By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers.
The Sarah Palin backlash—or comeback—is underway. Misused by the McCain campaign, then dissed by anonymous McCainiacs as a haughty diva, those who think the senator and his staff are to blame are starting to speak out. And we're not talking about those who traveled with the Alaska governor who quickly took a shining to her and chafed when the McCain team botched her coming out on the campaign trail. Now I'm hearing from key Republicans on Capitol Hill and GOP pollsters who believe that the McCain campaign should have put her out to talk about energy and political independence—her two best issues—instead of making her the conservative attack dog.
Said one pollster: "The McCain campaign took this person and completely botched her assets." What's more, the pollster said that in Palin, the McCain campaign had an expert on one of the key issues that was on the minds of Americans: energy prices. "They should have used her knowledge and focus on her expertise." And the pollster said on background that the campaign should have played up her reputation as a political maverick.
Instead, the campaign "took her and turned her into an attack dog and she wasn't good at it." And it hurt her national image, with one internal GOP poll putting her positive to negative image at 48 percent to 48 percent.
Can she come back? One who thinks yes is McCain's own pollster, Bill McInturff, who says, "She will be a major surrogate, a major player."