Palin defends herself, others who worked closely with her do so also
The Politico has additional information here:
The Republicans who worked most closely with Palin — the ones who were with her from when she first walked into that swooning Ohio basketball arena in August until she walked off the stage after McCain’s concession speech in Phoenix Tuesday — are now having their say in that conversation.
And they want it known that they’re sick of Sarah Palin being dragged through the mud.
“It’s depressing,” said Steve Biegun, a veteran foreign policy hand who tutored and staffed Palin and traveled with her through the fall. “We worked our asses off. It was a tough campaign. Then we have this?”
Biegun emphatically made the case for his much-maligned former boss.
“I think she was fantastic. She just brought a special energy to our ticket. Look, I was there at those rallies.”
Adds another former campaign aide: “You know what she did for us. She certainly solidified a hell of a lot of [previously unenthused Republicans].”
Without question, Palin offered McCain a boost of energy that he’d lacked since winning his party’s nomination. She gave the party’s base something to be excited about, nearly overnight drawing wildly enthusiastic crowds, more grassroots volunteers and a spike in small-dollar fundraising.
But she also wound up appealing less to supporters of Hillary Clinton and skeptics of President Bush than McCain aides had hoped; instead, she reinforced the ticket’s standing with voters already inclined to pull the Republican lever. And polls show that she actually turned off some of the moderate and independent voters she was picked, in part, to attract.
Still, she remains beloved by much of the GOP base, and top party officials are already predicting that she’ll be their top fundraising draw going into the 2010 cycle. . . .
“I’m appalled by it because Sarah Palin was one of nicest people I have ever had the chance to work with,” says Biegun, a former Bush NSC aide. “I’ve worked in Washington for 20 years, on the Hill, in the White House and in the private sector, and she ranks at the highest levels of decency, kindness and graciousness of anybody I’ve ever worked with.”
Biegun said Palin’s generous spirit was on clear display the final weekend of the campaign, after she was subjected to a prank call by a pair of French Canadian radio DJs imitating French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“I approved the call and was in abject horror of what I had done,” he recounted. “But she said, ‘Look, it’s not about whose fault this is, don’t beat yourself up, let’s just move on.’" . . .