WASHINGTON - Palin-Beck 2012?
Sarah Palin has suggested Fox News firebrand Glenn Beck could be someone she'd consider as a running mate if she makes a bid for the White House in two years.
"I can envision a couple of different combinations, if ever I were to be in a position to really even seriously consider running for anything in the future, and I'm not there yet," Palin told the conservative news agency Newsmax as she promoted her memoir, "Going Rogue: An American Life."
"But Glenn Beck I have great respect for. He's a hoot. He gets his message across in such a clever way. And he's so bold - I have to respect that. He calls it like he sees it, and he's very, very, very effective."
Palin and Beck have long been admirers of one another, with the former Alaska governor often praising the Fox News host on her Facebook page. A Palin-Beck ticket would be a dream come true for the legion of so-called tea party protesters vehemently opposed to Barack Obama's presidency.
The pair shares a tendency to strike fear into the hearts of their supporters. Palin, for her part, has alleged Obama is aiming to do away with the elderly and infirm with the so-called death panels in his health-care reform overhaul, while Beck has accused the president of being a racist, a socialist and has also drawn parallels between his policies and those of Adolf Hitler.
The Anti-Defamation League has cited Beck, who also has a syndicated radio show, as the "most important mainstream media figure who has repeatedly helped to stoke the fires of anti-government anger."
Needless to say, it's a potential ticket that has some moderate Republicans squeamish.
"It's not going to happen; it's not anybody's dream," Republican strategist Charles Black, who worked on John McCain's presidential campaign last year, said Wednesday when reached at his D.C. office.
"It's way too early to be focused on it. We don't even know who's going to run."
Palin has been playing coy about her presidential aspirations as she promotes "Going Rogue" this week, saying that running for president in 2012 is not on her "radar screen right now" while suggesting at the same time it's not beyond the realm of possibility.
But with the media blitz has come fresh criticism from those who helped run McCain's campaign. This time, however, they aren't hiding beyond the cloak of anonymity - they're openly accusing Palin of lying both in her memoir and in her high-profile interviews this week.
Steve Schmidt, McCain's campaign manager, has already dismissed Palin's portrayal of him in "Going Rogue" as "fanciful and total fiction."
And now Nicolle Wallace, another McCain strategist, is bitterly disputing Palin's assertion that she pressured the self-styled hockey mom into her infamous interview with CBS's Katie Couric last fall by telling her the news anchor had low self-esteem.
"The whole notion there was a conversation where I tried to cajole her into a conversation with Katie is fiction," Wallace told MSNBC. "I am not someone who throws around the word 'self-esteem.' It is a fictional description."
She also disputed Palin's insistence that Wallace assured her the interview would be a lightweight one that would simply amount to a conversation between two working mothers and the challenges they faced. Palin's failure to answer Couric's question on what she read every day to her meandering answers on foreign policy caused irreparable damage to the McCain campaign.
In fact, Wallace said, the Couric interview was set up on the day of the United Nations General Assembly in an effort to show Palin had foreign policy savvy.
"It was never made as two working gals," Wallace said. "It's either rationalization or justification or fiction."
McCain himself has denied Palin's allegation in "Going Rogue" that his campaign stuck her with a US$50,000 legal bill to pay for the cost of vetting her as a potential vice-presidential candidate.
In fact, the Arizona senator said, the bill was for legal costs pertaining to allegations that Palin made improper use of her influence as Alaska's governor to press for the dismissal of a state trooper named Mike Wooten. Wooten was embroiled in a custody dispute with Palin's younger sister, Molly McCann.
"That was over Troopergate," McCain said earlier this week.
The senator is apparently being hotly pursued by various publishing houses to write a tell-all on Palin, with one publisher reportedly offering him an US$8 million advance to dish the dirt.
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