Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she thought the Election Day contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain would be closer. But she added that, in retrospect, "it's really not so much a surprise" that Obama's margin of victory was so large.
In an interview aired Tuesday on NBC's "Today," the Republican vice presidential candidate said three factors contributed to her party's defeat:
-"We didn't get the Hispanic vote."
-"We were outspent so tremendously."
-"The anti-incumbency sentiment that was spread across the land and our ticket representing the incumbency."
Obama, Palin said, "did a great job articulating his ability to usher in change. Our ticket represented too much of the status quo."
McCain's loss to Obama last week came an Electoral College landslide that dramatically reorders the divided political map that's been the norm during the last two elections. Obama won in traditionally Republican states like Indiana and gained ground in just about every demographic group, including the fast-growing Hispanic bloc that Republicans have courted.
Asked about rumors of problems between herself and running mate McCain toward the end of the campaign, Palin said: "We had a great relationship. ... There was never any inkling of tension between the two of us."
Still, Palin said, "If your skin isn't thick enough, you're not ready for public office."
Palin says she was puzzled by the amount of attention her wardrobe got at the end of her run, as well as by recent campaign leaks that blamed her for the controversy. "I'm flabbergasted that anyone would say I spent money on clothes for me or my family," she said. "Neiman Marcus and Saks: I've never been in those stores."
In an interview that aired on Fox News Channel on Monday, Palin said she neither wanted nor asked for the $150,000-plus wardrobe the Republican Party bankrolled.
"I did not order the clothes. Did not ask for the clothes," Palin said. "I would have been happy to have worn my own clothes from Day One. But that is kind of an odd issue, an odd campaign issue as things were wrapping up there as to who ordered what and who demanded what."
Palin and McCain's campaign faced a storm of criticism over the tens of thousands of dollars spent at such high-end stores as Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to dress the nominee. Republican National Committee lawyers are still trying to determine exactly what clothing was bought for Palin, what was returned and what has become of the rest.
Amid speculation she'll run for president in four years, Palin said she prayed she wouldn't miss "an open door" for her next political opportunity.
"I'm like, OK, God, if there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, I'm like, don't let me miss the open door," Palin told Fox's Greta Van Susteren. "And if there is an open door in '12 or four years later, and if it is something that is going to be good for my family, for my state, for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door."
"I didn't know that it would be as brutal a ride as it turned out to be," she said in the NBC interview.
"When those darts and those arrows started flying," she added, "I knew still (that) we were on the right path in terms of offering ourselves up, me and my family, in terms of service to our country."
Palin also said it wasn't fair for people to suggest she brought the ticket down.
"I think the economic collapse had a heckuva lot more to do with the campaign's collapse than me personally," the governor said.
Her husband, Todd, when asked about the controversies swirling about the family, said: "To be honest, we were so busy with the campaign that there wasn't much TV time."
Said the governor: "There were a lot of times I wanted to shout out, 'Hey, wait a minute, it's not true.' It's pretty brutal. You take the good with the bad ... It is, like Todd says, all a part of this beast called politics in America."
Palin has scheduled a series of national interviews this week with Fox, NBC's "Today" show and CNN. She also plans to attend the Republican Governors Association conference in Florida this week.
Click here for copyright permissions!
Copyright 2008 Associated Press