CORRECTION: SEE UPDATE
While Dan Balz and Robert Barnes just steno the McCain camp’s spin about how carefully they vetted Sarah Palin, Sam Stein reports that when Democratic oppo researchers asked to see the Palin clips in her hometown newspaper’s morgue, they were told that they were the first to have asked.* It’s already on record that McCain’s folks never talked to Walt Monegan, the public safety director Palin fired because he wouldn’t dismiss her ex-brother-in-law as a state trooper.
As to Balz and Barnes: How could they possibly write that story without asking basic questions about Troopergate and the Road to Nowhere and the $20 million in new debt for a town of 6,000 inhabitants?
And if Balz and Barnes were terminally stenographic, McCain and his folks were terminally un-serious. Or, as John Kerry put it:
John McCain has proven that he’s not a maverick: he’s erratic.
* UPDATE AND CORRECTION: A Political Animal commenter points out that there would have been no need to visit the paper to ask for the file; archives are on line.
**CORRECTED CORRECTION** Hilzoy reports that the on-line archive is only partial, with nothing before 1998, and very little from ’98 or ’99 or ’00, though the Palin Mayoralty started in 1996. So while it wasn’t right to say that McCain’s vetting team couldn’t have examined the “morgue” at all, it is right to say that they couldn’t have examined it thoroughly.
*** CORRECTION TO THE THIRD POWER *** But, points out a librarian, the Library of Congress probably has the whole thing on microfilm. I suppose the only recourse now is to Pick Up the Damned Phone and ask the McCain people whether they went through all the clips, and how.