WASHINGTON (CNN) – Some of Sarah Palin's former campaign aides are frustrated with the Alaska governor for remarking in a lengthy, freewheeling speech that she had refused to pray with them before last October's vice presidential debate.
Palin told the story in a speech to a GOP dinner in Alaska last Friday.
"So I'm looking around for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra," she said of the moments before the debate. "And the McCain campaign, love 'em, you know, they're a lot of people around me, but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray."
As the audience laughed, Palin noted that she meant no disrespect to the McCain campaign and that ended up saying a prayer with her daughter Piper.
A handful of the McCain campaign staffers who traveled with the former vice presidential nominee nearly every day for two months caught wind of Palin's remarks on Thursday morning - and they aren't thrilled with her quip.
"We all talked this A.M.," said one former Palin aide in an e-mail. "This set off a nerve for sure with a lot of people."
"It's yet another example of the few staff still loyal to Palin questioning their loyalty and ardent defense of her over the several months since the campaign," said the aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about campaign colleagues.
Since election day, Palin has publicly griped about the way she was handled by the McCain team and pushed back against some of the campaign advisers who attacked her anonymously in the press.
But another former staffer said that in doing so, Palin is failing to distinguish between the strategists at McCain headquarters and the people who were at her side every day from late August through election day.
"It's about us people who were on the plane, who showed extreme loyalty to Palin, continually getting thrown under the bus or slapped in the face by her comments, whether she means it or not," the staffer said, adding that Palin's remarks "cause you to question not only your loyalty but her judgment as a leader."
The former aides said they place part of the blame for Palin's post-campaign candor on the governor's staff in Alaska. Several have reached out individually to offer advice or assistance to the governor, but "have gotten only pleasantries in response," said one aide.
"Who is the one making the decision that she needs to be out there saying these things?," the second staffer asked. "Someone needs to be telling her, 'Listen, let's not talk the campaign any more.' We need to talk about what's relevant and thinking about her influence as a voice in the Republican Party."
"The people that she has, either working at her PAC or advisers in Alaska, aren't exactly making the best decisions for her," the staffer said.
Palin's office in Alaska did not respond to a request for comment.