Palin Aide Fires Back at Reported McCain Camp Slams

Now that the defeated Republican presidential team of Sen. John McCain and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin have gone their separate ways, the knives are out and Palin is the one who is getting filleted.

But longtime Palin staffer Meg Stapleton is lashing back at anonymous critics within the McCain-Palin presidential campaign, telling ABC News they are attacking the former vice presidential candidate with distortions and blaming her for the Republican National Committee's own missteps.

Revelations from anonymous critics from within the McCain-Palin campaign suggest a number of complaints about Palin.

Fox News reports that Palin didn't know Africa was a continent and did not know the member nations of the North American Free Trade Agreement -- the United States, Mexico and Canada -- when she was picked for vice president.

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The New York Times reports that McCain aides were outraged when Palin staffers scheduled her to speak with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, a conversation that turned out to be a radio station prank.

Newsweek reports that Palin spent far more than the previously reported $150,000 on clothes for herself and her family.

Several publications say she irked the McCain campaign by asking to make her own concession speech on election night.

Palin Aide: Campaign Drove Wardrobe Controversy

However, Stapleton told ABC News the Fox News report on Africa and NAFTA was taken out of context. She explained that during a briefing session, someone asked Palin to explain the McCain-Palin stance on an issue, and as she was responding, "in the middle, she said 'country of Africa' and somebody instantly wrote it down and said, 'Oh, my God, she thinks it's a country.'"

But "she knows it's a continent," Stapleton said. "It was just a human mistake, just like Obama saying 57 states. I don't think anyone ever doubted that Obama knows there are 50 states."

Regarding the $150,000 worth of clothing, Stapleton claimed it was the campaign that said, "This is what you need as a VP candidate, and it was the campaign and/or the RNC [Republican National Committee] -- but it wasn't the governor -- saying this is what she needs."

Stapleton added that a New York stylist was told to go and make Palin look presidential, that Palin was simply presented with her wardrobe and staff and told, "Here's your people, here are your clothes."

The only items Palin remembers requesting from staff are toothpaste and coats for cold weather, Stapleton said.

Palin even saw a price tag of $3,500 on one suit jacket and said she didn't want to wear it, Stapleton said -- but she was told to wear it anyway.

Stapleton claimed there also was a directive to buy any and all clothes before Sept. 4, the day the Republican convention in St. Paul, Minn., ended, so that it could be buried as part of other convention costs.

"They said, 'Bill the convention under wardrobe so that the cost could be hidden,'" Stapleton said. "And then they realized and they were told that's illegal. So, then they said, 'OK, how do we make this legal and appropriate?' So, they had somebody pay for it and then the RNC would reimburse them."

The person who paid for the clothing in the end was a wealthy GOP donor, Stapleton said.

The campaign also bought clothing for the Palin children so they, too, would look nice, Stapleton added.

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