Released Sarah Palin Emails Contain Backhanded Compliment for Obama

Palins Email
WATCH Palin's Email Trail

Even though Sarah Palin is often one of President Obama's harshest critics, an email from August 2008 shows her giving him a backhanded compliment.

In an email to several of her aides regarding an energy policy speech Obama gave, she wrote: "He gave a great speech this morn in Michigan -- mentioned Alaska. Stole ou(r) Energy Rebate $1000 check idea, stole our TC-Alaska gasline talking points, etc. So....we need to take advantage of this a[nd] write a statement saying he's right on. (Glad he's flipflopping on OCS, too.) Joe -- could you help crank this quick statement out as our 'reaction' to some of Obama's good points this morning"

In a separate message she quipped, "He did say 'yay' to our gasoline. Pretty cool. Wrong candidate."

That is part of the picture emerging from the more than 24,000 pages of emails released from Palin's time as governor of Alaska.

The content of the emails ranges from state business to questions of haircuts, elation over her vice presidential nomination to surprise at how fast she was catapult onto the national stage, and, in some of the most revealing messages, personal distress about the negative media that surrounded her.

The emails show Palin both eyeing the vice presidential spot and criticizing Republican "party politics."

Months before McCain's selection, Palin was paying close attention to mail from constituents suggesting her as the running mate.

"Sarah Palin should run for Vice President of the United States," wrote Richard Casey of Colorado in a message to the governor's website in June 2008. "She is terrific! A vote from Colorado."

William McKane of South Dakota wrote: "I think that she would make a first-rate running mater for Senator John McCain. Please encourage her to accept it asked! What can we do to encourage Senator McCain to put her on the ticket?"

Palin forwarded many of the messages, without comment, to Janice Mason, her scheduler and executive assistant, and to Jessalyn Rintala, her coordinator of constituent relations.

But just 20 days before she accepted the the nomination, she was criticizing her own party and expressing doubts about attending the Republican National Convention.

Palin told her staff she wanted to "keep the trip short."

"I don't want to be there five days, no need to. Todd won't be able to go, it appears," Palin wrote to her scheduler and a close aide. "So Trig won't be going, all the more reason to keep the trip short."

She also emphasized her focus on Alaska over national politics: "We need to remember the GOP, for the most part...especially the AK machine...has not had any support or assistance provided our administration so our time and efforts will continue to be spent on serving Alaskans, not party politics."

A few weeks later, she was singing a different tune, when McCain announced her as the other half of his presidential ballot. "Can you flippenbelieveit?!" an ecstatic Palin wrote in an email, "He told me yesterday -- it moved fast!"

Suddenly, she found herself, and her family, in the international spotlight. Palin's political and personal life became the focus of intense scrutiny. Press secretary Bill McAllister emailed Palin about media inquiries about rape kits, tanning beds and her "belief that dinosaurs and humans co-existed at one time?" He ended his email by saying, "I continue to be dismayed at the media."

"Arghhh! I am so sorry that the office is swamped like this! Dinosaurs even?! I'll try to run through some of these in my head before responding," Palin wrote. "And the old, used tanning bed that my girls have used a handful of times in Juneau? Yes, we paid for it ourselves. I, too, will continue to be dismayed at the media."

Among the many emails of support were violent death threats from both inside and outside of the United States.

These personal attacks clearly took a toll on Palin.

"I may be wimpy about this family stuff, but I feel like I'm at the breaking point with hurtful gossip," Palin wrote. "I hate this part of the job and many days I feel like it's not worth it when they have to put up with the hate that spews from people."

Staffers like Rosanne Hughes encouraged the then-governor to focus on the many who supported her.

"Governor, do you know how loved you are? These four or five bitter people are so NOT representative," Hughes wrote, "You are so, so loved. The enemy is trying to discourage you. Hang in there! You are doing an awesome job and the Lord is your defender."

Palin received personal advice from many within her party, including Newt Gingrich. A senior McCain campaign aide confirmed in an interview on Friday that the former house speaker was in "frequent contact" with the McCain campaign to offer his advice.

The subject line of a direct email from Gingrich to Palin read: "From newt a question."

"Someone recommended to me that we study the alaskan model of revenue distribution back to the citizens and get bills introduced in the state legislature in california florida and elsewhere that if they do go to offshore drilling they should split the revenue stream with a specified amount (maybe half) going to the citizens as a direct benefit," Gingrich wrote. "How much does each alaskan get? What share of the oil revenue goes to state government and what share would go to the citizens? Do you have an expert who could explain all this to me?"

The message was signed simply, "Thanks, Newt."

The emails reveal a Palin concerned with every aspect of her work and image.

There are many emails that show her attention to issues like a natural gas plan, reminding staff, "Did the team ever follow up on the public messaging they were going to do on this issue? That was 2 weeks ago." But the messages are also filled with Palin-isms like "Can you flippenbelieveit?!" and thoughts about her image, "Do you remember who the barber is who is going to trim my hair," she asked an aide.

While Palin has not commented on the release of the emails, a spokesman said the emails "show a very engaged Governor Sarah Palin being the CEO of her state…Everyone should read them."