On Message: Republicans Hammer Palin Talking Points

According to Keith Appell, a Republican strategist who ran Steve Forbes 2000 campaign, keeping everyone on message is essential to running a successful campaign.

"The success of all campaigns whether for dogcatcher, or Congress, or president comes down to message discipline. If you have effective message discipline, you'll usually prevail. Some campaigns aren't so good at that. So far McCain has been pretty good, so has Obama."

Getting the message out is as important as crafting the talking points, Appell said.

"It has got to come from the top down. Once the message has been crafted, there are all kinds of ways the campaign communicates with the surrogates and staff to get the message out. Communication has really evolved. There are e-mails, cell phone calls, text messages and conference calls," he said.

Targeting the media for their treatment of Palin, senior campaign adviser Steve Schmidt sent a message from the top, declaring, "This nonsense is over."

He described the attention surrounding Palin's pregnant daughter and other recent revelations about the governor's personal life and professional career as a "faux media scandal designed to destroy the first female Republican nominee" for vice president.

GOP ideologues picked up the point.

"Some Washington pundits and media big shots are in [a] frenzy over the selection of a woman who has actually governed rather than just talked a good game on the Sunday talk shows and hit the Washington cocktail circuit," said Thompson.

Palin speaks tonight at the Republican National Convention, her first address since accepting McCain's offer to run last week in Ohio.

Much of her success and the success of the campaign in the weeks to come, observers say, will depend not on what the pundits have to say but on what she does.

Ferdous Al-Faruque contributed research to this report from Washington, D.C.

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