The McCain campaign on Tuesday will announce three Colorado members to a “Palin Truth Squad,” designed to debunk “smears” against vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. State Rep. Amy Stephens (R-Monument), State Board of Education member Peggy Littleton and former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton will be part of the McCain team’s on-the-ground response to stories about the Alaska governor, along with 33 members in other swing states.
A national “Palin Truth Squad” will be run out of Anchorage, Alaska, and includes 20 members of Congress, governors and other high-profile surrogates to combat the news, Marc Ambinder reports.
The campaign plans to announce the team’s existence today in the wake of a report by John Fund about Democratic operatives and lawyers scouring Anchorage for dirt about Palin.
“We’re meeting it head on,” said Brian Rogers, a campaign spokesperson.
The campaign will dispatch high-profile surrogates — mostly women — to combat false info in the press, and the campaign will send “truth squad alerts” as warranted.
Ambinder reviews the squad’s missions in light of Palin “smears,” both accurate and off base:
Along with validated claims — that Palin sought and obtained earmarks, that she didn’t initially oppose the Bridge to Nowhere, that she raised sales taxes as mayor of Wasilla, that she maintained a working relationship with Sen. Ted Stevens, plenty of inaccurate information has spread , including charges that cut special needs funding (she didn’t), was a Buchananite (not true), that she wanted to mandate the teaching of creationism in Alaska public schools (she said that it didn’t have to be taught alongside evolution, although she didn’t oppose it), that her pastor was a Jew for Jesus (a guest pastor at the church was, not her regular pastor), that she was a member of the Alaska Independence Party (her husband was) and that she covered up her daughter’s pregnancy (Nope.) Partisans are currently litigating a slew of other incidents: did Palin want to ban books in Wasilla? No books were banned, but a “rhetorical” question was asked. Did Palin overstep her authority in pressuring a subordinate to fire a former relative? That’s pending. Among many others. The battle to define Palin will probably last through the election.
Norton was lieutenant governor in the second Bill Owens administration after heading the Department of Health and Environment in his first. Since finishing her term at the Capitol, she has served as the founding executive director of the Denver Police Foundation, a charity that raises money to bolster officers and public safety in general.
Stephens, who authored the wildly popular abstinence-based sex-ed curriculum No Apologies, served as Focus on the Family’s public policy and youth culture specialist before winning election to the northern El Paso County district in 2006. She chairs the House Minority Caucus.
Littleton, who supported Mike Huckabee in the Colorado Republican caucuses, represents the 5th Congressional District on the State Board of Education. An education and literacy consultant, Littleton home-schooled her three children and says she believes children should learn how to read by the third grade.