When speaking on the record, former Clinton campaign officials are loathe to admit that any significant number of former Hillary Clinton backers have failed to transfer their support to Barack Obama. Party unity is the party line. But when discussing the state of the race on background, a more complex picture often emerges.
On Thursday, two former Clinton campaign aides told the Huffington Post that Sarah Palin's recent gaffes, combined with the economic free-fall, have made an impact on the Hillary undecideds. "She has got herself in such a bad position, with the Katie Couric interview, no matter what she does she's not gonna help herself," one said. The same former aide also declined to agree that the recent coverage of Palin has been sexist in any respect, or that Biden needs to worry about being seen that way, either.
"The American people still want someone with substance. ... The public's smart, they get this stuff. It's not about the press. When you can't name a newspaper or Supreme Court decision, goodness gracious. [Criticizing that] is not about sexism anymore. That's a little bit scary."
A second aide communicated a similar view in a separate interview. "I think tonight is gong to be critical," the former staffer said. "Hillary women who are considering voting for McCain may get very, very nervous if Palin doesn't not do well."