TAMPA, Florida (CNN) – Ensuring that news of the Republican National Committee's sartorial spending spree will remain in the headlines for at least one more news cycle, Sarah Palin on Sunday sounded off on the $150,000 wardrobe that was purchased for her in September, denouncing the report as "ridiculous" and declaring emphatically: "Those clothes, they are not my property."
A senior adviser to John McCain told CNN's Dana Bash that the comments about her wardrobe "were not the remarks we sent to her plane this morning." Palin did not discuss the wardrobe story at her rally in Kissimmee later in the day.
But in Tampa, Palin happily broached the clothing issue after being introduced by "The View" co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who accused Palin's opponents of being "fixated on her wardrobe" and "deliberately sexist."
That opened the door for Palin to weigh in on a topic that has frustrated the candidate and her advisers since the story first broke five days ago.
"This whole thing with the wardrobe, you know I have tried to just ignore it because it is so ridiculous, but I am glad now that Elisabeth brought it up, cause it gives me an opportunity without the filter of the media to get to tell you the whole clothes thing," she said.
"Those clothes, they are not my property. Just like the lighting and the staging and everything else that the RNC purchased, I'm not taking them with me. I am back to wearing my own clothes from my favorite consignment shop in Anchorage, Alaska. You'd think - not that I would even have to address the issue because, as Elisabeth is suggesting, the double standard here it's - gosh, we don't even want to waste our time."
Palin, however, forged on.
"I am glad, though, that she brought up accessories also. Let me tell you a little bit about a couple of accessories, didn't think that we would be talking about it, but my earrings - I see a Native Americans for Palin poster," she said. "These are beaded earrings from Todd's mom who is a Yupik Eskimo up in Alaska, Native American, Native Alaskan.
ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (CNN) – With 10 days to go until election day, long brewing tension between Sarah Palin and key aides to John McCain has become so intense, it is spilling out into the public.
Several McCain advisers have suggested to CNN they have become increasingly frustrated with what one aide described as Palin “going rogue” recently, while a Palin associate says she is simply trying to “bust free” of what she believes was a mishandled roll-out that damaged her.
McCain sources point to several incidents where Palin has gone off message, and privately wonder if they were deliberate. For example: labeling robo calls “irritating,” even as the campaign was defending the use of them and telling reporters she disagreed with the campaigns controversial decision to pull out of Michigan.
A second McCain source tells CNN she appears to now be looking out for herself more than the McCain campaign.
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (CNN) – In response to early rumors that demonstrators might try to interrupt Republican presidential nominee John McCain's acceptance speech Thursday night, a number of delegations agreed to chant "U.S.A." in order to quell the sound of protesters.
"There's word of a possible demonstration coming. If it does, the chant is 'USA, USA'," a floor whip was overheard telling members in the New York delegation.
Similar whispers were heard from the Alaska delegation clear across to the Louisiana delegation on the other side of the hall only moments before McCain began speaking.
On at least three occasions during the early part of his speech, members of the audience began chanting "U.S.A." in response to protesters, who were then escorted out of the hall.
In one such case, McCain weighed in telling the crowd not to be distracted “by the static…Americans want us to stop yelling at each other.”
(CNN) – Sometimes you just have to take it on faith.
Pastor Rick Warren said John McCain didn’t hear any of the questions in advance at Saturday night’s Civil Forum, even if the candidate was a little late arriving to the pre-arranged quiet room or “cone of silence.”
At the beginning of the forum at California megachurch, Warren told the crowd and TV audience, “I'm going to ask identical questions to each of these candidates, so you can compare apples to apples. Now, Senator Obama is going to go first. We flipped a coin, and we have safely placed Senator McCain in a cone of silence.”
But at 8 p.m. ET, as Warren said that, McCain was actually not in the building. He was just leaving his hotel, with his motorcade arriving at the church nearly a half hour into the event. A. Larry Ross, a spokesman for Warren, says McCain then went directly into the holding room they dubbed the “cone of silence” (in reality, a room with no TV or audio).
Some questioned whether that late arrival might have allowed McCain to hear some of the questions being first posed to Obama.
Warren told CNN Sunday evening, “we flat out asked him” if he heard any of the questions. The McCain campaign “confirmed that McCain did not hear or see any of the broadcast” in the motorcade or after he arrived, Ross said.
When asked if McCain overheard anything, Charlie Black, a McCain adviser who was with him at the time, told CNN: "We were in motorcade until 5:30 p.m. ET; then a holding room in another building with no TV."
Warren said, “I trust the integrity of both” candidates, and said he “knew they would abide by the rules.” He joked McCain may not have been in the cone of silence, but “he was in the cone of a Secret Service motorcade”.
