Palin camp tries to squelch talk of infighting

By: Dana Bash, cnn.com
By: Dana Bash, cnn.com

(CNN) -- As former aides to Sen. John McCain circulated charges about Sarah Palin, a spokeswoman for the Alaska governor fired back, calling the allegations "sickening."

Since the GOP defeat Tuesday night, former McCain campaign aides have been the sources of a string of stories about Palin.

One source involved in preparing her for interviews and the vice presidential debate told CNN "she had not paid attention to a single policy debate that's gone on in this country for 10 years."

Two McCain sources said they were furious about Palin's supposed call Saturday with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, which turned out to be a prank by two radio DJs.

And a source close to Palin told CNN the Alaska governor had prepared to deliver a concession speech Tuesday night, and expected to address the crowd at the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix, Arizona.

Several sources told CNN that McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt told Palin no, in part because of built-up anger among some McCain aides who say Palin had become more interested in her own future than in McCain's election. Palin denies that claim.

There have also been reports of a somewhat distant relationship between McCain and his running mate.

"This is so unfortunate and, quite honestly, sickening," Palin aide Meghan Stapleton said Thursday in a written statement. "The accusations we are hearing and reading are not true, and since we deny all these anonymous allegations, there is nothing specific to which we will respond.

"We have the highest regards for Sen. John McCain. Gov. Palin was honored to be chosen as McCain's running mate. And as governor of Alaska, Gov. Palin looks forward to working with President-elect Obama on securing energy independence for America."

On Election Day, Palin denied there was tension. Once back in Alaska, she said she would not respond to individual accusations.

"I won't comment on anyone's gossip or allegations that are based on anonymous sources," she said. "That's kind of a small, evidently bitter type of person, who would anonymously charge something foolish like that -- that I perhaps didn't know an answer to a question. So until I know who was talking about it, I won't have a comment on false allegations."

In response to the allegations that she was ill-prepared for interviews and debate, Randy Scheunemann, an aide assigned to Palin, called her "brilliant" and said she has a "photographic memory."

Despite the acrimony, many McCain aides say they are sad the campaign team dissolved so quickly.


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