"The McCain campaign scrambled to take control of the public debate over vice-presidential pick Sarah Palin, canceling her public appearances and teaming her with high-powered Republican operatives as she prepared for a speech Wednesday night that will be her first, and perhaps most important, chance to define herself to the American public," per The Wall Street Journal.
"While vice-presidential candidates traditionally act as the chief attackers of the opponents, Gov. Palin's speech will focus on her personal narrative and legislative record, not on criticizing the Democratic ticket, said a senior McCain adviser," the Journal reports.
Interesting nugget: "The Xcel arena, the convention site, will be packed with 20,000 people. The largest indoor venue in Alaska holds about 8,000."
How she's playing on the supermarket aisles: "BABIES, LIES & SCANDAL," screams the headline on the cover of US Weekly.
Remember this: "Less than a week ago, Sarah Palin was a little-known rookie governor of a remote state, a working mother of five with an infant son, a woman whose life has been forged in the splendor and isolation of the Alaskan wild," Kevin Diaz writes in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
As for the McCain operation -- itself the story as questions turn to what aides knew and when about the drip-drip of Palin factoids -- these words will be the last words the campaign hopes to put out about whether everyone did their homework:
"This vetting controversy is a faux media scandal designed to destroy the first female Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States who has never been a part of the old boys' network that has come to dominate the news establishment in this country," McCain senior adviser Steve Schmidt says in a statement going out Wednesday.
"Senator McCain picked his governing partner after a long and thorough search. Governor Palin looks forward to addressing the nation and laying out the fundamental choice this election represents for the American people," he continues. "The McCain campaign will have no further comment about our long and thorough process. This nonsense is over. . . . The American people get to do the vetting now on Election Day."
The prepping: "Sitting around a dining room table, the McCain team has talked to her about Iraq, energy and the economy, but has focused on what she should say in her speech, struggling almost as hard as she has to prepare for what will be, along with a debate in October, her main opportunity to shape the way she is viewed by voters," Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes write in The Washington Post.
"Not anticipating that McCain would choose a woman as his running mate, the speech that was prepared in advance was 'very masculine,' according to campaign manager Rick Davis, and 'we had to start from scratch,' " they write. "Aides to McCain and Palin were still debating elements of the speech, according to several GOP sources familiar with the process, including whether the governor should make reference to her 17-year-old daughter's pregnancy."
Says Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.: "She can do fine in foreign policy because of the infrastructure we have around us. She's smart and she will learn over time." (Umm -- maybe knowing this stuff might have been a prerequisite for being offered the job?)