ABC News’ Teddy Davis reports: Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly is taking the McCain campaign to task for notifying her at the last minute that Sarah Palin will be a no-show on Tuesday when the Republican National Coalition for Life holds an event honoring the Alaska governor.
"I think this is clearly somebody in the McCain campaign who doesn’t understand where the votes are coming from," Schlafly told ABC News. "They only told me this at 10 o’clock last night, and it was a call from somebody down-the-line in the McCain campaign.
"The pro-lifers who paid $95 to come to this event because of Sarah Palin are going to be very unhappy," she added.
Schlafly is expecting 800 people, most of whom are delegates to the Republican National Convention, to attend Tuesday’s reception at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in St. Paul, Minn. The event runs from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. CT.
The purpose of the event is to honor Palin for being a political figure who "not only talks the talk, but walks the walk" when it comes to putting "life first."
Debbie Joslin, a Republican National Committeewoman from Alaska, will accept the pro-life award on behalf of Palin.
Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said McCain’s running mate will not be attending the event because she is "preparing for her speech at the convention.
"Events that were set up before she was named McCain’s running mate did not account for the fact that her schedule would be changing as a vice presidential nominee," said Comella.
The Republican National Coalition for Life event never appeared on Palin’s vice presidential schedule.
Nevertheless, the McCain campaign did not notify Schlafly of the plan to back out of the event until Monday night, and Schlafly claims that the Secret Service scoped out the event site earlier in the day on Monday. The McCain campaign was not able to confirm Schlafly’s claim about the Secret Service.
Schlafly, who gained her iconic status among conservatives by leading the fight against the Equal Rights Amendment, called the selection of Palin to be McCain’s running mate "terribly smart."
"I cannot believe what she has done to energize the Republican Party and the people who were, at best, lukewarm about McCain," said Schlafly.
Schlafly noted how Monday’s announcement that Palin’s 17-year-old daughter, Bristol, is pregnant and planning to marry the father of her baby, did not alter the views of social conservatives about McCain’s running mate.
"I don’t think that has dampened enthusiasm in the slightest," said Schlafly.
Schlafly added that Tuesday’s event would have been a good opportunity for Palin to quickly address her daughter’s pregnancy and to eliminate further discussion of it.
"She was not going to be subjected to questions at this event," said Schlafly.
Asked what she plans to say about the cancellation at the event, Schlafly said, "I am certainly going to say that it was McCain that canceled."