Sarah Palin blamed by the US Secret Service over death threats against Barack Obama
Sarah Palin's attacks on Barack Obama's patriotism provoked a spike in death threats against the future president, Secret Service agents revealed during the final weeks of the campaign.
Palin's tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists Photo: Reuters
The Republican vice presidential candidate attracted criticism for accusing Mr Obama of "palling around with terrorists", citing his association with the sixties radical William Ayers.
The attacks provoked a near lynch mob atmosphere at her rallies, with supporters yelling "terrorist" and "kill him" until the McCain campaign ordered her to tone down the rhetoric.
But it has now emerged that her demagogic tone may have unintentionally encouraged white supremacists to go even further.
The Secret Service warned the Obama family in mid October that they had seen a dramatic increase in the number of threats against the Democratic candidate, coinciding with Mrs Palin's attacks.
Michelle Obama, the future First Lady, was so upset that she turned to her friend and campaign adviser Valerie Jarrett and said: "Why would they try to make people hate us?"
The revelations, contained in a Newsweek history of the campaign, are likely to further damage Mrs Palin's credentials as a future presidential candidate. She is already a frontrunner, with Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, to take on Mr Obama in four years time.
Details of the spike in threats to Mr Obama come as a report last week by security and intelligence analysts Stratfor, warned that he is a high risk target for racist gunmen. It concluded: "Two plots to assassinate Obama were broken up during the campaign season, and several more remain under investigation. We would expect federal authorities to uncover many more plots to attack the president that have been hatched by white supremacist ideologues."
Irate John McCain aides, who blame Mrs Palin for losing the election, claim Mrs Palin took it upon herself to question Mr Obama's patriotism, before the line of attack had been cleared by Mr McCain.
That claim is part of a campaign of targeted leaks designed to torpedo her ambitions, with claims that she did not know that Africawas a continent rather than a country.
The advisers have branded her a "diva" and a "whack job" and claimed that she did not know which other countries are in the North American Free Trade Area, (Canada and Mexico). They say she spent more than $150,000 on designer clothes, including $40,000 on her husband Todd and that she refused to prepare for the disastrous series of interviews with CBS's Katie Couric.
In a bid to salvage her reputation Mrs Palin came out firing in an interview with CNN, dismissing the anonymous leakers in unpresidential language as "jerks" who had taken "questions or comments I made in debate prep out of context."
She said: "I consider it cowardly. It's not true. That's cruel, it's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news that's not fair and not right."
She was not asked about her incendiary rhetoric against Mr Obama. But she did deny the spending spree claims, saying the clothes in question had been returned to the Republican National Committee. "Those are the RNC's clothes, they're not my clothes. I asked for anything more than maybe a diet Dr Pepper once in a while. These are false allegations."
Speaking as she returned to her native Alaska, Mrs Palin claimed to be baffled by what she claims was sexism on the national stage. "Here in Alaska that double standard isn't applied because these guys know that Alaskan women are pretty tough, on a par with the men in terms of being outdoors, working hard," she said.
"They're commercial fishermen, they're pilots, they're working up on the North slopein the oil fields. You see equality in Alaska. I think that was a bit of as surprise on the national level."
now I don't think we can blame all on her, but she certainly did not address or tone down in time. This stuff bugs me.
Personally I found the tone of the McCain campaign during the "He's an arab terrorist" period to be socially irresponsible. The accusations of Obama being a "socialist", while silly, was much less physically dangerous for the Obama family. In retrospect, I wonder if that was the point.
I agree, that's entirely possible. I don't think either she or McCain considered the true impact the earlier strategy might have. Once the woman has made the "He's an Arab" comment to McCain, though the shift to "He's a socialist" was pretty quick. I think they realized what was happening at that point and were trying to mitigate it without retreating totally.
I think that you give her too much credit. Her campaign was reprehensible.
Had they won, how after all the slander, could they have "reached across the aisle."
Credit has to be given to President elect Obama who made a concerted effort not to burn any bridges.
perhaps I am. I just think she is extremely ignorant, not stupid, just ignorant.
I don't see how we can still reach across the aisle. It feels like civil war out there. I have a few family members and people I go to school with who voted for McCain/Palin and we have a hard time talking without it turning into a fight. It is really annoying actually
It appears to be a daunting task. But, I feel that it may be the only way to get us out of the Bush mess.
I think that it is time for our representatives to see Country before party.
I hope that the radio and Fox TV hate mongers don't have too much influence over the GOP. Sounds naive to me too.