Bitter infighting between aides to John McCain and Sarah Palin erupted into public view on Saturday in a sign of tension gripping the Republican camp with the election 10 days away.
A series of recent surveys have suggested Palin’s presence on the ticket is hurting McCain’s chances.
The inquests into what has gone wrong with McCain’s campaign appear to have already begun, according to reports, with Palin’s camp blaming the Arizona senator’s senior advisers for mismanaging her contribution.
The Politico.com website cited four Republicans close to Palin as saying she had grown frustrated by advice given to her by campaign handlers, whom her supporters blame for a series of public relations gaffes.
The report said Palin was now increasingly willing to disregard orders from advisors, suggesting the Republican running mate was in the initial stages of forging her own identity for a future tilt at the White House.
Later Saturday, Politico quoted McCain advisers reacting angrily to the report, branding Palin a “diva.” The McCain sources said Palin had repeatedly gone “off-message” recently, suggesting she appeared to be looking out for herself.
A McCain source quoted by CNN added: “She is playing for her own future and sees herself as the next leader of the party. Remember: Divas trust only unto themselves, as they see themselves as the beginning and end of all wisdom.”