The “pals around with terrorists” line came straight from the McCain high command, according to reporters Dan Balz and Haynes Johnson. Marc Ambinder summarizes:
This just in: Nicole Wallace is a jerk
by Tom Crippen
When complaining about what a diva Palin was, McCain’s people would cite the very line the campaign had given her. They claimed she had “gone rogue” and delivered the line all on her own. Well no, looks like that wasn’t the case. (Assuming the email is genuine. Ambinder’s post doesn’t say where the fellows got ahold of it.)
Does this mean that Palin isn’t a diva and whack job? I doubt it. She has a trail of bitter ex-allies from Wasilla to Juneau to wherever Republican high command is now bunkered. My guess is that the McCain people 1) wanted to keep their distance from an especially nasty attack, and 2) wanted another stone to throw at the Gal.
The “pals” revelation brings up the same lesson taught by the great post-“pitbull” letdown: never trust a story sourced to Republican political operatives.