Palin Smacks New Jersey’s Daggett for False ‘Drop Out’ Claim

Nov 1, 2009 7:15pm

Sarah Palin was inadvertently dragged into the New Jersey governor’s race on Sunday. My colleague, ABC News’ Teddy Davis, has more: Sarah Palin is chiding Chris Daggett, an independent candidate for governor of New Jersey, for inaccurately claiming Sunday morning on MSNBC that she had urged him to drop his third-party bid. “Despite what candidate Chris Daggett is claiming, I have never contacted him or his campaign,” wrote Palin Sunday on her Facebook page. “I have never asked him to drop out of the N.J. governor’s race. Now, if a politician is going to play loose with facts like this, the electorate needs to know it. “So, to the good people of New Jersey, please know that Daggett’s claims are false,” she continued, “I’ve never even suggested he should drop out of the race.” She then slyly added, “But, come to think of it …” A Daggett spokesman acknowledges that Daggett’s claim on MSNBC was incorrect. “She never contacted us asking us to drop out,” Daggett spokesman Tom Johnson told ABC News. Johnson said Daggett got the incorrect impression about Palin from people on his campaign bus who themselves were mistaken and relying on an unsubstantiated blog item. “Someone wrote mistakenly on a blog that Sarah Palin asked Chris Daggett to drop out of the race,” said Johnson. Kevin Gass, a volunteer traveling on the Daggett campaign bus, heard the incorrect Palin item, assumed that it was true and twittered about it from the Daggett campaign bus. “I could not make this up,” tweeted Gass. “Sarah Palin just asked Chris to pull out of race. Republicans getting scared much?” It turned out that Palin, who endorsed third party conservative Doug Hoffman over liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava in the 23rd congressional district of New York, had not called on Daggett to leave the New Jersey governor’s race. All she had done in an Oct. 27 Facebook post is urge voters to back Chris Christie, the Republican candidate, over Jon Corzine, the incumbent Democratic governor, and to give money to the Republican Governors Association. “It seemed plausible, even though it was inaccurate, because [Rudy] Giuliani and other big Republicans have asked him to drop out,” said Johnson. Johnson said that neither Daggett nor anyone in the campaign knew that the Palin claim was false until the former Alaska governor wrote about it on her Facebook page, prompting reporters to contact the campaign. “We didn’t know it was inaccurate until Palin put this thing out,” said Johnson. “It’s a big ado about nothing,” he added. “We’re getting more attention for this than for our detailed plan to cut property taxes by 25 percent.” This is the Daggett exchange on MSNBC which prompted Palin’s criticism on Facebook. It occurred at 8:35 a.m. ET: MSNBC: “How about the GOP? Have they given you any pressure to step aside? You know, you would think, because it would seem that you’re pulling more from Chris Christie’s camp, as I said, and if the election does go, say, to Jon Corzine, if you have that moniker of ‘spoiler’ put at the end of your name. How do you feel?” DAGGETT: “I don’t worry one way or another about it to be honest with you. And I have had Republicans come in from Rudy Giuliani to Sarah Palin to Christy Mihos, who is running for governor in Massachusetts, to people in the New Jersey Republican Party. And to be honest with you, they don’t understand. I am not running as a disgruntled Republican. I am running as a person who believes that neither party has been willing or able to step up to the issues that face the state and make the tough decisions and we need that kind of leadership in New Jersey if we’re ever going to fix the problems that face the state.”

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