Strains Between McCain and Palin Aides Go Public

McCain Aide Calls Palin Family 'Wasilla Hillbillies'

There is one comment in particular from a McCain aide that guaranteed to heighten friction between the two camps. The angry aide described the Palin family shopping spree to Newsweek as "Wasilla hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast."

It's unclear how much McCain knew about the clothing debacle. Reports suggest that he was kept out of the loop for fear that he would not approve.

Both Newsweek and The New York Times say McCain and Palin had little contact with each other.

"I think it was a difficult relationship," one top McCain official confided to The New York Times. But a high level McCain adviser told ABC News that the two had a good working relationship.

"He likes her," this senior McCain adviser said last week. "He's had no problem with her. He's very appreciative of what she's done."

The adviser said McCain and Palin talked at least once a day. He also said McCain frequently joked about how large Palin's crowds were compared to his.

However, press accounts today suggest that Palin rubbed many of the McCain aides the wrong way. On election night when it was clear that McCain would be giving a concession speech instead of an acceptance speech, Palin approached McCain with a speech in hand hoping to make her own concession speech, according to published reports.

Vice presidential candidates traditionally leave the spotlight to the top of the ticket on election night and McCain aides made it clear to Palin that she would be a spectator that night, not a speaker, The New York Times reported.

And when McCain and Palin split up in Arizona Wednesday, the personal differences were stark.

McCain drove himself home in a Toyota sport utility vehicle. Palin's departure was a grander event. She left with an entourage of 18 family members and friends and a Secret Service detail, heading to the airport in a motorcade stretching more than a dozen vehicles, flanked by a dozen more cops on motorcycles.

Interview Prep Lacking, McCain Staffers Say

McCain aides had numerous complaints about Palin. She was unwilling or unable to find the time and energy to prep for her disastrous interview with Couric. And when she did study, she astonished her handlers by her unsophisticated views.

She didn't know Africa was a continent, according to Newsweek. Fox News revealed that during her cramming, she couldn't name the three countries that belong to the North American Free Trade Agreement: the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Scheunemann suggested the Africa and NAFTA incidents were inaccurate.

"I was not present for all of her sessions, so I can't disprove that," he told ABC News. "I severely doubt it that is accurate. It's certainly not accurate in any of the sessions I had with her."

Scheunemann said he wasn't on the road with Palin in the days before her Couric interview, "so I don't know a lot about it."

But he said Palin's debate prep "was very good."

Scheunemann also denied published reports that he was suspected of leaking reports of discord between the two camps and was fired.

"I was never fired. Anybody who claims I was fired is either lying or ... they are certainly a whack job," he told ABC News.

Questions followed Palin home to Alaska. She was asked about some of the accusations from anonymous sources when she landed there late Wednesday.

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