Report Card: Was Picking Palin a Mistake?

With the presidential election just days away, and with the latest polls still favoring the Barack Obama-Joe Biden ticket, Republican VP pick Gov. Sarah Palin is still full steam ahead, gathering huge crowds from event to event to conduct the task that always falls into the lap of the vice presidential candidate -- attack.

Today, Palin took aim at Obama's primetime infomercial, which aired last night across six television networks and garnered 33.5 million viewers.

"He's [Obama's] hoping your mind won't wander to real challenges of national security, challenges he is incapable of meeting," she said.

Since early September, when Palin was picked by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., as his running mate, she's become wildly popular with the Republican base, drawing huge crowds that often out-do McCain's. But lately, some are beginning to wonder if Palin has become a drag on the ticket.

Sarah Palin

"If John McCain wins on Tuesday, the short answer is no," ABC News' chief Washington correspondent, George Stephanopoulos, told "Nightline's" Cynthia McFadden. "If he loses, that's the question I'd most like an honest answer to.

"We know why she was picked," Stephanopoulos continued. "The campaign was looking for someone to solidify the Republican base, excite the Republican base and reach out to some voters in the middle, women and men who might be attracted to a reform candidate. She's the first female GOP candidate for vice president with working-class roots."

Stephanopoulos said the Palin selection may not have worked to attract some of the campaign's key targets.

"It didn't seem to work there, even though Sarah Palin is still popular with Republicans," he said. "When you look at the bottom line, Joe Biden helped Barack Obama with all voters. He made people feel better about Barack Obama. Sarah Palin has hurt John McCain with the broader electorate. It's shown in poll after poll after poll."


Mixed Signals Among Mavericks?

Palin rarely goes off script on the stump, and relies on a teleprompter at nearly every event. A top McCain aide told ABC News that Palin is given talking points every day.

On Tuesday, the attack of the day was based on a 2001 radio interview on Chicago Public Radio conducted with then-State Sen. Obama, in which he appeared to say "redistributive change" never occurred during the civil rights movement.

This line gave ammo to the heavily pushed McCain-Palin line of attack -- that Obama wants to "spread the wealth" among American taxpayers.

While McCain claimed Obama was running for "redistributor-in-chief," Palin went further than her running mate, accusing Obama of wanting to re-write the Constitution.

"Sometimes in politics, it's those candid little moments that give us the whole picture," Palin declared at a rally at Penn State University. "But our opponent's ideological commitment to spread your wealth around has been tried in other societies, and the only thing it ever spreads is scarcity and poverty and bureaucracy."

Internal Chatter 'Unusual' at This Stage

But are Palin's most recent words straying more and more from campaign talking points? In recent days, a chorus of anonymous McCain aides and Republican outsiders has accused Palin of reportedly "going rogue," and instead, looking out for her own political future.

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