Plouffe: Palin's Influence Hurts the GOP

Plouffe: Palin's Influence Hurts the GOP

By Scott Conroy - September 29, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- President Obama's 2008 campaign manager David Plouffe weighed in on former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin in a joint interview with RealClearPolitics and CNN on Tuesday.

In spite of Palin's recent string of successes in endorsing Republican candidates in contested primaries, Plouffe said that he welcomed her rising influence in the GOP.

"I think that long term, the more sway and power she has in the Republican Party, the worse off the Republican Party will be," he said. "But they should not take advice from me. It's not my business to give advice to the Republican Party, but if the Republican Party believes that Sarah Palin is their savior, more power to them."

Asked about Palin's insinuations that Pete Rouse-who is expected to become Obama's interim chief of staff-may be helming a White House operation designed to undermine her politically, Plouffe smiled tightly.

"Well that's--just like a lot of things--nuts," he said. "But we don't spend much time thinking about her."

Plouffe added that the upcoming nominating cycle will be "fascinating" for Republicans "because no matter whether she runs or not, sort of that Palin-Limbaugh-Beck wing of their party is going to be the most dominant factor in most primaries and caucuses, in Iowa, in South Carolina, Nevada, so you're going to have to nominate someone who does very well in that wing."

Plouffe, who was in Ohio to stump alongside Governor Ted Strickland, said that recent primary results suggested that there would not be a niche for a moderate Republican candidate to fill in 2012.

"If you're a moderate Republican thinking about running for the primary in any office in 2011 or 2012, you're going to think twice because you're going to get the Mike Castle treatment," Plouffe said, referring to the moderate GOP congressman's defeat in the Delaware Senate primary. "So they're going to nominate more and more extreme Republicans who are doing very well in that sort of Palin-Limbaugh-Beck base."

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

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