That’s the word from CNN, pegging off of a post at TeamSarah. I don’t buy it. Viewed in isolation, it does look like he’s aware that he didn’t mention her and is winking at that fact. The problem is, you shouldn’t view it in isolation. From Meet the Press, March 30:

MR. GREGORY: In terms of future leaders of the Republican Party, would you like to see Sarah Palin become president?

SEN. McCAIN: I’d like to see her compete. I think we’ve got some very good candidates: Jon Huntsman and–the problem when I run down these names, I always leave, leave out a, a name–Bobby Jindal, Tim Pawlenty. There’s, there’s so many. There’s a lot of good, fresh talent out there.

MR. GREGORY: But would you support Palin?

SEN. McCAIN: Oh, I’d have to see who the candidates are and, and what the situation is at the time. But have no doubt of my respect, admiration and love for Sarah and her family.

He’s always taken that very politic “love and admire” line on Palin publicly. Why would he now drop it and deliberately insult her when he was praising her just two weeks ago? I’m thinking that when he tells Leno he’s left out somebody’s name, he means that he assumes he has because he’s always forgetting someone when he runs down this laundry list. This time it was Palin; on MTP, it was Romney. No deliberate snub, just an old man being absent-minded and joking about his absent-mindedness.

Or, maybe U.S. News and Tommy Christopher are right and the GOP establishment is turning on Palin to torpedo her chances in 2012. You make the call!