Former McCain campaign manager Scott Schmidt tells “60 Minutes” that Sarah Palin’s “Hey, can I call you Joe?” opener to the vice-presidential debate was not, as widely suspected, as attempt to throw the self-important senator off his game but rather a reaction to her having repeatedly calling him “O’Biden” in debate prep.
I think it would have been funnier to work “O’Biden” into the debate intentionally.
A perhaps more newsy revelation that will be coming out in a new book Monday:
Until only days before the Republican Convention, Sen. John McCain was still thinking Sen. Joe Lieberman would be his running mate, until the “blowback” was so strong, they feared Lieberman would be rejected by the party, forcing the last-minute choice of Palin for the role. Schmidt said he believes the Obama-Biden victory would have been even more lopsided without Palin on the Republican ticket.
Despite my misgivings about Palin, all the polling I’ve seen confirms that. She doubtless hurt McCain with some elite fence-sitters but she more than made up for it by energizing a base that was none-too-thrilled about McCain. But I still think Lieberman would have been a game changer, both doubling down on the experience factor that was McCain’s main non-Vietnam-related selling point and sending a powerful signal that the ticket would work across the aisle.