One night, Schmidt and Salter went to her hotel room to brief her. After a minute, Palin sailed into the room wearing nothing but a towel, with another on her wet hair. She told them to chat with her laconic husband, Todd. "I'll be just a minute," she said. Salter tried to strike up a conversation. He knew that Todd was half native Alaskan and a championship snow-machine racer.
"So what's the difference between a snowmobile and a snow machine, anyway?" Salter asked. "They're the same thing," Todd replied. "Right, so why not call it a snowmobile?" Salter joshed. "Because it's a snow machine," came the reply.
Later, Schmidt and Salter went outside so that Salter could have a cigarette. "So how about the Eskimo? Is he on the level?" Schmidt asked. Salter just shrugged and took another drag.
-- Newsweek, "Secrets of the 2008 Campaign"
There's a ferocious campaign being undertaken on right-wing blogs to blacklist campaign aides for John McCain who are trashing the reputation of Sarah Palin in media interviews. Erick Erickson, the founder of RedState.Com, calls this campaign Operation Leper:
We intend to constantly remind the base about these people, monitor who they are working for, and, when 2012 rolls around, see which candidates hire them. Naturally then, you'll see us go to war against those candidates. ...
We are rooting for Sarah Palin. Don't make us add you to our list. Do you really want to be next to Kathleen Parker in the leper colony?
If this effort is motivated by a desire to see Palin in the White House in four or eight years, I think her supporters have a much larger task ahead of them than they realize. Even if she softens her reputation as a sharp-elbowed social conservative and establishes her credibility as a presidential aspirant, Palin finds herself in a country that has been brutal on politicians who lose a presidential race as the second banana.
In the history of the U.S., only one unsuccessful vice presidential candidate has gone on to become president. Franklin D. Roosevelt, who was then Assistant Secretary of the Navy, lost the 1920 election as the running mate of Democratic presidential candidate James Cox. Republican Warren Harding won the race in a Republican landslide. Twelve years later, Roosevelt was elected president.
In the intervening 12 years, Roosevelt practiced law and remained active in Democratic Party politics, giving nominating speeches for fellow New Yorker Alfred E. Smith at the 1924 and 1928 national conventions. He was elected New York's governor in 1928 and re-elected in 1930 before running for president. Palin and Roosevelt share a gubernatorial job from which to launch a presidential run, but New York was the largest state in the nation when he led the state. Alaska's smaller than 46 states and Puerto Rico.
Most losing vice presidential candidates couldn't even get their own party's nomination for president later. John Edwards and Joe Lieberman tried and failed, and I suspect that would be the outcome of a future Palin presidential run, no matter how well she masters the continents.