Add Matthew Dowd to the growing list of senior Republican advisers rebuking Sen. John McCain.
Dowd, chief strategist for President George W. Bush’s reelection, fingered Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s nomination as a turning point in McCain’s slide.
“They didn’t allow John McCain to pick the person he wanted for Vice President,” Dowd said, referring to Sen. Joe Lieberman, which undercut his experience argument and tethered McCain to the GOP base.
“He knows in his gut he put somebody unqualified on the ballot,” Dowd stressed, “and put the country at risk.”
Dowd also said the Palin pick, in contrast to Sen. Barack Obama’s choice of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate, showed voters which candidate was “serious” about governing.
The sharp assessment was issued at a Tuesday panel at the TimeWarner summit, a two-day gathering of politicos and reporters in Manhattan. (I also spoke at the conference.)
Dowd was rebutted by Mark McKinnon, a former strategist for Bush and McCain, who said no one knows what is in McCain’s head regarding his V.P. pick.
Dowd also knocked McCain’s strategic acumen, arguing that the campaign is “very tactical and not strategic,” flatly saying, “I don’t get the narrative.”
Since his time campaigning for Bush, Dowd went public with his opposition to the Bush administration’s record and the Iraq war.
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