Palin Aide Fires Back at Reported McCain Camp Slams

When somebody realized the Palins didn't have any suitcases to bring the new clothes on the campaign trail, Stapleton said Palin e-mailed her husband Todd to bring her suitcases with him. But instead, the campaign bought luggage.

Stapleton said $150,000 was the original bill, but after some merchandise was returned, the cost went down to $107,000.

Regarding the concession speech, Stapleton said a McCain-Palin campaign speechwriter was flown in to write words for Palin to deliver Tuesday night after the election. But after a discussion, aides decided only McCain would speak that evening -- not Palin. Stapleton said Palin didn't understand why they would bring in a speechwriter and then not use the speech they wrote for her, which was complimentary of McCain.

Palin-GOP Tension May Keep Rising

One top McCain aide came to Palin's defense today. Randy Scheunemann, McCain's top foreign policy adviser, who helped prepare Palin for her vice presidential debate, praised Palin's campaign effort and intelligence.

"I've been working over 20 years in Washington and I've been around literally dozens and dozens of politicians. She is among the smartest, toughest, most capable politicians I've ever dealt with," Scheunemann said. "She has a photographic memory."

But the tension between the Palin camp and other GOP groups is likely to continue or get worse. Lawyers for the Republican National Committee are heading to Alaska to try to account for all the money that was spent on clothing, jewelry and luggage, according to The New York Times.

Reports of agitation between the two camps bubbled up in the final weeks of the campaign as Barack Obama began pulling away and the GOP duo was unable to regain the momentum.

But those reports are no longer in the rumor stage as McCain loyalists are now blasting away at the Alaska governor, who was a favorite of the Republican right during the campaign, but was cited in numerous polls as a reason why many Americans wouldn't vote for the Arizona Republican.

Perhaps the most dangerous allegation for Palin are reports in The New York Times and Newsweek that when she was urged by McCain adviser Nicole Wallace to buy three suits for the Republican convention and three suits for the campaign trail, she went on the now-infamous shopping spree at swank stores, like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus.

A Republican donor who agreed to foot a majority of the expenses was stunned when he received the bill, Newsweek reported. Both the Times and Newsweek report that the budget for the clothing was expected to be between $20,000 and $25,000. Instead, the amount reported by the Republican National Committee was $150,000.

That wasn't the whole tab, however, according to Newsweek. The magazine claims that Palin leaned on some low-level staffers to put thousands of dollars of additional purchases on their credit cards. The national committee and McCain became aware of the extra expenditures, including clothes for husband Todd Palin, when the staffers sought reimbursement, Newsweek reported.

Asked for a response by ABC News, the RNC released the following statement: "The committee's requirement is to report to the FEC our expenditures and we have done so."

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