It seems like ages ago that John McCain urged former campaign staffers to hold their fire on Sarah Palin. Not worth it, he said. Defend yourselves if you must — but just don't go on TV.
Of course McCain was among the first to crack. He told The Hill newspaper that Palin was wrong when she claimed in her book that the campaign charged her $50k for her own vetting, saying the legal bills were for work on her Alaska ethics troubles.
Now, he's given a phone interview to Steve Holland of Reuters (a “phoner,” in the sophisticated jargon of the newsroom), defending the campaign staffers Palin names in her book. Oh, McCain!
“There's been a lot of dust flying around in the last few days and I just wanted to mention that I have the highest regard for Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace and the rest of the team … and I appreciated all the hard work and everything they did to help the campaign,” he said.
Guess who else he's proud of?
McCain, who has largely kept silent in the high-profile run-up to Palin's book release and tour, said he remained proud of Palin, whom he plucked from obscurity as governor of Alaska last year to join him in his campaign.
“I'm still really proud of her and the campaign she ran and I think it's pretty obvious that she has a substantial base and interest out there,” McCain said.