March 27th, 2009
08:10 AM ET
11 years ago

Palin's prayer remark angers former staffers

Palin's speech last week has some former aides grumbling.

Palin's speech last week has some former aides grumbling.

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.

Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. General

    I LOVE SARAH PALIN!!!! I hope she keeps talking about whatever she wants. The McCain camp blew and should have to be the ones to accept responsibility for whatever happened on the campaign trail. How do you blame Sarah Palin for everything and at the same time blame her for nothing? She should keep talking, helping and getting out there to insure that the way she was treated by the MSM and her "handlers" doesn't happen again.
    Palin/Rice 2012!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Dan from Philly

    "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."

    What an ungracious woman. What happened to "whereever two gather in my name"? What would it be about someone that could possibly make them unworthy to pray with?

    If I believed in God I'd thank him every day that this woman is not VP.

    March 26, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  3. skeptic1

    I've known too many of these "pray-with-me" people – all exactly alike. They know everything, have zero humility, come first, exist above all in their clueless self-serving state of existence. I kind of hope their spaceship comes soon.

    March 26, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Vincent

    If Palin wanted to pray, she doesn't need anyone's help to pray to Jesus and God. When Jesus died on the cross, the great conforter (Holy Spirit) was given to His followers. We can pray to Jesus and God directly without any person interceding for us. That is Christianity 101.

    March 26, 2009 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  5. sPoNgEbOb SqUaRePaNtS

    This woman is behaving like a Pharisee

    She believes in wearing religion on the sleeves, and accuse others for not publicly displaying their spirituality, by joining her on prayer grounds.

    Can any mature Christian, tell that Gun-Tauting-Conservative "Palin" that you do not need to be physically standing with her, on the same place and time, for your prayers to be heard by God?

    GOP = Grand Old Pharisees

    Palin, I can see the moon from my house; does that make me an astronaut?

    March 26, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  6. Jason B.

    This woman makes my head hurt. She must have seen she hadn't had a headline in a couple days so she had to go play "victim" again.

    She just seems to refuse to accept that people are tired of her. She turns down stimulus funds her constituents could've likely badly used all to look like a good lil' GOP player, claims that living near a foreign country counts as foreign policy experience, is a poor public speaker at best, and she wants to be a big player in national politics??

    March 26, 2009 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. A, Portland

    Can someone please tell Mrs. Palin what it means to be a Christian. She has zero characters or values of my upbringing.

    Negative, speak ill of others, put herself on a pedestal.

    If this is the "Christian values" of the Republican party, I rather not be.

    March 26, 2009 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  8. run Palin run, but with what help?

    make sure you stab everyone that helps you in the back, that way they are sure to not only not work for you, but will vote against you

    good strategy

    March 26, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  9. Perusing-through

    So what are you saying Sarah? Are you insinuating that McCain's staffers weren't HOLY enough to pray with?

    March 26, 2009 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  10. MCD, San Francisco, CA

    Seems to me, this sort of explains WHY her ex-staffers would have started rumours about her. Anybody with a brain, who was less self-centered would have figured out by now that maybe her actions were the direct cause of those romurs.

    March 26, 2009 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  11. Alex

    Keep talking Sarah. You are doing a wonderful job in ruining what little is left of the Republicans. Obviously you haven't heard that airing personal laundry ain't cool. But that really isn't all that important to anyone but you and frankly as a life long Republican, I wouldn't vote for you in a 100 years anyway. You and Rush should join camps because in this case, it is not the message, it's the messenger whose all screwed up!

    March 26, 2009 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  12. Brandon

    Palin has already cemented herself as irrelevent. She will not hold office in the future. Guaranteed.

    March 26, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  13. fatrex

    As an outside observer from Belfast,Ireland it is refreshing in these times of gloom and despair to see that Americans have not lost their sense of humor.Especially when you have clowns like Palin to keep you amused.

    March 26, 2009 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  14. Tired of Her Whining

    The only thing that continues to surprise me about Sarah Palin is how much she constantly complains about how the media treats her while she actively courts the media. She doesn't seem to lead a low profile simply as Alaska's governor. She is in the news far more than any other state's governor, and this is by her own actions. Please make her go away.

    March 26, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  15. Seth

    Nobody she wanted to hold hands and pray with? And she meant the remark with no disrespect. If you're one of those people for whom prayer is a big part of your life, what could be more disrespectful than saying you don't want to hold hands and pray with a particular person?

    March 26, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  16. Rita

    I was hoping when she went back to Alaska she might choose to spend her time getting an advanced degree (such as law). She is woefully undereducated and shouldn't depend on prayer instead of hard work ! Do you think she just woke up one morning and decided to be vice president?

    March 26, 2009 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  17. Pat CA

    You may not like Sarah Palin - but she's genuine - NOT like most of today's politicians. I think that's her biggest appeal - like it or not.

    March 26, 2009 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  18. Mike (VA)

    Governor Palin would be far more credible as a potential national leader if she stopped blaming the press for the loss and started telling the American people what SHE did wrong. An introspective interview might help her redeem herself, while constant whining shows her to be a shallow as most people perceive her to be.

    The Katie Couric interview was not yellow journalism or even a hardball interview. The fact that she could not name a newspaper or magazine that she reads was her problem, and not the fault of the press, or her campaign staff. It simply reinforces the belief held by many that conservatives are anti-intellectuals.

    Maybe her staff wanted her to prepare for the debate rather than pray for a good outcome. If she realizes her dream and becomes president, will she hold prime time prayer sessions and ask all Americans to join her, or will she lead the country by understanding world events and being prepared to deal with them?

    March 26, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. RBS

    What a nasty, vindictive, small person.

    Hold hands and pray, indeed.

    I don't understand how using the act of prayer, which is supposed to be an act of grace, as a way to attack people, makes Palin an exemplar of anything but nastiness and hypocrisy.

    March 26, 2009 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  20. Truth monitor

    Shirley from CA – I could not have said it better! You hit the nail on the head more than once. Bravo!

    March 26, 2009 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  21. Pier Giacalone

    The gift that keeps on giving! :).

    Democrats should be sending letters in the thousands to every major network to give Palin her own show. She's the best thing to happen to Democrats since the economic meltdown.

    March 26, 2009 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  22. DJ

    If the GOP continues to embrace this woman, they are not doing themselves any justice. She may win the base, but you already have that. She does not appeal to the middle or independents.

    She makes it sound like no one was worthy to pray with her. My bible teaches me that Jesus prayed with and for sinners. If he can pray with anyone, she should be able to.

    March 26, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  23. BP

    Qhote: "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."

    That's because she's not smart enough to draw those kinds of subtle distinctions.

    March 26, 2009 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  24. Wynter

    Another nail in her political coffin... oh no, none of the mistakes were her doing... it was all those BAD McCain handlers that made the mistakes... First it was the media, then it was those nasty bloggers, then it was the handlers and now she is throwing her own campaign aides under the Palin Bus....

    Give it a rest Gov. PAIN! Thats right PAIN. Pain in the neck... from all your complaining about everyone else. A good leader would accept the blame and move on. But nothing is YOUR fault.. right... sure.

    March 26, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  25. Peter

    Hey Mike:

    Unclog your ears. Palin as VP was not the right choose. There is no breathe of fresh air as you suggest. It's all non-sense and no talk about conversative strategies or vision for the future. As long as she talks about the past, her State and her political future will be a failure.

    March 26, 2009 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
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