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Palin Points to "Strange Doings" With WH's Rouse

Palin Points to "Strange Doings" With WH's Rouse

By Scott Conroy - September 23, 2010


Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin took to Twitter on Wednesday to deliver a pair of cryptic messages  related to White House Deputy Chief of Staff Pete Rouse, who is rumored to be a potential interim replacement for White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the event that Emanuel leaves the administration next month to run for mayor of Chicago.

"Alaska's Pete Rouse (@ least he claims to be ‘Alaska')finally comes out of the shadows; Obama looks to appt him COS;strange doings in the WH," Palin tweeted, adding, "(Rahm's the smart one...bailing before Nov) Now, check out possible COS Pete Rouse. His background, voter reg in AK,etc. It's a small world"

Palin has previously alluded to her suspicions that Rouse, who once worked in Juneau and is still registered to vote in Alaska, may be at the center of a White House operation designed to undermine her politically.

When former Alaska State Senator Kim Elton -- a close friend of Rouse's -- left state government to join the Obama administration as Director of Alaska Affairs at the Department of the Interior in March of 2009, then Governor Palin released a scathing statement on Elton's departure.

"Senator Elton pledged his allegiance to President Obama last summer," Palin wrote, referring to Elton's role as the chairman of a legislative committee designed to investigate Palin's role in the firing of public safety officer Walt Monegan in the episode that became known as Troopergate.

After first cooperating with the state legislature's investigation of her conduct, Palin stopped doing so after she became the Republican vice presidential nominee and subsequently argued that the legislature's proceedings had become a political witch hunt orchestrated by the Obama campaign.

The state legislature's independent investigator found that Palin "abused her power" -- a finding that was later contradicted by an Alaska Personnel Board ruling that cleared her of violating state ethics laws.

When Palin resigned from office in July of 2009, she cited as one of her primary reasons for stepping down the frivolous ethics complaints filed by liberal bloggers and other Alaska residents.

Her then spokesperson, Meg Stapleton, suggested to Time that the ethics complaints were being orchestrated by the Obama administration.

"A lot of this comes from Washington, D.C. The trail is pretty direct and pretty obvious to us," Stapleton said, adding that the attacks in Alaska against Palin appeared to be lifted from Emanuel's strategy for taking down Republican opponents. "It's the Sarah Palin playbook. It's how they operate," Stapleton said.

The two Time reporters who wrote the 2009 story added, "Palin and her Alaska circle find evidence for their suspicions about the White House in the person of Pete Rouse, who lived in Juneau for a time before he became chief of staff to a young U.S. Senator named Barack Obama."

Asked to respond to the allegations of dirty tricks against Palin at the time, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs called the charge "ridiculous."

"Obviously there is no effort ... From my vantage point, a lot of the criticism she is getting from others seems to be generated from self-inflicted wounds," Gibbs said.

Palin also suggested in her 2009 bestselling book, Going Rogue, that Rouse had coopted her 2006 gubernatorial campaign's theme of change.

"We were amused a couple of years later when Barack Obama -- one of whose senior advisers (come to think of it) had roots in Alaska -- adopted the same theme," Palin wrote.

Palin's 2006 campaign slogan was, "Take A Stand." She did focus her candidacy -- as most challengers do -- upon the idea of changing the status quo.

Representatives of SarahPAC and the White House did not respond to requests for comment about Palin's latest tweets, which appeared to be designed to encourage supporters and the media to investigate whether Rouse has been leading a surreptitious operation to undermine her.

Scott Conroy is a national political reporter for RealClearPolitics. He can be reached at sconroy@realclearpolitics.com. Follow him on Twitter @RealClearScott.

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