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“We Are All Palins” – With Obama Rebuttal

We are all Palins now.

That’s a major thrust of the Republican effort to rescue their vice presidential nominee, Gov. Sarah Palin. She is one of us; she is like us; her family is the American family. Those are the populist narratives developed to rebut the many questions about Palin, from her views (extreme) to her record (thin) to her vetting (hasty) to her family (none of our business, but unavoidable for the media largely because of the precedent set by her allies).

Even if this argument prevails, however, the GOP has a second hurdle to clear with voters. Palin must meet the commander-in-chief threshold.

On Wednesday, the McCain campaign opened up a second argument in its Palin defense, launching a major ad about her qualifications. The Boston Globe reports:

[The ad argues Palin is] more of a change agent than Democratic nominee Barack Obama and has more experience suited to the White House…. [It contends] Palin has a record as a “bipartisan reformer” while Obama is the “most liberal” in the Senate. It also says that while Palin fought oil companies, Obama gave them big tax breaks.

Obama’s campaign swiftly derided the spot, “Alaska Maverick,” as “borderline ridiculous.” Then it sent reporters an NBC analysis which, according to Obama aide Tommy Vietor, reveals that “basically every charge in the new McCain ad is false.” In the words of NBC’s Mark Murray:

****It’s important to note that there are a few misleading assertions in the ad. For one, the “Journal” that’s cited is the conservative and partisan Wall Street Journal editorial page. Two, to call Obama the Senate’s most liberal senator is dubious. (The charge comes from the National Journal ranking Obama as having the most liberal Senate voting record of 2007, but he was nowhere near the top in 2005 and 2006; it’s also worth noting that Obama missed many Senate votes in 2007, so that ranking is a bit skewed.) And three, the charge that Obama “gave big oil billions in subsidies and giveaways” is misleading. (According to nonpartisan fact-checkers, the 2005 energy bill the McCain camp is referring to actual resulted in a net tax INCREASE on oil companies.)

More than you wanted to know? The bottom line is that McCain dealt himself a huge challenge with his last-minute pick. Even if he succeeds in beating back the questions about Palin as a person — which might morph into public sympathy, in any case — he will be hard-pressed to sell Palin as a president. The fact that his opening argument is riddled with falsehoods, as NBC reported, suggests what a tough case this is.

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