Political Buzz June 10, 2011: Sarah Palin’s Emails as Alaska Governor Released

POLITICAL BUZZ

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

IN FOCUS: SARAH PALIN’S EMAILS AS ALASKA GOVERNOR RELEASED

 

Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin's emails from her time as Alaska's governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska.

Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.

HEADLINES…

  • Read the Palin emails: Here are all of the state government emails of former Gov. Sarah Palin that were released on Friday by the state of Alaska. The state released them as mor than 24,000 pages of paper; we’ve scanned them into a series of searchable PDFs in roughly chronological order. They are big files – up to 30MB – so may take some time to download…. – Anchorage Daily News, 6-10-11
  • Full coverage: Sarah Palin’s e-mails releasedWaPo
  • Read Sarah Palin’s emailsLAT
  • The Palin E-Mails: A collection of e-mails between Sarah and Todd Palin and Alaska public officials during Ms. Palin’s first 22 months as governor. The messages were originally requested under state public records laws in 2008. The documents were released on Friday, June 10, at 9 a.m. Alaska time. E-mails are organized by the date of each conversation. The New York Times has redacted some e-mails to remove offensive language…. – NYT
  • Sarah Palin emails: The Alaska archive – who’s who: Nearly 25,000 pages worth of Sarah Palin’s emails from her tenure as governor are being released by the state of Alaska, spanning the start of her term in December 2006 to shortly after she was named Arizona Sen. John McCain’s vice presidential running mate in September 2008. Below is a guide to Palin confidants, critics and family members likely to appear in the correspondence…. – KTUU, 6-10-11
  • Glossary of Abbreviations: Following are abbreviations and acronyms found in the trove of Governor Palin’s e-mails released on Friday. – NYT
  • The Top Ten Revelations from the Sarah Palin Emails: At 8:37 a.m. Saturday morning, the New York Times tweeted “After scanning marathon, all 24,000 #palinemail documents are in our searchable, interactive viewer.” Regardless of whether you thought the Palin email trove was a waste of time like many, or were obsessively live-blogging the events like us, you can’t deny that the massive scanning and crowdsourcing of document review by major news outlets was a tremendous accomplishment. While revelations from the cache may continue to trickle in over the weekend, at this point the bulk of the emails have been combed through, and this is what we now know about Palin that we didn’t (necessarily) know before…. – The Atlantic Wire, 6-10-11
  • Five Discoveries from the Sarah Palin E-Mail DumpTime 6-10-11
  • In E-Mails, a Glimpse From Inside Palin’s Rise: Few could have been more surprised than Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska when Senator John McCain picked her as his running mate in 2008.
    Reporters in Juneau, Alaska, picking up boxes of hard copies of Sarah Palin’s e-mails on Friday.
    “Can you believe it!” she wrote in response to a staff member’s “Wow governor” message that Friday in late August when the choice was announced. “He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you.”
    Not two days earlier, Ms. Palin had been dealing with the sometimes mundane matters of one of the nation’s least populous states: a ballot initiative on mining, thorny personnel issues involving her ex-brother-in-law, and her personal request for “Alaska pins and governor pencils (or pens) to drop off at gladys wood elem school today after my afl cio speech.”
    A scan of Ms. Palin’s e-mails in the weeks just before and after she was chosen as Mr. McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket — among some 24,000 pages of them released by the State of Alaska on Friday — show in minute detail how she went overnight from being a small-state governor who was midway through her first term to a dominant figure in Republican politics.
    One moment she was immersed in board appointments and the Miss Alaska beauty pageant, the next she was receiving advice from the likes of Newt Gingrich and fielding questions from the national news media, including whether she believed that dinosaurs and humans had walked the earth together…. – NYT, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails released on Friday: A cache of e-mails released Friday add vivid new color and fresh details to the complicated public portrait of Sarah Palin, who displayed many of the same strengths, and shortcomings, as Alaska governor that she would later bring to the national political stage.
    Often blunt and frequently impatient, Palin derided “old school” politicians and bureaucrats and acted as a champion of populist interests on issues ranging from energy policy to women’s rights, the e-mails show. Her relations with fellow politicians, including many Republicans, were often strained, and she relied heavily on her husband, Todd, and a close-knit group of aides to help cope with crises and shape policies.
    Palin felt passionately about issues of importance to her state, the documents show, and she waged battle with foes large and small. That included detractors on obscure government commissions as well as multinational conglomerates seeking access to Alaska’s vast oil and gas reserves. She twice refers to one major oil executive with a derogatory nickname and complains that phone calls with him did not go well.
