MIAMI (CNN) – Two hours before Thursday morning’s press conference at the Republican Governors Association — her first since the Republican presidential ticket lost last week — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was still scheduled to appear alone. Instead, she spoke with a row of fellow governors standing silently behind her.
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour told CNN producer Evan Glass that they all met at 9 a.m. - an hour-and-a-half before the press conference’s scheduled start time - and by then it had been "decided" that they'd all go out together.
An RGA official told CNN the reason for the change is a "long story."
He said that when the governors were all at their private morning meeting, someone brought up the desire to get beyond what happened in the McCain campaign and look towards 2009 and 2010.
Then, this source said, Palin piped up and said she agreed that she didn't want to talk about the past.
This source insists that it was then decided that the other governors in the meeting would go with her to her press conference as a "show of unity."
The source admitted that it may not have been easy for some "big egos" to go in and stand behind her, but they knew they'd be doing so.
Not present: the conference host, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. A Florida GOP source tells CNN "he didn't know about it,” because he wasn't at the morning meeting.
In another shift, Palin — who had been slated to take questions for 20 minutes or so - took just four press queries.
Why did Texas Gov. Rick Perry cut it off so fast?
"We were running behind schedule," insisted the GOP official.
Palin may not have wanted to talk about the past, but her speech was almost entirely about the McCain campaign; she included little in the way of detailed ideas about the way forward for Republicans, the theme of the panel.