Top McCain Advisor on ‘Game Change’: Palin Didn’t Cost Republicans the Election – Obama’s Fundraising Did
In an in-depth exclusive interview with Big Hollywood, T. Michael Andrews, a former adviser to the McCain presidential campaign defends Governor Sarah Palin, saying that the premise of HBO’s ‘Game Change’ is dead wrong - that she was not the reason the Republicans lost the election - Obama’s fundraising is.
Andrews, a former lawyer for the Bush administration, left his position at the Department of Homeland Security in 2008 and recently authored a book, "The Border Challenge" about his experience fighting the drug war for the U.S. His interview with Big Government in January can be read here.
Andrews left Homeland in 2008 to serve as the Southwestern Regional Coordinator for the McCain/Palin Presidential Campaign and was in charge of operations throughout Arizona, New Mexico and West Texas. Here’s what he had to say about the former Alaskan Governor and the presidential election of 2008:
The premise of the "Game Change" film is that Sarah Palin cost the Republicans the election in 2008. Do you agree?
I disagree with the premise that Palin lost the election in 2008. The fact of the matter they say that money doesn’t win elections, I say bull. Obama had more money than he knew what to do with. He was very fortunate to ride on a wave of Bush fatigue, a rejuvenated electorate with this hope and change message and more importantly, he had money, which allowed him to tap into deep resources.
Lets face it, he ran one of the best campaigns, and I’ll give him credit, from his win in the Democratic primary against Sen. Clinton to his general election win, his election will go down in history as one of the best run campaigns in political history. He caught a tsunami as far as how the electorate were feeling at the time, the big deep pockets all led to an uphill climb for Senator McCain and Gov. Palin. Frankly, I hand it to Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin if they had not been the candidates you’d have seen a landslide. When I was in New Mexico, we had three offices, and I think Obama/Biden had eight to 10 offices. They double downed in the states they needed to win and the ones they didn’t they packed up and where somewhere else. Case in point in Arizona, they thought they could get Arizona from McCain, but when they realized they couldn’t, they eventually went to Nevada and New Mexico instead and they won those states.
What do you think of the McCain aides who helped with making this movie? What's their motive?
The trouble is this - you lost. It’s easy to blame people. My thought is that you lost as a team y’all have to own up. Like a football team. It can’t be one person’s fault you lost. It can’t be. In my opinion to say that it’s Sarah Palin’s fault for that loss – I disagree with that notion. I don’t know what their motive is in the movie by painting Gov. Palin as the target for the reason of the lost election other than trying to save face.
What do you say to the people who criticize Sarah Palin for not being experienced or intelligent enough to have served as Vice-President of the United States?
People who make those comments have never run for public office. People who sit back and criticize others on intellectual ability have never been in a position to lead. The bottom line is this, the person that the media thinks oughta be the president have no clue. That person does not exist on this planet and the person who thinks they are the smartest person in the world, should never hold a job with a title. I firmly believed the media felt Barack Obama was this person. Three and a half years later, I think even the media believes you need more of a person who can read off a teleprompter to lead a country. To insinuate that Sarah Palin was aloof is ridiculous. To achieve what she has done as a local city councilwoman to Mayor to Governor in Alaska … they somehow misjudged her ability, and especially her intellectual ability. She wasn’t running for professor in chief, she was running for a position that could have led her to be commander in chief.
Do you think the intent of this movie was to discredit Governor Palin in case she had become the 2012 Presidential Nominee for the Republican Party?
I don’t know. This book, it’s funny. Most of the political operatives I know have read this book, even the ones who say they haven't I suspect they have. It’s a very popular book, no doubt about it. It’s one of the few books that show what happened behind the scenes in a campaign and obviously we’re going into an election year so it’s ripe for discussion. Clearly, if the intent is to make Gov. Palin look like an idiot they’re doing the book a disservice because even the book doesn’t suggest she was the reason McCain Palin lost in 2008. The book shows a difference of opinion strategically on how to utilize Gov. Palin on the campaign trail, the book describes interactions between the Governor, campaign advisers and the Senator.
Lets face it - books generally do well if there is strife and controversy in them and it doesn't hurt if Gov. Palin is in the mix. Of course there is plenty of this. Make no mistake about this fact, you look at the poll numbers after the RNC convention. They were through the roof. Talk about a significant bump and for the first time, McCain/Palin led in most of the national polls. However, this lead evaporated over a short period of time due to the insurmountable Obama money that was funding their campaign. The money buys you a staff and an election campaign foundation. You can say what you want about campaigning in the electronic age with Twitter and Facebook, but you can’t knock the face-to-face, it’s all about the down and dirty retail politics, and they simply beat us.