    Palin also devoted significant attention to the portrayal of her and her administration in the press, regularly decrying “untruths” in media reports and working feverishly to push back on negative assertions. Targets of her ire ranged from mainstream newspapers to commenters on local blogs….
    The e-mails — some 24,000 pages total — were released in response to public-information requests from media organizations, who first began asking for the records during Palin’s run as the Republican vice presidential candidate in 2008. More than two years later, Palin has become a fixture in the conservative political firmament, a reality-TV celebrity and a barbed critic of President Obama who may, or may not, be pondering a run for the White House…. – WaPo, 6-10-11
  • News Outlets Pounce on Palin E-Mails: Reporters load boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s emails from her time as Alaska’s governor Friday, June 10, 2011 in Juneau, Alaska. Brian Wallace/Associated PressReporters loaded boxes containing thousands of pages of Sarah Palin’s e-mails from her time as Alaska’s governor on Friday in Juneau.
    News organizations that pored over nearly 25,000 pages of e-mail correspondence relating to Sarah Palin on Friday focused on her selection as Senator John McCain’s running mate in 2008, her relationship with the media and her style of governing.
    Many news outlets — what Ms. Palin, the former governor of Alaska, calls the “lamestream media” — sent reporters to Juneau for the release of the e-mails by the state government in response to Freedom of Information Act requests.
    The result? After a day of frantically poring over the correspondence, with the help of millions of online readers, there were no major revelations but plenty of attempts to dissect the background of a woman who might yet run for president…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Palin emails show engaged leader who sought VP nod: There are no bombshells, no “gotcha” moments. The emails of Sarah Palin — more than 24,000 pages of them released Friday by the state of Alaska from her first two years as governor — paint a picture of an image-conscious, driven leader, closely involved with the day-to-day duties of running the state and riding herd on the signature issues of her administration.
    She angled for the vice presidential nomination months before John McCain picked her — and hinted at presidential aspirations.
    The messages give a behind-the-scenes look at a politician who burst onto the national stage after serving as Wasilla mayor and less than two years as Alaska governor. They show a woman striving to balance work and home, fiercely protective of her family and highly sensitive to media coverage. She expressed a sometimes mothering side with aides but also was quick to demand answers or accountability…. – AP, 6-10-11
  • Palin E-Mails Show Her Combative and Engaged: In the three years since Sarah Palin stormed the national political stage, her brief tenure as governor of Alaska has often been reduced to caricature. Critics cast her as petty, preoccupied and disengaged. Supporters say she was a maverick reformer, a salt-of-the-earth true believer who bucked the establishment elite.
    Yet what is clear in the 24,000 pages of her e-mails released Friday — completing Ms. Palin’s transformation from one of the most obscure politicians in America to one of the most scrutinized — is that her governing style was not necessarily an either-or proposition. Sometimes she seemed to be everything all at once.
    She sought to be an encouraging leader one moment, lauding her team for a breakthrough on oil production: “You guys are doing awesome.” She could be distrustful and accusatory the next: “I can’t handle staffer leaks.” She would focus on the progress of substantive legislation, including supporting a major increase in oil taxes, but then become distracted by “un-flippin believable” criticism directed at her by a popular radio host…. – NYT, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails released from time as governor – but many withheld or redacted: After a years-long delay, the state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of emails from about 21 months of Sarah Palin’s time as Alaska governor on Friday.
    The emails were released as paper printouts to the media outlets that requested them, among them CBS News, which had a reporter in Juneau collecting the heavy boxes of emails. Media outlets paid $725 each for photocopies of the records.
    Journalists are now busy reviewing the emails for nuggets of information from Palin’s roughly half-term as Alaska governor, though the emails stop in September 2008, leaving almost of a year of her time in office uncovered. The state has said it has not finished reviewing the emails from late 2008 through the summer of 2009, when she abruptly resigned. It remains unclear when those emails will be released…. – CBS News, 6-10-11Check out the full collection of emails and documents here.
  • Sarah Palin emails: ‘The false assumptions are mind boggling’: Email conversations reveal pressure the former Alaska governor was under after she entered the vice-presidential race in 2008…. – Guardian UK, 6-10-11
  • Palin closely guarded her public image, emails show: Even before she became prominent in national politics, Sarah Palin defended herself against even the slightest criticism during her tenure as Alaska governor, newly released correspondence shows…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Media frenzy over Palin e-mail release was unusual even for her: The 13,000 Sarah Palin e-mails released Friday provided little new insight about her time as Alaska’s governor. But the frantic effort to obtain the messages, dissect them and post them online served as a watershed moment for the news media, whose zealous approach will no doubt be replicated on future stories.
