Sarah Baxter of The Sunday Times of London says internal infighting in the McCain camp have opened a rift between Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, and that the vice presidential pick is now in it for herself.
McCain has become alarmed about the fury unleashed by Sarah Palin, the moose-hunting “pitbull in lipstick”, against Senator Barack Obama. Cries of “terrorist” and “kill him” have accompanied the tirades by the governor of Alaska against the Democratic nominee at Republican rallies.
Mark Salter, McCain’s long-serving chief of staff, is understood to have told campaign insiders that he would prefer his boss, a former Vietnam prisoner of war, to suffer an “honourable defeat” rather than conduct a campaign that would be out of character – and likely to lose him the election.
Palin, 44, has led the character attacks on Obama in the belief that McCain may be throwing away the election and her chance of becoming vice-president. Her supporters think that if the Republican ticket loses on November 4, she should run for president in 2012.
A leading Republican consultant said: “A lot of conservatives are grumbling about what a poor job McCain is doing. They are rolling their eyes and saying, ‘Yes, a miracle could happen, but at this rate it is all over’.
“Sarah Palin is no fool. She sees the same thing and wants to salvage what she can. She is positioning herself for the future. Her best days could be in front of her. She wants to look as though she was the fighter, the person with the spunk who was out there taking it to the Democrats.”
The London Telegraph, talking to senior Obama advisors, says the campaign believes it will be an Obama landslide:
Their optimism, which is said to be shared by the Democratic candidate himself, is based on information from private polling and on faith in the powerful political organisation he has built in the key swing states.
Insiders say that Mr Obama's apparent calm through an unusually turbulent election season is because he believes that his strength among first time voters in several key states has been underestimated, both by the media and by the Republican Party.
Mr Obama has come under fire from within Democratic ranks over his message and his tactics. Critics say he has failed to connect with the blue-collar workers seen as crucial to winning the election, and too reluctant to make direct attacks on Mr McCain.
But his aides are convinced that he has a strong chance of winning no fewer than nine states won by George W.Bush in the closely contested 2000 election, including former Republican strongholds like North Carolina, Virginia and even Indiana, which have not voted Democrat for a generation.