On VP Debate Night, Gleeful Ex-Palin Aides Take to MSNBC to Mock Her

In the final minutes before Tuesday night’s vice presidential debate, MSNBC journalists did what you would expect from the liberal network: They mocked Sarah Palin. Killing time before Tim Kaine and Mike Pence took the stage, ex-Palin aides Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace regaled their left-wing hosts with behind the scenes stories from the 2008 VP debate prep. Wallace recounted, “She in rehearsal kept saying, ‘Senator O Biden.’ So she kept botching the name. And she was so nervous.” 

Excited over this detail, Rachel Maddow marveled, “Multiple times she did it?” Schmidt confirmed the gossipy detail: “For sure, she just couldn’t get his name right. She kept calling him Senator O’Biden At that point in the campaign with Governor Palin, we didn't need her mispronouncing Senator Biden's name.” 

Continuing to mock Palin, Schmidt added: 

STEVE SCHMIDT:  I remember being with Nicole watching the first couple minutes of this debate and she got off to a good start from our perspective. And someone in the room, it was a small room where we were watching, says "She's doing great." I remember looking and saying, "87 minutes and 30 seconds to go." [Everyone laughs.]

Perhaps for the juicy detail, Maddow forgave Schmidt’s work for this Republican: “Steve has done so much penance for this time in his life! He's like, ‘I know I'm clean!’” 

Liberal columnist Eugene Robinson joked, “When you talk about that campaign, there is a specific look that Steve gets on his face.” 

On Monday, MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell reminisced about hammering another GOP vice presidential nominee, 1988's Dan Quayle. 

A transcript of the exchange is below: 

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MSNBC Debate coverage
10/4/16
8:56

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Nicolle Wallace is here with us. We remember the moment in the vide presidential debate when Sarah Palin crossed to center stage and there's always that rush to either meet your opponent at the center line or preferably be the one who is first over the center line and she said over and open mic, “Can I call you Joe?” 

NICOLLE WALLACE: Right. During debate prep, which Steve Schmidt was a part of, which my husband was a part of and some very smart folks were apart of, she in rehearsal kept saying, “Senator O Biden.” So she kept botching the name. And she was so nervous. My husband and I actually — 

RACHEL MADDOW: Multiple times she did it? 

WALLACE: Right. In prep during the week in Sedona. We actually — She wanted to — One of the things that both these men are doing is saying a prayer with their close family or maybe their most senior advisers. That was one of the last things we did in the green room with Sarah Palin and her family. And then my husband actually walked her out to the stage. And the first thing she said to then-Senator Biden was “Can I call you Joe?” And it was funny because we met up with David Axelrod and that team after the campaign and they said, “Oh, was that a strategy? And we said, no. [Laughter by panel.] That was not a strategy? 

MADDOW: You suggested that as a corrective for her screwing up with Biden? 

WALLACE: I’d ask Steve to weigh in, but I think she may have asked if it was okay? And they said, “Sure, you can ask him.”  

WILLIAMS: Steve, is that the way you remember it? Was it a comfort level thing? 

STEVE SCHMIDT: No. For sure, she just couldn’t get his name right. She kept calling him Senator O’Biden At that point in the campaign with Governor Palin, we didn't need her mispronouncing Senator Biden's name. I remember being with Nicole watching the first couple minutes of this debate and she got off to a good start from our perspective. And someone in the room, it was a small room where we were watching says “She's doing great.” I remember looking, I said, “ 87 minutes and 30 seconds to go.” [Everyone laughs.]

WILLIAMS: Oh, Steve, so nice to see you smiling about it now. 

MADDOW: Steve is like —  Steve has done so much penance for this time in his life! He's like, “I know I'm clean!

EUGENE ROBINSON: When you talk about that campaign, there is a specific look that Steve gets on his face. 

WALLACE: I’m further along in my therapy. 

TimesWatch NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2016 Presidential Debates MSNBC Video Nicole Wallace Steve Schmidt Sarah Palin
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