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Rick Davis on the Sarah Palin Accusations

Rick Davis on the Sarah Palin Accusations

Hannity & Colmes - November 7, 2008

COLMES: Welcome to HANNITY & COLMES. I'm Alan Colmes. Rich Lowry sitting in for Sean tonight.

Nice to see you once again, Rich.

RICH LOWRY, GUEST HOST: Hi, Alan. Good to see you.

COLMES: And we are following a developing story tonight, in the last 24 hours there have been several reports in the press attributed to anonymous members of the McCain campaign accusing Governor Sarah Palin of all nature of things.

"Newsweek" magazine, the "New York Times", and FOX's own Carl Cameron have all reported on incidents that allegedly happened behind the scenes on the campaign trail.

According to these reports, Governor Palin supposedly didn't know that Africa was a continent and not a country, that she once answered the door of her hotel room dressed only in a towel, that she blasted members of the campaign staff, leaving them in tears, and that she spent even more money on clothing than originally reported a few weeks ago.

Joining us tonight to shed light on these claims, McCain campaign chairman, Rick Davis.

Rick, welcome to HANNITY & COLMES. Nice to have you with us.

RICK DAVIS, MCCAIN CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Hey, thanks for having me. Appreciate it.

COLMES: Appreciate it very much. I know it's been a tough few months. So glad you're here to talk about it. Where do these leaks come from?

DAVIS: Well, you know, part of the reason that I wanted to come out tonight and talk about this is because, you know, we don't know where these leaks are coming from. You know funny how all these things are attributed to anonymous sources, and look, politics is politics, it isn't bean bag, it's rough stuff, but anonymous sources, give me a break.

You've got the campaign manager of the campaign McCain for the last year and a half sitting in front of you, and I'm just going to tell you right now this is atrocious behavior on the part of people who claim to be campaign staffers, and I think it's outrageous.

COLMES: Do you know who did it?

DAVIS: I wish I do, otherwise, you know, I'd probably wouldn't be here, I'd be talking to the reporters telling them -- you know, this is outrageous behavior on the part of these individuals, but I don't know who did it, and that's the problem with these kinds of stories.

You don't know the veracity of the story. You don't even know if it's factual, and you have no clue who told it.

COLMES: Let's talk about the veracity of the stories. The idea of answering the door in a towel. Have you heard that?

DAVIS: You know, I saw it in this "Newsweek" print, and from what I understand, talking to some of the people who were there, Mark Salter and Steve Schmidt, is that she didn't answer the door, they were in her suite, and you know, they were getting ready to brief her, and she was -- she didn't know anybody was even in the room, and immediately upon finding out that there people were there, she went back.

Exactly what any normal person would do. And yet, all of a sudden, this is like a federal case.

COLMES: What about the decision to spend $150,000 on clothing? Whose decision was that, and as -- as "Newsweek" reported, was it really more than that with 20 to $40,000 going to Todd Palin's clothing?

DAVIS: Well, first of all, I think that -- a lot of these issues are overblown. I mean when she got to the convention -- first of all, everybody needs to remember the historical facts of this. That she was tapped to be the vice presidential nominee two days before the convention started.

She arrived in the convention hall without having even been to Alaska to pick up any of her things. I think the campaign did the right thing and asked for somebody to come in and help her with her clothes. We got some, you know, very smart person evidently from New York, I don't know much about clothes as you can probably tell...

COLMES: But nice tie, though.

DAVIS: And they came in to town, and they outfitted her, and they outfitted her, obviously, with a lot more stuff than she was ever going to use, and nobody ever explained to her that this is stuff that was being paid for by the convention. It was going to be used at the convention for her purposes, and...

COLMES: Right.

DAVIS: And this is where it got overblown.

COLMES: But the story was that -- that she was told get three suits and hire a stylist, and then she went a little crazy, you know, overboard.

DAVIS: No, I don't think she went crazy. I'm not sure she really understood what the parameters are, and by the way, all of this stuff is getting shipped back. It was exactly what we talked about when we released the reports on this a month and a half ago. And from what I can tell this is an old story born again.

LOWRY: Hey, Rick, thanks so much for joining us. I wish the circumstances were better, but we appreciate your being with us here tonight.

DAVIS: (Laughs) Well, I probably wouldn't be here if we were working on the transition. So it's my pleasure to be here.

(CROSSTALK)

LOWRY: It's our gain, the country's loss.

Rick, let's roll through some of these specifics. The idea that she didn't know Africa was a continent. I talked today to two of the advisers who briefed on foreign policy. They consider it absurd. Among other things, they point out she was very up from the beginning on the Darfur, which is huge.

DAVIS: Right.

LOWRY: And Evangelical communities across America. So it doesn't even make sense.

DAVIS: It doesn't make sense, and, again, I mean, you know, what's the point of all these unsubstantiated rumors that are flying around? What I really want to try and understand is -- what's the basis of all this stuff?

I mean, look, I could make anything up about John McCain's debate prep? I mean I was in there, I saw him -- what was going on. Is anybody going to debate with me about what was said and done in there?

Look, she did a great job in this debate. She held her own with a guy who's been practiced in this politics for 40 years, and I think it's a real tribute to her, and the idea that somehow we're going to undercut her by talking about some of these, you know, ridiculous claims is, I think, not only inappropriate, but, frankly, it doesn't bode well for our party as a whole.

I mean we...

LOWRY: Yes.

DAVIS: We've got a struggle ahead of us. We've got to redefine who we are. I think, you know, John McCain and Sarah Palin were a fresh breath of air, you know, into the Republican Party, but it wasn't enough to make this thing work right, and I think we definitely have to refocus, and this is just a distraction to all those things.

LOWRY: Yes, Rick, now also on the idea that she didn't know what country was in NAFTA, Steve Biengun, who was in that briefing, who was giving her a briefing on Latin American trade issues prior to the Univision interview, says that was a snippet of one question taken out of context, and it's absurd.

Now on the clothes, Rick, can we just be clear? My understanding is she goes to the convention in St. Paul, and she's basically in a hotel the entire time. It's not as though she's going to clothes outlets selecting these clothes.

This stuff is brought in for her.

DAVIS: Yes.

LOWRY: Is that correct?

DAVIS: Well, Rich, you know those things are pretty busy, and that's exactly correct. I mean I don't think she's been in a store since this campaign started with her three months ago, and you know, these are things that -- people have assumed that she was going to need.

Most of this stuff she hasn't even used and will be going back, and it's exactly what we told everybody a month and a half ago when the first issue arose, so what I don't really understand is what's the focus on that?

I mean, you know, look, I'm not going to sit there and say wow, in is really sexist in the sense that, you know, if this were a man, and we were having this discussion, nobody would care.

You know the idea that this is...

LOWRY: Right.

DAVIS: ... you know a successful female governor of a state that, you know, very few people have ever been to is probably the root of a lot of these problems.

LOWRY: Right. And the campaign felt as though they needed to outfit her, they brought in a stylist, they brought in a seamstress, they brought in the clothes, because she wasn't -- she didn't have in stylist in Wasilla, or a seamstress in Wasilla.

So, again, this seems -- you know really just to be a smear.

DAVIS: Yes, it's -- ugly, and really there's no basis for it. There's absolutely nothing going on with Governor Palin that hasn't gone on, frankly, with every male candidate for president since the start of politics in the modern era, and the idea that she would be singled out in the process is, I think, unfortunate, but also wrong in the context of what she was able to accomplish as a candidate and what we were able to accomplish as a campaign.

LOWRY: Great. Rick, thanks so much for being with us. Take care.

DAVIS: Thanks, guys.

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