Ross says the whole event only came about because of the relationship Warren has with both men. He said they all agreed to assure a “level field, “McCain would not hear the questions or Senator Obama’s answers.” The pastor spoke to each candidate this week, giving the general themes. Warren decided to tell them each the first two questions in advance, about the three wisest people you know, and the biggest moral failings.
For their part, an Obama spokesperson told CNN’s Mike Roselli they are not pursuing whether McCain heard any of the other questions. They say they assuming McCain had the same information they did.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – John McCain’s campaign manager charged Thursday that Barack Obama falsely accused the McCain campaign of injecting race into the presidential contest.
"Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong," McCain campaign manger Rick Davis said in a prepared statement sent to reporters one day after Obama alluded to his own race during several stops in Missouri.
An Obama spokesman immediately denied the assertion, but noted that the presumptive Democratic nominee believes that the McCain campaign was “using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues.”
“This is a race about big challenges - a slumping economy, a broken foreign policy, and an energy crisis for everyone but the oil companies,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said. “Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue, but he does believe they’re using the same old low-road politics to distract voters from the real issues in this campaign, and those are the issues he’ll continue to talk about.”
At three stops in the battleground state of Missouri, Obama told audiences that his opponent is trying to make voters “scared” of him because he doesn’t look like past presidents – an apparent reference to being black - and has a “funny name.”
(CNN) - John McCain is facing criticism from many Democrats for likening Barack Obama to Paris Hilton, but the Illinois senator made the same comparison himself at a dinner in 2004.
"Andy Warhol said we all get our 15 minutes of fame," then Senator-elect Obama said at a Gridiron dinner in December, 2004. "I've already had an hour and a half. I mean, I'm so overexposed, I'm making Paris Hilton look like a recluse."
That attempt at self deprecating humor was delivered little more than a month after he was elected to the US senate, and just weeks before he was sworn in.
The same comparison was also made in September 2006, when speculation swirled about whether the still-very coy Obama would mount a presidential bid.
Upon speaking at Tom Harkin’s annual Iowa steak fry - a must-attend event for any presidential hopeful - CNN asked Obama about the Paris Hilton comparisons.
“Yeah, exactly,” Obama started to reply before Harkin jumped in and said, “Remember that movie with Robert Redford that was called 'The Natural, about a baseball player? This is the natural of politics.”
(CNN) – John McCain has not settled on a running mate and the timing of any announcement has not been determined, a senior McCain source told CNN.
That appears to differ from a Washington Post report Friday that the Arizona senator plans to announce his VP choice at some point before the Olympic Games in China that kick off August 8.
But the McCain source tells CNN all discussions about a running mate are still underway and McCain has given no indication he has made a decision. Moreover, McCain is just as likely to announce his choice at the end of August as he is in the first part of the month.
But top McCain adviser Charlie Black told CNN earlier this week that the campaign has done enough vetting of VP prospects so that the Republican candidate would have enough information to make a decision, and an announcement, whenever he wants.
Read more on possible VP choices: Vice President buzz swirls around McCain
Watch a volunteer tell McCain he needs to get a new staff.
(CNN) - It was a statement that a McCain town-hall participant said would land her on the campaign's "s**t list."
Addressing the Republican presidential candidate during his town-hall forum in New Hampshire Tuesday, a woman identified herself as a volunteer for his campaign, and said she had come to believe it was time McCain hires a new staff in the state.
"You've got to make some changes," the woman told McCain. "I've had problems with a lot of your paid staff."
Watch: a volunteer tells McCain to make some staff changes
The volunteers had put up all the signs ahead of the town hall event, she complained. "You've got two people sitting right here next to me…They have done more work for you volunteering than a lot of your paid staff have. All your signs that are up outside today, they were put up by us, not by your staff people.”
McCain, whose campaign has battled charges of incompetence - even from some within his own party - joked, "A lot of our paid staff, a lot of them are on work release programs as you know."
McCain later said the staff problems would be fixed.
"We'll have our folks sit down and chat with you about what needs to be fixed in your mind and in your view,” he said. “And let me just say again: I'm very aware, I'm very aware that the only way that campaigns succeed - and certainly the only way every one of mine have - is through volunteers, and I'm extremely grateful and I thank you."
(CNN) – In one of his first moves to centralize control of McCain's political organization, Steve Schmidt has tapped Rudy Giuliani's former campaign manager, Mike DuHaime, to be McCain's new political director, a top campaign adviser tells CNN.
Until last week, McCain had no political director at headquarters - highly unusual for a general election campaign. Mccain's campaign instead relied on 11 regional campaign managers - a structure many Republicans in and outside of the McCain campaign, including Schmidt, considered unworkable.
After formally taking control of the political operation last week, Schmidt decided to put a political director in place to oversee the state and regional operations.
Duhaime went to work as an adviser to McCain at headquarters not long after Giuliani dropped his primary bid.