JG: So what is it that David Brooks and David Frum and others are missing about her?
MS: I get what their reservations are, but you're missing that here's a woman who ran as a reformer, who got there and took on the oil companies and immediately took on the entrenched Republican power structure and then kept up the fight. In McCain's mind the biggest sin is to run as one thing and then be another. You incur an obligation, just like when you go to war, the worst thing is to not accept responsibility for the deaths that you are responsible for.
JG: But there are questions about her reform reputation. What about the so-called bridge to nowhere?
MS: To say that she didn't kill it is just false. She made a decision not to spend money on that bridge. She did it. She has cut spending, she has reduced earmarks. She's tough, she's tough. She took a lot of body blows, a lot of crap. Your blogging colleague over there seems to have lost his fucking mind, you know. Prior to Sarah Palin, he was accusing me of being a plagiarist, the whole Solzhenitsyn thing, the cross in the sand, and then it turned out that Sozhenitsyn didn't write such a story. I mean, Jesus Christ, it's just remarkable. This whole story about how the baby isn't hers? Jesus Christ. Just crazy shit.
JG: Do you agree with Bill Kristol when he said that McCain should open up to the press in the final weeks?
MS: So we can get stories that McCain is answering questions that aren't of interest to the voters?
JG: We've talked in the past about narratives, and what narrative the press is looking for with McCain --
MS: Look, Obama is blaming the "deregulators," George Bush and John McCain, for creating this whole mess, when everyone knows how this mess got started: people pushing sub-prime loans on people who can't afford to pay them back. That's how it got started. Which party is more culpable for that phenomenon? The Democrats! The Democrats are. We say, if you want to pin political blame pin it on the Democrats for the Community Reinvestment Act and all the things they did protecting Fannie and Freddie, a position Barack Obama wholly shared. But what do we get in the media? That Rick Davis lobbied for Fannie Mae. We get no competing narrative.
JG: Do you think your guy still has a shot?
MS: Yes I do. You know, we got hit with an unprecedented financial crisis that turned an extremely challenging environment into an extraordinarily extremely challenging environment, and I get it, but I see persuadables left, I see soft support for Obama, I see reservations about his readiness.
JG: Do you think your campaign has been too negative, like a lot of people think?
MS: The other guy is much more negative, by some almost immeasurable factor. His message on McCain has been consistently negative since the North Carolina primary. Barack Obama has not made a public statement in this country which did not include a full-throated attack on McCain. It's just a fact. They have ads saying McCain opposed stem cell research. McCain voted for stem-cell research as he got ready to run for President. He offered, against the consensus advice of his staff, the immigration bill. Obama runs an ad saying, "He's turned his back on you." For three weeks Obama has walked around this country calling McCain a liar, dishonorable, and erratic. Those are character-based attacks that he has been leveling at us for weeks and weeks and not a single reporter has called him on it. It's just insane. McCain won't even use Rev. Wright, out of an abundance of caution. So he raises the next guy, Bill Ayers, and you know what we get? We get called racist. How is that racist? You got me.