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Kristol Rips McCain Camp, RNC For Handling Of Palin

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Bill Kristol, who has been, perhaps, the biggest Sarah Palin partisan of the pundit class, leveled some harsh criticisms at the McCain campaign Sunday for what he deemed to be a mismanagement of the vice presidential rollout, petty infighting, and leaving the Alaska Governor out on a limb after it was revealed the RNC had paid $150,000 in clothing for her.

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Kristol said Palin had been "ill served by some of the staff," particularly in light of anonymous aides ripping her as a diva and/or rogue agent in recent news articles.

He chided the RNC for not taking the hit for the clothing that was purchased on Palin's behalf.

"Why wasn't a staffer out there saying, 'you know what, I made the mistake'?" he asked. "Since when do the staffers go into hiding and let Governor Palin be the one who has to explain it? It's a total disgrace the staff has ducked responsibility for this mistake, which was not her mistake. Whatever people's criticisms of Governor Palin, no one thinks she lives high on the hog in Alaska, shopping at Neiman Marcus... I think the staff has ill-served her."

And he bemoaned the McCain campaign's media strategy, which, he claimed, had prevented Palin from taking on more of a profile in the press. Informed by host Chris Wallace that the Alaska Governor would not appear on a Sunday news show before the election, Kristol said the problem was not hers, but rather one of clearance.

"It's McCain's staff which bottle her up for the first part of the campaign," he said. "The staff has not served her well by hiding her and not having confidence."

The latter charge, of course, seems as much an indictment of Palin as of the McCain campaign itself. After all, who, beyond John McCain, has to sign off on Palin going on national television?

Nevertheless, chalk up Kristol's appearance as another conservative pundit entering the circular firing squad that has become the GOP presidential campaign.