An outspoken Clinton supporter during the Democratic primary who switched his allegiance to the GOP ticket for the general election, Coale made his case to Palin at the Iron Dog snowmachine competition in Fairbanks, where Todd Palin was competing over Valentine’s Day weekend. His broader aim, say Palin camp insiders, was to help Palin develop a relationship with the former first family that he thought could bolster the polarizing governor’s standing with Democrats and independents.
Palin was amenable to getting acquainted with the Clintons but was skeptical of using her PAC to help the former first lady.
She expressed concern to aides about Coale’s request that weekend and a few days later directed Meg Stapleton, an Alaska-based campaign aide, to tell Coale that she would not help retire Clinton’s debt.
“While we appreciate your efforts and recognize that a friendship with the Clintons is appropriate, the governor believes (and I concur) that using SarahPAC to pay down Hillary’s debt is not a prudent use of the money,” Stapleton wrote to Coale in a Feb. 17 e-mail, a few days after he made his pitch to the governor. “Contributors who chose between heating their homes and sending in a contribution because they believe in Sarah would be crushed.”