10.31.10

Palin's Frenzied Attempt to Save Miller

Sarah Palin strikes out at the media—and Joe Miller's opponents—with a hail of appearances, tweets and Facebook messages.

Sarah Palin strikes out at the media—and Joe Miller's opponents—with a hail of appearances, tweets, and Facebook messages.

Plus, join Howard Kurtz and The Daily Beast team for a live chat on the elections tonight at 8 p.m. EST, read your election guide, and check the Election Oracle for predictions.

In a last-minute frenzy of tweets, Facebook messages, personal appearances, and television volleys, Sarah Palin is spending the last stretch of the campaign coming to the aid of her beleaguered political protégé, Joe Miller.

Striking out at the media, calling them "corrupt bastards" in an appearance on Fox News on Sunday, Palin defended the Senate candidate and personal friend.

"The things that this fella has had to put up with up against the GOP machine and the Democrats and the liberal media in Alaska—it's no wonder that the numbers are tightening in that race," she said.

Although Miller is being talked about most, he has steadily been losing ground, with one poll showing the write-in candidate, Lisa Murkowski, far ahead.

Alaska is a state notoriously hard to poll and with the added unknown of a write-in candidacy, it's even more difficult to know how in trouble Miller truly is. The New York Times has Miller winning the race with 37.8 percent of the vote to Murkowski's 33.4 percent and Democrat Scott McAdams trailing at 27.7 percent.

But signs of trouble are legion. ABC News reported on Sunday that GOP leaders had given up on Miller and are now counting on a Murkowski victory.

Recent revelations that Miller lied about surreptitiously using government computers to vote in a poll to try to oust the state Republican Party chairman, Randy Ruedrich, in 2008 hasn't helped. And his campaign was criticized when his security detail handcuffed a local reporter trying to ask the candidate some questions.

In her appearance on Fox News Sunday, Palin blasted the local Anchorage CBS affiliate for an accidental voicemail that was left on Miller's press secretary's voicemail. The confusing voicemail, which was sent to Andrew Breitbart by the Miller camp, is garbled, but KTVA staff can be heard indirectly poking fun at the Miller campaign.

Palin told Fox News host Chris Wallace that the media in Alaska was working to help Murkowski defeat Miller, describing them as "corrupt bastards."

"We have the tape, Chris, and I can't wait till it busts out all over the nation to show what it is that we—kind of what I put up with for two years now, with the media," she said, adding that Murkowski feels "so entitled to that seat that she and some of her people, including some complicit in the media, will do anything. They will stop at nothing."

The station admits that a cellphone did not disconnect properly to Miller's staffer's voicemail but say they are not partisan.

“Joe Miller—do not give up. It’s you against the machine.”

Palin also went after Murkowski and her "hired guns," saying they helped get conservative radio talk-show host Dan Fagan off the air. A Murkowski ally had called Fagan's radio station and accused the influential talk-show host and Miller supporter of offering prizes to those Alaskans who would sign up to become a write-in candidate—a stunt intended to cripple Murkowski at the polls by having her name disappear among many others on the ballot. Fagan was temporarily taken off the air.

"Stuff like that—it's corrupt. It's frustrating. It's why Americans are saying 'no more, enough is enough,'" Palin said, in reference to Fagan being taken off the air temporarily. "We're going to turn this thing around. We're going to fight corruption in the media. We're going to fight corruption in politics."

It was a busy weekend for Palin—on Saturday night, she used her Facebook page to attack Murkowski. In a post titled. "Lisa, are you going to shut down my Facebook page for writing this?" Palin let rip, "It is an interference with Dan Fagan's constitutional right to free speech. It is also a shocking indictment against Lisa Murkowski. How low will she go to hold on to power?"

She also sent an encouraging tweet to her political protégé telling him, "Joe Miller—do not give up. It's you against the machine. This is it. 'Lost causes' are the only ones worth fighting for."

Miller's response: "I have not yet begun to fight!"

Last week, she headlined a rally for her protégé in Anchorage, telling attendees that Miller is "running against two candidates who are in complete denial about the problems that big-growing government causes for you all."

"One of them is an out-of-touch liberal, and the other happened to be the mayor of Sitka," she said, referring to McAdams.

A loss for Palin's anointed candidate and friend in her own home state would be seen as a blow, especially since Palin's backing originally helped Miller win the GOP primary in this cycle's biggest upset when he defeated incumbent Murkowski.

Some analysts, though, believe Palin's help may actually hurt Miller because her supporters are already backing him, and anything she does might mobilize the other side.

Shushannah Walshe covers politics for The Daily Beast. She is the co-author of Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. She was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.