Despite Interview Requests, Palin Lays Low

By: AP
By: AP

(AP) Gov. Sarah Palin hadn't been back home in Alaska for a full day and her staff had begun fielding requests Thursday for postelection interviews, including from Barbara Walters, Oprah Winfrey, Larry King and others.

Palin had been expected at her office in Anchorage but later notified her staff that she wouldn't show up after all. She remained at her home in Wasilla, located 40 miles to the north, but was expected in her office on Friday, spokesman Bill McAllister said.

"The intensity of all the interest is amazing. Everyone wants to talk to her," he said.

Palin is coming off a whirlwind nine weeks of almost nonstop travel and campaigning since becoming Republican John McCain's vice presidential running mate in late August. McCain and Palin lost Tuesday's election to Democrats Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

"I think she's been working from home," McAllister said. "Maybe she just liked the idea of spending a whole day at home. It could be the first time she woke up in her own bed and spent the night in her own bed on the same day since late August."

Aides to McCain and Palin, meanwhile, responded to reports of tension between the two sides over the Republican Party's purchase of more than $150,000 worth of clothing for Palin and her family, and accusations that Palin was ill-prepared for her role.

Randy Scheunemann, McCain's foreign policy adviser, called the idea of a split between the two campaigns "laughable."

"It's hard to believe these people worked for John McCain. They obviously have no loyalty to John McCain and no loyalty to his running mate," said Scheunemann, who prepared Palin for the vice presidential debate.

"I've worked in Washington for over 20 years. I have seen literally dozens of politicians, and Sarah Palin is as smart, tough and focused as any politician I've ever seen. I'm proud of the time I was able to spend with her," he said.

Meg Stapleton, a campaign spokeswoman for Palin, said the accusations were unfortunate.

"We have the highest regards for Sen. John McCain," she said in an e-mailed statement. "Gov. Palin was honored to be chosen as McCain's running mate."

Some of the sniping has to do with the pricey clothes bought for Palin and her family. The purchase of the clothes has been described by some as an out-of-control spending spree with staffers at times using their own credit cards to make purchases.

Stapleton tells a different story. She said Palin never went shopping for the clothes herself. Instead, a stylist was brought in to make her look more vice presidential. The campaign then went out and bought the clothes and brought them back for Palin and her family, Stapleton said.

"She was thrown into it with, here's your chief of staff, here's your personal assistant, here's your foreign policy adviser. By the way you're part of this campaign and here are the clothes you're going to wear," Stapleton told the Anchorage Daily News.

Palin even objected to the price tag on one of the items when she saw it, Stapleton said.

The RNC has said the clothes will be donated to charity.

At Palin's request, the clothes were to be taken off the campaign plane in Phoenix before Palin returned to Alaska on Wednesday.

That didn't happen, Stapleton said, so Palin and an aide were going through the luggage in Wasilla on Thursday to separate her belongings.

Palin returned to Alaska late Wednesday night, her final flight in the McCain-Palin campaign plane. Dozens of supporters greeted her with chants of "2012! 2012!" as she walked off the airplane - encouragement for her to run for president in four years.

Asked by reporters if she might run, Palin said: "We'll see what happens then."

The governor said she hoped to work with President-elect Obama on energy policy.

She returned home after spending Tuesday night in Phoenix, where she watched election returns with McCain.

© MMVIII The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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