What a top aide to Sarah Palin really thinks about Mitt Romney, Bristol Palin, Erick Erickson and more
A series of messages forwarded to The Daily Caller show a top aide to former Alaska Gov. and possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin mocking top political figures and even her boss’s own daughter, Bristol Palin.
Red State Editor-in-Chief and CNN contributor Erick Erickson is “a total douchebag,” wrote Palin speechwriter and domestic policy adviser Rebecca Mansour in a May 22, 2010, message. “Greasy dumb ass with a talent for self-promotion. He threw himself in at the Gov’s SC rally. Self-promotion.” (Erickson said South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley invited him to the rally).
Mitt Romney supporters are “wacky as hell,” Mansour wrote, but usually Romney’s presence online is just an “AstroTurf brigade.”
“Would love to tell Mitt’s lackeys to stop backstabbing my boss anonymously,” Mansour wrote.
Then-California Senate candidate Chuck DeVore “wants to be the next Hugh Hewitt (or Huckabee). He knows he can’t win. He wants to become a ‘personality’. Give him a show to go away,” Mansour wrote. Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina over DeVore in the GOP primary for the race, angering some conservatives.
Mansour sent these embarrassing and revealing missives as “direct messages” on Twitter to an online-only acquaintance approximately a year ago. The person who received the messages forwarded them to TheDC.
The messages show that, at least last summer, Palin was planning to run for president and calculating her political moves with a run in mind.
Palin (whom Mansour refers to as “BigBoss”) “took a big risk in endorsing Nikki [Haley for South Carolina governor]. You don’t pick a loser in SC. Very important state. Mitt has no hope of winning it, so…he could endorse a 4th place underdog ‘cuz his strategy for ’12 is ignore the South. SC is crucial to someone like the Gov. She took a risk.”
When author Joe McGinnis moved next door to Palin, prompting a protest by her, Mansour told her correspondent, a pro-Palin activist, “Time to find a way to go medieval on this McGinniss. Don’t be fooled by the light tone of the [Facebook] post. The BigBoss is so upset by this.”
In response to an unknown suggestion by the recipient of the messages, Mansour wrote “I was thinking more along the lines of mailing him a dead fish.”
But by far the most incendiary messages are about Palin’s daughter Bristol. Sent in the aftermath of Bristol announcing to Us Weekly she was planning to marry Levi Johnston, Mansour wrote, “I wish they were the Cleavers too. But it’s life.”
“Two words: Patti Davis. Okay three more: Ron Reagan Junior. Two more: Billy Carter. Doesn’t your family have one?” Mansour said.
“She will hold her at arm’s length. Even Thatcher was never able to disown her screw up son Mark. It’s a Mom thing,” Mansour wrote.
Other messages, including several TheDC has chosen not to publish, reveal details about the internal dynamics of the Palin family and Mansour asking the activist whether he knew “anyone upstanding? I’m serious?” who could replace Johnston as a suitable suitor for Bristol. But Mansour did add she was “impressed” by how much Bristol Palin loved her son.
Contacted about the messages, Mansour said she was trying to “calm down” a Palin supporter and that the messages reflected only her opinions, not Palin’s. Mansour refused to provide additional context or information about the messages.
In one instance, Mansour leaked damaging information about a liberal radio host in Alaska.
“Got a scoop for you about Shannyn Moore. You’ll love this! Feel free to post it far and wide and chat about it everywhere,” Mansour wrote in a July 3, 2010, message, “First, Shannyn gets no pay for her show. In fact, she actually has to pay $150 a hour or $450 a day to rant on the air … Second, ever wonder why there are no sponsors KUDO 1080am’s 11am-2pm show? No one will buy commercial time.”
“It seems her life partner Kelly Walters is hocking the show for any sponsor. I guess Planned Parenthood and Valtrex were unavailable,” Mansour wrote. Valtrex is a drug for treating genital herpes.
Mansour serves as Palin’s domestic policy adviser and speechwriter. She is a gatekeeper, deciding who gets to see and talk to Palin, and who doesn’t. Mansour also maintains Palin’s online presence.
Part of her online work, apparently, includes improving Palin’s morale by urging activists to say nice things about the former governor online.
“Hey can you remember to send BigBoss some love @SarahPalinUSA. She reads her RTs (now that she has the new BB Twitter app) & haters spam her,” Mansour wrote in a May 30, 2010, message.
When originally contacted by TheDC about the messages, Mansour lied and said none of them were from her. Mansour said she had already encountered the messages and accurately recalled the Twitter handle for their source.
“I did actually send him one direct message. He was asking for – it was like something really innocuous – he was just asking for information about something. And I just replied and said, ‘no’ or something like that. And then the kid then used that and started to create direct messages. And that was like a real serious thing for me because I realized anyone can do that with like a screencap,” Mansour explained.
TheDC then took steps to authenticate whether the messages were real, including logging into a Hotmail account that received email announcements from Twitter with the content of the direct messages in them. Two forensic computer analysts verified that the emails had been sent from Twitter’s servers after searching the message source code for signs of forgery.
Presented with this evidence, Mansour changed her story from an initial denial to anger (“this is really kind of skeezy”), bargaining (“can I just appeal to you to leave the Bristol stuff alone?”), and sadness at the consequences of her words (“this is going to destroy my reputation simply because people will say, ‘why were you sending a direct [message to a Palin activist]?’”).
In some instances, Mansour admitted to sending the messages and recalled additional context about what she was thinking when she sent them.
“If you’re asking whether I called Erick Erickson a douchebag once? Absolutely, I probably did, because he’s written some nasty things about my boss.” Minutes later she said, “I believe at the time when I wrote that comment about Erickson he had written a snotty piece about Palin.”
Finally, rather than answer questions about the context of the messages, Mansour sent a short statement saying the messages were part of “personal private conversations between myself and someone who I thought was a friend.”