    The spectacle on Friday was unusual even for Palin, who is known for her ability to inspire a media frenzy. Eager to be the first to post the messages online, news outlets — including The Post — dispatched reporters armed with scanners to Juneau for the 9 a.m. release of the e-mails, which were not distributed electronically but in stacks of printed paper.
    Back in their newsrooms, the outlets competed to get the documents online for the public first and to capture the coveted top spot on Google. Reporters tweeted every new revelation, from 7-year-old Piper Palin’s anxiety that her mother was leaving for another trip, to the governor’s outraged notes over the scandal known as “Troopergate.” And they “crowdsourced” the documents by inviting readers to assist in scouring the e-mails.
    The enormous effort drew criticism from some quarters, particularly Palin’s backers. Though Palin remains a very public figure, she is not in elective office and has said she has not decided if she will seek the Republican nomination for president next year…. – WaPo, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin e-mails show husband Todd’s key role: Sarah Palin’s reliance on her husband for counsel while governing the state is well-known; Todd Palin played a key role in helping to organize the controversial ouster of Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan in September 2008, for example.
    In a March 2008 e-mail, Sarah Palin makes clear that Todd also weighed in on how to deal with Alaska’s burgeoning wolf population, a topic of debate at the time among officials and environmental experts. The governor told her fish and game commissioner in blunt terms that she opposed using state helicopters to hunt wolves and preferred paying private hunters. WaPo, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails hint at her governing style: In her time as governor, Sarah Palin was lavish with praise at times, quick to criticize her aides and also unapologetically impulsive.
    In one exchange, Palin aide Bruce Anders said he worried that her very gushing praise for an op-ed writer’s piece in support of her oil and gas policies would eventually become public. Palin said she was happy to provide an “attaboy” to writer Jomo Stewart, and said she wouldn’t apologize for going with her gut…. – WaPO, 6-10-11
  • Does Sarah Palin have a way with words? You bet – we ain’t misinformed Raft of previously unreleased emails reveal a unique style of communication and use of language: Sarah Palin may have numerous faults, but if the 24,000 pages of her emails released to the media in Alaska are anything to go by, adopting an artificial manner in public is not one of them.
    Her unique style of communication – a key component of her appeal to her fans, and source of endless fascination and amusement to her detractors – is as evident in her behind-the-scenes interactions as in her on-stage ones…. – The Guardian UK, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Treasure trove or waste of paper?: So far, there are no bombshells in the thousands of Sarah Palin emails released this week. But they reveal a fuller, more nuanced picture of one of the most powerful and controversial women in US politics today…. – CS Monitor, 6-10-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: An outpouring of support after Trig’s birth: In the days after her son Trig was born, Sarah Palin received an outpouring of support and well wishes, many from other parents of children with Down syndrome…. – LAT, 6-11-11
  • Email shows George W. Bush joked with Sarah Palin: Among the people talking up a vice presidential run to Sarah Palin before she was picked: George W. Bush.
    Palin wrote her chief of staff Mike Nizich about an encounter she had with the then-president in early August — about a month before John McCain selected her as the running mate.
    “The [president] and I spoke about military, [including] Track’s deployment and how Iraq is a different place than it was a year ago,” Palin wrote Nizich. “He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”… – Politico, 6-11-11
  • Emails Show Palin Surprised by Nomination: Sarah Palin’s rapid transformation from a little-known governor to the vice presidential nominee on the 2008 Republican ticket was as much of a surprise to her as it was to the rest of the U.S., her email messages from the time show.
    “Can you flippinbelieveit?!” she replied to a note of congratulations from an official in her administration. “Thanks for your kind words – and for keeping the homes fire burning. Thank you! We love you guys!”
    The state of Alaska released more than 24,000 pages of email messages Friday sent to and from Ms. Palin during most of her tenure as governor. The messages show few signs of contact between her and national Republicans before she was announced as Sen. John McCain’s running mate on Aug. 29, 2008, or that she saw herself as a likely candidate…. – WSJ, 6-11-11
  • Sarah Palin emails: Aides giddy at prospect of VP pick: As Sarah Palin pushed for a one-year repeal of the state’s fuel tax in June of 2008, her jubilant aides crowed that the move would boost her standing as a possible vice presidential pick for Sen. John McCain…. – LAT, 6-11-11

