Monday, November 10, 2008

Geography and Sarah Palin: The Leak Speaks

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

Martin Eisenstadt has identified himself as the source of the leak relating to Spunky's lack of knowledge about the continent of Africa. Here's his information.

And before you read it, all things considered, I don't think NOT knowing the difference between the Sunnis and the Shia kept ANYONE off the GOP ticket. Thanks, I feel better now.

By now you’ve all heard the Fox News report last week that “unnamed” former McCain advisers leaked that Sarah Palin was confused about whether Africa was a continent, and which countries were in NAFTA. I was perfectly happy staying under the radar as an anonymous source for Fox News‘ Carl Cameron, but now that Palin has accused her accusers of being “unprofessional…jerks…cowards… taking things out of context, and then tried to spread something on national news” and begun to cast doubt on the Fox News report, maybe she’s right to a certain extent. For those of us on the McCain campaign who thought that she acted like a rogue diva and lost John the election, maybe we DO have a responsibility to come out in public. But Sarah… careful what you ask for: some of us may have more to reveal.

So yes, to be clear, last week I was the one who leaked those things to a producer at Fox News who works with Cameron. Carl and his producers are good guys, and I don’t want them to have to worry about protecting their sources (and going through the wringer ala Judith Miller or Matt Cooper) on something like this.

As you know, I was one of the foreign policy advisers on the McCain campaign who worked with Randy Scheunemann to help prep Sarah on her debate with Joe Biden. Did we outright give her a geography quiz when we started the prep? No, of course not. But yes, in the context of the prep, it slowly became apparent that her grasp of basic geo-political knowledge had major gaps. Could she have passed a multiple choice test about South Africa or NAFTA. Probably. But it was clear that she simply didn’t have the ease of knowledge that we come to expect from a major party political candidate. Other slights came up, too: Not knowing the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas. Or the difference between the Shiites and Suni. Or when it came to international terrorist organizations, knowing that the IRA was in Northern Ireland, and ETA in Spain.

The real thing we had to constantly remind her was to never, ever compare herself in any way to Hillary Clinton, as she had at her announcement speech. We had it on good authority that Biden was prepping to unleash the inevitable line, “I know Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton is a friend of mine. And Sarah, you’re no Hillary Clinton.” Alas, Biden would have been right.

UPDATE: HuffPost is reporting that Eisenstadt is a fake. Apologies, I was taken in.