Sarah Palin is in an escalating war of words with the media after the online publication Politico reported that the GOP establishment is coalescing around a common mission to stop the former Alaska governor from running for president in 2012.
Last night Palin responded, telling Fox News' Greta Van Susteren the story was "crap." This afternoon she took it a step further, describing Politico as "puppy-kicking, chain-smoking porn producers" for basing its story on information from unnamed Republican sources.
In an email to another online publication, The Daily Caller, Palin wrote "I suppose I could play their immature, unprofessional, waste-of-time game, too, by claiming these reporters and politicos are homophobe, child molesting, tax evading, anti-dentite, puppy-kicking, chain smoking porn producers…really, they are… I've seen it myself…but I'll only give you the information off-the-record, on deep, deep background; attribute these 'facts' to an 'anonymous source' and I'll give you more."
The 2008 vice-presidential nominee told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night that Politico reporters Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei were "jokes."
"If they would man-up and if they would, you know, make these claims against me then I can debate them, I can talk about it, but to me they're making stuff up again," Palin said. "And these are the brave people who want to lead the nation and run the world, huh? But they're not brave enough to put their name in an article."
Even on the final, frenzied day of the 2010 campaign season -- a political year when Sarah Palin isn't even on the ballot -- the lightening rod, former Alaska governor is still very much in the spotlight.
Through her political action committee, SarahPAC, which raised millions this year, her Facebook and Twitter pages, her public speeches, candidate endorsements and television appearances, Palin has managed to insert herself into the thick of the midterm election cycle and command more media attention than perhaps any other Republican political figure.
The trend continued on Monday as a pack of GOP leaders rushed to her defense in the wake of the report by Politico.
The report in Politico, based largely on anonymous sources, indicated that these operatives "see themselves on a common, if uncoordinated, mission of halting the momentum and credibility" Palin has amassed in 2010. Their goal is to spoil her presidential prospects because, according to the story, they do not view Palin as strong enough to defeat President Barack Obama two years from now.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele was among the first to blast those unnamed Palin critics in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "Good Morning America."
"Put your name next to your quote and then have a conversation with Sarah Palin," Steele said on Monday. "Until then, leave it alone. You know all this kind of dissension and, you know, frustration within the party is not doing anything to get Republicans elected tomorrow. So, until we get that job done let's not worry about 2012."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who is likely to be one of Palin's chief rivals if she decides to run in 2012, dismissed the story as "nonsense" in an interview on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham's show on Monday.
"First of all, I know Sarah Palin pretty well," Romney said, "and if she wants to run, there's not going to be any Washington elites stopping her."