CBS Touts Private Todd Palin Email Leaked By Left-Wing Anti-Palin Website

Harry Smith and Dan Bartlett, CBS On Wednesday's CBS Early Show, co-host Harry Smith highlighted supposed division between Sarah Palin and Alaska senate candidate Joe Miller: "...a controversial e-mail, reportedly from Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, that is burning up the internet, it was leaked by a left-leaning website called The Mudflats and is causing quite a stir in political circles."

Smith explained that Todd Palin was upset that Miller had not endorsed Sarah Palin when asked about her possible 2012 candidacy in television interviews. Smith then quoted from the email in question: "Todd reportedly sent it to Republican senate nominee Joe Miller, who Sarah Palin endorsed, and it says, quote, 'Sarah put her blank [a**] on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question, is Sarah Palin qualified to be president? I don't know if she is. Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works. Is it to be completely one sided?'"

Turning to CBS political analyst and Republican strategist Dan Bartlett, Smith said of Miller, "he's gone on Fox a couple of times and he hasn't really been able to say how much, you know – profess his fealty to Sarah Palin." In response, Bartlett remarked that, "you can kind of feel for Todd Palin and what he's doing," but then added: "Sarah Palin and her camp are extremely thin-skinned and if she does plan to run for president, she's going to have to get used to people like this doing things that they don't appreciate." Smith replied: "A thicker hide in order, perhaps."

Neither Smith nor Bartlett raised the ethical issue of a private email being publicized or the fact that Palin had been a victim of email-hacking in the past.

Near the end of the segment, Smith fretted over the amount of money being used in the midterm campaigns: "...four years ago, in the off-year election, the amount of outside money that was spent was around $16 million. It's up to $69 million now, thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions. This is money that's raised by groups, nobody has to disclose where it comes from, a lot of it is pouring in, especially on the Republican side. Some people suggest that this decision has allowed all this money to come in and literally takes these elections out of the hands of the – out of the hands of the voters."

One wonders if Smith felt he was "taking these elections out of the hands of the voters" by having just promoted a story from a left-wing website. Tuesday's CBS Evening News similarly warned of the influence of "outside groups" in this year's election.

Bartlett replied: "...organizations, like labor and others, who traditionally have supported Democrats, have had the ability to have this outside influence on the campaigns and in previous cycles. You're right, this time around, because of the Citizens United offering – Supreme Court ruling, Republicans have now set up center-right organizations that are leveling the playing field." He added: "...it's the intensity that you're seeing on the Republican side. And that intensity always demonstrates itself through financial contributions....this is just a natural reflection of the fact Republicans are fired up for this election and Democrats aren't."

Here is a full transcript of the segment:
7:01AM ET TEASE:

HARRY SMITH: You know who Joe Miller is, is the tea party candidate in Alaska, who had upset Lisa Murkowski, who has been the senator there and was assumed was going to just roll back into the Senate all over again. Well, part of Joe Miller's success is dependent on the fact that Sarah Palin endorsed him, right? Well, a couple of times Miller has been on television in the last month or so, on Fox, and people have said, 'well, what do you think of Sarah Palin, you know, running for president?' And Miller has been kind of-

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: He didn't return the endorsement, so to speak.

SMITH: Exactly right. Well apparently, Todd Palin is not exactly pleased with those responses. There is some – an apparent internet trail is causing an internet sensation. And we will delve into that in a couple of minutes.

RODRIGUEZ: Show you the e-mails.

7:07AM ET SEGMENT:

SMITH: Now to a controversial e-mail, reportedly from Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, that is burning up the internet, it was leaked by a left-leaning website called The Mudflats and is causing quite a stir in political circles. Todd reportedly sent it to Republican senate nominee Joe Miller, who Sarah Palin endorsed, and it says, quote, 'Sarah put her blank [a**] on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question, is Sarah Palin qualified to be president? I don't know if she is. Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works. Is it to be completely one sided?' Here now to tell us – see if we can fathom what this means anyway and how it could impact future races is CBS political analyst and Republican strategist Dan Bartlett. Dan, good morning.

DAN BARTLETT: Morning, Harry. How you doing?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Politics of Palin; Revealing E-mails From Todd Palin Leaked]

SMITH: We set this up a couple of minutes ago, because Sarah Palin, of course, famously endorsed Joe Miller, a tea party candidate. He runs over – very closely, it was a very narrow race – beats Lisa Murkowski. And he's gone on Fox a couple of times and he hasn't really been able to say how much, you know – profess his fealty to Sarah Palin.

BARTLETT: Yeah, it's a kind of interesting deal. On the one hand, you can kind of feel for Todd Palin and what he's doing. One of the oldest political axioms is, 'if I scratch your back you scratch mine,' and he's not holding up his end of the bargain. But the reason why he's having trouble with this is the same problem that a lot of Americans are having, is they can't answer that question as to why, potentially, she's qualified to be President of the United States. In my observations, watching during the previous presidential campaign, is that Sarah Palin and her camp are extremely thin-skinned and if she does plan to run for president, she's going to have to get used to people like this doing things that they don't appreciate. But it particularly strikes a chord when it's in your home state of Alaska. So, I imagine they will somehow try to figure a way to get him back out, as soon as possible, and bring a clarifying statement of his support for her.

SMITH: A thicker hide in order, perhaps.

BARTLETT: Absolutely.

SMITH: Some people suggest this means Sarah Palin wants to run for president and honestly, I don't read it like that. I think I see it like you do, that this is really just about loyalty.

BARTLETT: I think there's a little bit of both. They want to preserve the option to run for president, they want everybody to treat her as if she is qualified to run for president so she can have maximum leverage. Now whether she uses that leverage to ultimately run herself, I'm kind of in your camp, I don't think she has sent a signal on that. But she wants to be relevant, she wants to be a power broker in Republican Party politics, not only for this cycle, but more importantly, for the presidential cycle. So, they are doing everything you would want a candidate to do and part of that is behind the scenes, is lining up as much support as possible. But I'm with you right now, I don't think this is a clear signal of her intent to run for office.

SMITH: Very quickly, four years ago, in the off-year election, the amount of outside money that was spent was around $16 million. It's up to $69 million now, thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions. This is money that's raised by groups, nobody has to disclose where it comes from, a lot of it is pouring in, especially on the Republican side. Some people suggest that this decision has allowed all this money to come in and literally takes these elections out of the hands of the – out of the hands of the voters. How you would respond to that?

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Countdown to Midterms; GOP Goes On Spending Spree]

BARTLETT: Well, this is definitely a development where we're seeing more traditionally organizations, like labor and others, who traditionally have supported Democrats, have had the ability to have this outside influence on the campaigns and in previous cycles. You're right, this time around, because of the Citizens United offering – Supreme Court ruling, Republicans have now set up center-right organizations that are leveling the playing field. But, quite frankly, it's the intensity that you're seeing on the Republican side. And that intensity always demonstrates itself through financial contributions, whether it be directly to candidates. And one of the phenomenons here, Harry, is the fact that there is not a lot of confidence on the Republican side to give money to the national party because of the Chairman. And they don't want to give that money to Steele, so they're now going to places where they trust to give it. But the bottom line is this is just a natural reflection of the fact Republicans are fired up for this election and Democrats aren't. But no question about it, a lot of outside money, it's going to be the difference maker in many of these states across the nation.

SMITH: Dan Bartlett, as always, appreciate your insight. Thank you, sir.

BARTLETT: You bet, Harry.
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC