I Guess You Shouldn’t Have Fired Bitney, Huh?

Here’s the guy I’d like to interview Friday morning: John Bitney.

You’ll recall this WSJ article explaining that the McCain team realized they were using normal methods to prepare seasoned candidates for debate, which wasn’t working for Palin.

More broadly, the McCain campaign aims to halt what it sees as a perceived decline in the crispness and precision of Gov. Palin’s latest remarks as well as a fall in recent polls, according to several advisers and party officials.

McCain officials denied any problems inside the campaign. "The nature of political campaigns, with all their ups and downs, is for insiders and outsiders and no-siders to register complaints, often anonymously," said Tucker Eskew, a counselor for Gov. Palin. "We all in this campaign understand that, and we’re not distracted by it, even as we welcome well-intentioned and good advice."

Some prominent Republicans and senior members of Congress have expressed worries about certain facets of the Palin campaign, particularly that Gov. Palin may be "overprepared" and not encouraged to be herself, an adviser said.

"She hasn’t had the time or inclination to question the judgments of the people telling her to hit her marks," said one Republican strategist. "Gov. Palin is a team player, but the campaign needs to adjust to a game plan that works for her."


Meanwhile, the more experienced advisers assigned to her by the McCain campaign are accustomed to working with seasoned candidates, not someone "completely green on the national stage," one strategist said. Several Republican backers have griped that the campaign has put the candidate in difficult situations, from sitting for high-profile television interviews to popping into meetings with foreign leaders, some of whom made sexist remarks, said several officials.

"It’s time to let Palin be Palin — and let it all hang out," said Scott Reed, a Republican strategist. [my emphasis]

 And along with the entire Palin family, they’ve shipped in one of Sarah’s own staffers.

Also, a key Alaska staffer joined the Palin operation Sunday.

It makes sense, right? Faced with the realization that you’ve got to let Sarah be Sarah, that you’ve got to replicate what she did in Alaska rather than prep her like you’d prep a Hillary Clinton or a Susan Collins, you bring in the staffers who prepped her for her very successful gubernatorial debates, right?


Turns out, the guy that prepped her for those debates is one of the guys Todd Palin had fired because of a personal issue (Bitney was dating the ex-wife of one of Todd’s best friends).

John Bitney, the policy director for her campaign for governor and the main person who helped prepare her for debates, said her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.”

That’s not to say some other Alaskan can’t prep Sarah just as well. But I would imagine Bitney is going to have an interesting time watching the debate tomorrow night.

  1. Boston1775 says:

    Well, there’s always prayer:

    Contact: Rev. Mahoney, 540-538-4741; Mary Maschmeier, 314-346-9052

    ST. LOUIS, Oct. 1 /Christian Newswire/ — The following is a schedule of activities for Governor Palin supporters surrounding the October 2 Vice-Presidential Debate in St. Louis:

    Wednesday, October 1:

    7:00 P.M. Evening rally and prayer with national pro-family and pro-life leaders.
    Location: Il-Monastero on the campus of St. Louis University.
    3010 Olive Street
    St. Louis.

    Thursday, October 2:

    8:00-9:00 A.M. Prayer vigil outside of the Athletic Complex of Washington University where the debate is going to be held.
    Location: Big Bend Ave. across from Maryland Ave. on the public sidewalk.

    5:00 P.M. Prayer vigil on the campus of Washington University.
    Location: The southeast corner of Big Bend and Forsyth Ave. on the Athletic field.

    There will also be a series of demonstrations to expose the radical pro-abortion policies of Senator Biden who claims to be a professing Catholic. For more information regarding this contact Mary Maschmeier at 314.346.9052.

    For more information contact:

    Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney at 540.538.4741

    Mary Maschmeier at 314.346.9052

  2. Quzi says:

    “But John Bitney made the fatal employment mistake; he got on the bad side of Todd Palin.”

