Former Obama campaign manager David Plouffe weighed in on Meet the Press on the role Sarah Palin is now playing in the Republican Party and her interjection into the NY 23 District Congressional race. This was before the news broke that Scozzafava endorsed Blue-Dog Democrat Owens over the Conservative Party candidate Hoffman today.
GREGORY: You talk about Palin. Let's put up what you wrote about her. "It was early morning, Denver time ... when my cell phone erupted with calls." This is when she was selected. "Palin--it took me a moment to place the name. ... Palin was a bolt of lightning," you wrote, "a true surprise. She was such a long shot; I didn't even have her research file on my computer. ... I started Googling her, refreshing my memory while I waited for our research to be sent. ... I thought it was downright bizarre, ill-considered, deeply puzzling. ... [McCain] had been shouting from the rooftops that Obama lacked the experience to be president. ... With the Palin pick, he had completely undermined his core argument against us. ... `I just don't understand how this ends up working out for McCain. In the long term, I mean ... when voters step back and analyze how he made this decision; I think he's going to be in big trouble. You just can't swing--wing something like that--it's too important.'" That was then Senator Obama speaking. What about Palin now? Is she a force to be reckoned with in 2012?
PLOUFFE: Well, I think we should thank John McCain for picking her, in terms of how it helped us win in 2008, but I think we should doubly thank him now. What's going on in the special election in New York 23 I think is a remarkable phenomenon and could affect our politics for years to come.
GREGORY: She endorsed the, the independent, more conservative candidate.
GREGORY: And now we've got the Republican candidate who's stepped aside.
PLOUFFE: So a centrist Republican has been ridden out of that race. And I think what you're going to see in the coming months, if not years, is Sarah Palin--you know, by the way, she kind of playing the role as pied piper in the Republican Party, which is something I'm quite comfortable with.
So Sarah Palin, the other Republican candidates who are likely to run, the Limbaughs and Becks of the world are basically hanging a "moderates need not apply" sign outside the Republican National Committee headquarters. And for a party that has historic lows right now, because centrists and moderates are leaving them in droves, they have catastrophic problems with younger voters, Hispanic voters and African-Americans, it's a various curious strategy to kind of repair this damage. So I think they're becoming more a very motivated corps, but a small corps of about 23 percent of the country.
Steve Singiser has more over at Daily KOS on the latest turn of events in that race--NY-23: Did Doug Hoffman Throw The Democrats A Lifeline?
With the battle between Democrat Bill Owens and third-party insurgent candidate Doug Hoffman within the margin of error, Hoffman should have picked off the bulk of the Republican vote from Scozzafava's remaining core group of supporters, and that should have been the ball game.
Few people suspected that in an historically Republican district, Owens could survive without split opposition.
But, then, by virtue of his own gracelessness, Doug Hoffman complicated matters...for himself. [...]
To give a succinct recap: Owens praised Scozzafava and promised to work for upstate New York. Hoffman cackled a quick "I told you so" before returning on the attack.
That might explain why a large number of Scozzafava supporters, from the head of the state's Independence Party to several voices within organized labor, immediately turned to the Democrat Owens rather than her fellow Republican, Hoffman. This morning, one of the more prominent newspapers in the district, The Watertown Daily Times, followed suit, switching its endorsement from Scozzafava to Owens.
And then, in the second shocker from her in as many days, the Republican nominee endorsed the Democratic nominee. [...]
In the final analysis, it might not matter, of course. Owens is still fighting upstream in a GOP district against what is now for all intents and purposes a single GOP opponent. But Hoffman's own lack of class might have made this a lot of harder on him than it could have been.
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