Former top McCain strategist trashes Palin pick

Mike Murphy and conservative commentator Peggy Noonan are caught on a live mike delivering some harsh assessments of Sarah Palin and John McCain's campaign.

Published September 3, 2008 9:14PM (EDT)

Apparently some people still haven't noticed the cautionary example Jesse Jackson provided not so long ago and learned to shut up whenever they're wearing a microphone. On Wednesday, three people -- MSNBC's Chuck Todd, top GOP strategist Mike Murphy and prominent conservative commentator Peggy Noonan -- got caught having what they clearly thought was an off-the-record conversation about Sarah Palin, a conversation that defines brutal honesty. (You can listen to it below.)

Murphy's comments are especially interesting, because he was a key figure in John McCain's 2000 presidential run, and earlier this year there was speculation that he might join back up with McCain. Clearly, if he had, he would have advocated for a different path than the campaign has taken. In the recording, Murphy can be heard implying that he thinks McCain should have chosen someone from a blue state as his running mate. Apparently referring to some of McCain's current advisors, Murphy then says, "These guys, this is all like how you win a Texas race -- you know, just run it up. And it's not gonna work."

Noonan can then be heard agreeing with Murphy, saying, "It's over." A little later, Noonan responds to a question about whether Palin was the most qualified woman McCain could have chosen. "The most qualified? No," Noonan responds. "I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives ... Every time Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it." (By the way, Noonan's column in the Wall Street Journal just happens to have run today; I suggest reading it, if only to note the differences between what she says in public and what she says in private.)

Finally, there's one parting shot, a bit of insult added to injury, as Murphy says, "You know what's really the worst thing about it? The greatness of McCain is no cynicism, and it's cynical."

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

MORE FROM Alex Koppelman

Related Topics ------------------------------------------

2008 Elections John Mccain R-ariz. Sarah Palin