    Great find, EW! Very intersting…they’ve fired the one guy that helped her get that far. They sure fire anyone that gets in their way. LOL

    In no way would I under-estimate Palin’s potential to do “well” for the joe-six-pack crowd at the debate, but I think if she goes overboard on the mean-spirited, snarky Heather attacks, people will see her for what she really is. This will certainly be THE most watched VP debate of our times! Pass me a glass of wine…

  3. TobyWollin says:

    “..her repetition of words was “her way of running down the clock as her mind searches for where she wants to go.” And you can see that on her face during all of the interviews, that look in her eyes as she searches through the card file in her head for something that sounds good enough to say. Watch her mouth, too..she tends to do a little ‘chew the lower lip’ thing while she’s going through that process.

    • emptywheel says:

      Yup. I imagine she has to “see” the answer on a card in her mind before she can answer.

      And Katie just happened to ask her a bunch of questions she hadn’t written down on cards yet.

      • TobyWollin says:

        I agree with you completely – I’ve had this weird thought in my head for a couple of days…the way she responds to questions, and that whole business with her avoidance of talking about reading newspapers, magazines, etc….and the fact that it took her so long to get through college..I really do wonder if she has some sort of reading problem – like dyslexia or something. Not that it forgives her for being an uncurious, ill prepared, ignorant, oil and natural gas company shill…but I really do wonder about her ability to process information through actual reading. I went to grad school with a girl who had that problem and the only way she could get through was by having someone read her texts and notes into a tape recorder and play them to herself. I used to think she was very religious when I went by her room because I could always hear this murmuring…I found out later that she was basically memorizing her texts through listening to them and repeating the stuff.

  4. Boston1775 says:

    I hope critical thinkers show up in droves.
    Enough already.

    If Alaska can produce a thousand or two people to protest Sarah Palin for one heartbeat away from an angry seventy two year old, St. Louis ought to help out.

  5. PhilTBastid says:

    I wonder if anyone will ask her about the fact that Murlene Wilks flipped and said that the governor asked her to deny Wooten’s workers comp claim?

    How do you think that would go over?

  6. smartlady says:

    I’m beginning to wonder (with horror) how a foreign language interpreter would handle her garbled syntax.

    • maryo2 says:

      Think about the American Sign Language interpreter! ASL is based on getting information across and not sentence structure. They will have to use Signing Exact English (SEE) for the debate.

      Think about the person typing the closed captioning!

  7. BayStateLibrul says:

    OT but on Scandals.
    We stoop to scandal?
    Can the NY Times be this naive?
    The DOJ cannot monitor themselves…
    Sheesh…… haven’t they heard of internal controls…
    Give me Teapot Dome or give me death.


  8. Boston1775 says:

    Either we take her degree in journalism seriously and expect the facts stated in complete thoughts or we don’t.

    This is the extent of her higher education. Journalism.

    I’m far more lenient when I work with students with special needs, and I expect no less than noun/verb agreement.

    I expect them to make sense. I expect accuracy and evidence when they expound upon a topic sentence. Their paragraphs must hold together.

    I read back to them what they have written. They have the self awareness to cringe when hear things that sound like Sarah Palin.

  9. Leen says:

    V.P. debate strategies

    I hope Biden tries to be inclusive of some Republicans who have been discouraged by the last eight years. That this ultimately has nothing to do with parties but with issues and the disastrous policies of the last eight years. I worked with several former Republican women who had recently jumped on the Obama/Biden bus.

    30% of Republicans in Ohio voted for our former Congressman Strickland when he was running for Governor two years ago. Strickland won not only based on his record, his integrity but because he was so skillful at pulling people in from the Republican party and Independents by being very inclusive. Focused on issues…focused on inclusivity.

  10. spoonful says:

    I didn’t know Brittany Spears was even working for the McPalin campaign, now she got fired? Oh well, I’m sure she’ll find a job somewhere.

  11. hackworth says:

    A Republican candidate must withhold as much information as possible. Palin did not know if her McHandlers would approve of her naming newspapers. Surely she could have named three: Alaska Daily News, The McPaper, The New York Times. Palin had already been admonished for many missteps.

    All papers create potential stink bombs. Joe Sixpack hates the “librul” NYT (you know the liberal paper that propelled the Iraq Invasion via Judy Miller).

    McPaper may be perceived to be idiotic. Alaska Daily News is a local salmon wrapper.

    Palin’s mind went haywire. What paper can I say that will be beneficial to our sleazy campaign of lies, minority bashing and more corporate tax cuts?