(WASHINGTON) John McCain got a call from Defense Secretary Robert Gates. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was on the phone to Barack Obama, and to his Democratic running mate, Joe Biden. Nobody called Sarah Palin.
The calls this week were part of the Bush administration’s campaign to line up political support for a compromise deal with Iraq that cedes some authority over U.S. forces, and a courtesy to the presidential hopefuls on whose watch the deal would take effect. Palin, the only politician among the presidential and vice presidential contenders who is not in Congress, didn’t get the call.
“We are keeping them informed about activities and remember, certainly, they have committee assignments and things like that as senators as well,” White Housepress secretary Dana Perino said Friday. “One of them is going to win the election, and they will be taking over and having to deal with these issues … So it’s only prudent for us to make sure that we get them the information that we think they need.”
Administration officials said that although the Alaska governor is the only candidate at the top of the tickets not contacted, there was no snub. Initial telephone briefings by Rice, Gates and other senior officials were aimed only at key lawmakers whose support for the agreement is considered essential, according to the White House, Pentagon and State Department. McCain, Obama and Biden are all senators who serve on relevant foreign affairs and military oversight committees.
“If you hadn’t noticed, she’s a governor, not a senator or congressman,” State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters.
Rice on Wednesday briefed Obama, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations committee; Biden, the chairman of the panel; and Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., the committee’s top Republican. She also spoke to key House members.