Mark Salter: Leave Steve Schmidt alone!

Enter Salter who, upon watching Kristol’s interview, e-mailed the Fix to rebut several of the charges in it.

Salter, who is widely seen as McCain’s alter ego, insisted that Schmidt was the “primary defender” of Palin once she was named the vice presidential nominee and the “architect of the campaign’s communication strategy” aimed at pushing back on attacks against her.

As for the e-mail kerfuffle, Salter acknowledged that a “keyword search” of the entire campaign staff’s email was conducted after “damaging” and “unfair” leaks began to make their way into the media. (Salter rejected the idea that a single staffer was targeted.)

“The keyword search discovered an email from a staffer to a reporter that contained derogative and inaccurate information about another staffer, information which had made its way into the press,” said Salter. “Appropriate disciplinary action was initiated against that staffer by senior management, which, again, included Steve Schmidt and others.”