to take her out, she only becomes emboldened, strengthened, it makes her such a martyr," said Mrs Wallace, who has recently written a thriller called Eighteen Acres, drawn in part from her experiences on the bid for the White House of John McCain and Mrs Palin, his running mate.

"She has very obvious deficiencies that will reveal themselves as the nominating contest gets closer," she told The Daily Telegraph, adding: "Let her shoot her moose or whatever the heck she does on her [television] show, it will all work out."

There had been little sign that Mrs Palin had improved her understanding of current affairs as she had forged a career as star of her own reality series on American television, Fox News commentator and champion of conservative candidates. "What's troubling is she has missed an opportunity to go beyond the platitudes and deepen her knowledge," said Mrs Wallace, who was formerly communications director in the George W Bush administration. "It's incredibly cynical to think you can win an election without having a thoughtful intellectual discussion with the country, thinking you can just scare people into voting for you."

Mrs Wallace's remarks follow similar reservations voiced by senior Republicans and figureheads of the Right including Barbara Bush, former First Lady, and Karl Rove, the leading strategist in the George W Bush administration.

For Republican candidates already preparing for next year's nomination campaign, a central consideration is how to deal with Mrs Palin, who is almost certain to run. The former Alaska governor commands an intensely loyal grassroots following that would react negatively to any rivals too harsh in their criticism.

A recent NBC-Wall Street Journal poll showed that wider public's wildly diverging views on Mrs Palin made her more likely to lose in any matchup against Barack Obama than any other likely Republican contender.

Mrs Palin and Mrs Wallace have fallen out in the past though Mrs Wallace's criticisms are far more blunt than in the past. The presidential candidate blamed her handler for a disastrous television interview early in the 2008 campaign in which she could not name a single newspaper she read on a daily basis.

Mrs Palin took the extraordinary move of airing her grievances against a behind-the-scenes staffer last year in her autobiography, while Mrs Wallace stayed silent until her novel was published recently.

Though she regards Mrs Palin as unsuitable for high office, she recognises that "anything could happen". "What infuriates her detractors is she has got charisma, tons of it, and she really knows how to please, satisfy and animate a crowd ... She is simply riveting, just like Lady Gaga is riveting, you can't look away. She [Mrs Palin] might as well be wearing raw meat."

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