Should stay unemployed, at least not employed by campaigns.

Steve Schmidt walking behind Senator John McCain

From yesterday’s brouhaha over Todd Purdum’s Vanity Fair hitpiece Bill Kristol outs one anonymous source:

Meanwhile, on the day Purdum’s piece hit the web (today), a journalist who had expressed suspicions in the past that elements of the McCain campaign had undercut Palin suddenly got a friendly e-mail from top McCain-Palin campaign strategist Steve Schmidt. This journalist hadn’t heard from Schmidt in months. Perhaps Steve was nervous someone would finger him for the Purdum piece. One reason people might do so is this passage in Purdum’s article: “All the while, Palin was coping not only with the crazed life of any national candidate on the road but also with the young children traveling with her. Some top aides worried about her mental state: was it possible that she was experiencing postpartum depression? (Palin’s youngest son was less than six months old.)” In fact, one aide who raised this possibility in the course of trashing Palin’s mental state to others in the McCain-Palin campaign was Steve Schmidt.

Jonathan Martin of Politico did some digging where Schmidt categorically denied Kristol’s accusation.  Another campaign aide, Randy Scheunemann, said not so fast… I witnessed it!

“Steve Schmidt has a congenital aversion to the truth,” Scheunemann said. “On two separate and distinct occasions, he speculated about about Governor Palin having post-partum depression, and on the second he threatened that if more negative publicity about the handling of Governor Palin emerged that he would leak his speculation [about post-partum depression] to the press. It was like meeting Tony Soprano.”

Schmidt replied to that basically saying “liar, liar, pants on fire.”  Then the rest of the article was about speculation about why Scheunemann would say such a thing if untrue… apparently because Schmidt tried to fire him over sharing the source of leaks within the campagin – like Nicolle Wallace or her husband Mark, etc.  Anyway if you want to read up on the whole saga have fun.

Are all campaign staff this juvenile?  I think anybody who worked for the McCain campaign, involved with this mess, should never work again in politics.  Has Schmidt ever won a race?  If this accusation made against him is true, how exactly did he think that was going to help the campaign?  With “friends” like these, the GOP doesn’t need enemies.  So I say blackball them all.  This gang couldn’t shoot straight while riding the “Straight Talk Express.”

The infighting, leaks, rumors and gossip does nothing to help the party.  If you are in the GOP and you don’t want Governor Palin to be the 2012 nominee (who knows if she’ll run), then work to present your candidate’s qualities and advance that person by way of their position and policies, not gossip and innuendos.

Apparently though attacking Palin never gets old even eight months after the campaign, and more than three years before the next one.  Andrew Sullivan is recycling debunked stories (be sure not to let him in on our secret).  Oh brother.  Gird your loins!

HT: Lisa Graas & Memeorandum

Update: Former McCain campaign staff – I’d take Moe Lane’s suggestion.

2nd Update: Mark Hemmingway (National Review Online) has emails between Kristol and Scheunemann, as well as evidence that it looks like that Scheunemann was smeared anonymously prior to the campaign’s end.  It looks like Scheunemann was loyal, Schmidt not so much.  Josh Painter points out some problems with Schmidt’s history as well and he thinks Schmidt is the leaker.   AllahPundit has it narrowed down to three.

3rd Update: Tammy Bruce asks McCain’s camp praises Sanford and trashes Palin?  HT: Conservatives 4 Palin

4th (and final… I think) Update: CBS decides they couldn’t let Vanity Fair have all the fun.  Is this what you call unbiased reporting?  It seems to be a lot of interpretation and not so much reporting of facts.

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