SARAH PALIN EMAIL QUOTES

  • On Troopergate and the ethics investigations against her:
    “I do applogize if I sound frustrated w this one. I guess I am. Its killing me to realise how misinformed leggies [legislators], reporters and others are on this issue. The accusations and false assumptions are mind boggling.
    Referring to her former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten, who was in a messy divorce with her sister:
    “He’s still a trooper, and he still carries a gun, and he still tells anyone who will listen that he will ‘never work for that b*itch’ (me) because he has such anger and distain towards family. So consistency is needed here. No one’s above the law. If the law needs to be changed to not allow access to guns for people threatening to kill someone, it must apply to everyone.”
  • On God’s guidance: “I have been praying for wisdom on this … God will have to show me what to do on the people’s budget because I don’t yet know the right path … He will show me though.”
  • On her battles with Alaskan lawmakers over the budget:
    “I’m back here in DC speaking with Cheney [the vice-president] (sat with him the entire State dinner last night), will try to speak w/Bush [the then president] today … speaking with national reporters and all these governors all about AK’s [Alaska] proof that we can provide sound oversight of resource development, and here while I’m away I find out the legislature may undermine those efforts? It’s unacceptable if the nation is to believe we’re capable of responsible, ethical ramped up development that’s need in our state, for our nation. Referring to speaker of the Alaskan house, John Harris:
    “I think that’s the most stupid comment I’ve heard all year … his statement says it all re: his beliefs: ‘What the hell can we do …?’ Nice talk Mr Speaker, Reflects well on your commitment to ethical leadership”
  • On her possible selection to be vice-presidential candidate: “The Pres [George Bush] and I spoke about military. He also spoke about (and we joked about) VP buzz.”
  • On Barack Obama: “… a guy named Barack Obama.” email from February 2007:
    “He gave a great speech this morn in Michigan – mentioned Alaska. Stole ou[r] Energy Rebate $1,000 check idea, stole our TC-Alaska gasline talking points, etc. So … we need to take advantage of this a[nd] write a statement saying he’s right on.”
  • On false rumour that Trig, Palin’s fifth child, was in fact born by her daughter Bristol:“Hate to pick this one up again, but have heard three different times today the rumor again the Bristol is pregnant or had this baby. Even at Trig’s doc appt this morning his doc said that’s out there (hopefully NOT in their medical community-world, but it’s out there). Bristol called again this afternoon asking if there’s anything we can do to stop this as she receive two girlfriend-type calls today asking if it were true.”
  • On bear hunting: “I am a hunter. I grew up hunting – some of my best memories growing up are of hunting with my dad to help feel our freezer… I want Alaskans to have access to wildlife… BUT – he’s asking if I support hunting the bears in the sanctuary? No, I don’t… I don’t know any Alaskans who do support hunting the McNeil bears that frequent the viewing area.”
  • Palin-speak: “Keep hunting, keep being a true Alaskan… keep calling it as you see it – we love the mobster in ya.”
    - to her chief of staff, Michael Nizich: “Tibs [chief of staff Michael Tibbles] is going to be p#*(ed.”
    “Holy flipping A.”
    ‘Unflippinbelievable.”
  • On the pressures for her family: “Guys, I may be pretty wimpy about this family stuff, but I feel like I’m at the breaking point with the hurtful gossip … I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it’s not worth it.”

SARAH PALIN EMAILS: FULL TEXT

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