In the mail this morning was an advanced copy of Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson's extremely well-reported history of the 2008 presidential campaign: The Battle for America is what the two veteran Posties have called it. The book will be published on August 4; Balz and Johnson will talk about it on Meet the Press on August 2. There are plenty of scoops, and I can't resisting sharing just one involving a critical phase of the campaign in early October of 2008.
Whose idea was it for Gov. Sarah Palin to attack Barack Obama as a guy who "pals around with terrorists?" Palin's camp has always insisted that the McCain high command endorsed the stratagem, while folks close to McCain have accused Palin of going "rogue" and pointed to the "pals around" attack as an example of how Palin simply could not be controlled. The idea that Palin was hard to manage as a candidate and ignored the advice and wishes of McCain's senior advisers is explicated in some detail by Todd Purdum.
"Our opponent ... is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country. This is not a man who sees America as you see America and as I see America."Schmidt has never denied ordering this attack, although others in the campaign told me at the time that Palin had instigated it. At a post-campaign discussion I attended a few months ago, Schmidt said that he regrets two attacks: an ad linking Obama with an Illinois sex-ed program and the decision to go after Obama's friendship with Ayers. (Obama's campaign aides, in turn, told Schmidt that they regretted running an ad implying that McCain was too old (or out of touch) to use the Internet.)