Remember this? She was in, then she wasn’t in, now she’s out. The official word from the congressional committees is that she had to decline due to “gubernatorial responsibilities in Alaska,” but sources tell Politico that the dithering by her staff forced them to pull the plug as the deadline approached:
Palin’s withdrawal is her latest public stumble since Election Day 2008 and the latest evidence of miscommunication between her Washington-based political action committee and her gubernatorial staff in Alaska. The decision by national Republicans to pull the plug on Palin — a significant draw — also reflects the GOP establishment’s growing unease with the Alaska governor…
Palin was never completely confirmed as a speaker — which was precisely the problem, according to sources familiar with the deliberations about who would speak at the dinner…
Three people close to planning for the dinner said Palin’s aides proceeded to hem and haw about the appearance, both publicly and privately, leading the committees to decide to replace her because they were nearing a deadline to send invitations and other fundraising materials to their donors.
It’s undisputed that the initial scheduling screw-up was on her end (indeed, the NRSC’s statement today emphasizes that her team had confirmed her attendance), in which case what incentive do Politico’s sources have to lie? I could see if they had messed up and were now trying to pin the whole thing on her to cover their own rears, but they didn’t. Maybe she finally told them no definitively and they were so irritated that they decided to claim they dumped her instead? Pretty silly, if so: No sense needlessly alienating a draw as big as her.
Update: Blunt as can be, from NRCC spokesman Ken Spain: “We decided to go in another direction.”
Update: Fox News is hearing the same thing as Politico.
Sources familiar with the Palin snub fumed openly about how the governor handled this.
“She was a disaster,” one Republican source told FOX News. “We had confirmation.”…
Another source familiar with the invitation indicated that the campaign committees were so incensed with Palin that they did not even bother to officially notify her that they rescinded the invitation.
Update 4/1: Conservatives 4 Palin cites this quote from SarahPAC spokesman Meg Stapleton in Palin’s defense:
Stapleton said Palin would not agree to political events until after April 20, when the Alaska legislative session ends. “She is focused on Alaska,” Stapleton said today.
And while Palin’s camp claimed no hard feelings about being replaced by Gingrich, Stapleton said, “She probably would have said yes if they could have waited.”
NBC notes that Palin is still scheduled to attend an Indiana pro-life dinner on April 16th, but C4P argues that that’s not a “political,” i.e. partisan, event and therefore might not have the same ethics laws implications while the legislature’s in session. If that’s so, I’m not sure why Stapleton didn’t make that point to NBC.