So when I saw his Facebook status, as he is indeed a “Facebook friend,” I laughed and thought nothing of it, it was Matt Rexroad being Matt Rexroad. He wrote, “Matt Rexroad understands that it works with Republican voters… but if Sarah Palin endorsed me I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone.”
To make matters worse, Carly Fiorina has hired Meridian Pacific, the company that Mr. Rexroad is a managing partner of, to run her campaign. The Washington Post reported, “While Rexroad doesn’t work on that account, the Fiorina campaign paid Meridian Pacific $31,509.88 for consulting and travel in the first quarter of 2010.”
Unlike many people in the political business, Mr. Rexroad stood by his post and also stuck up for his colleagues working for Fiorina.
He told the Washington Post, “I hope it’s not a big deal!” he laughed. “I support Carly and I’ll be voting for her, and I think she’s going to win. But from my point of view, I don’t know how you quit as the governor of your state and get taken seriously. I have a client this cycle who tells me I should keep this to myself, but it’s my opinion. Look at Ross Perot — he was rock star for a while, and then after a while people said, hey, he’s kind of crazy.”
He continued, “It’s good politics to stand there with Palin, but I think there are a lot of other, more accomplished people who voters should take their views from. John McCain has this enormous record and long career, and he’s accomplished so much more than her, if we’re looking for people who’ve endorsed Carly that voters should take their guidance from.”
In an update to their story, John Peschong, one of the Meridian Pacific consultants working for Ms. Fiorina told the Washington Post:
“Matt Rexroad is my business partner, but when it comes to Sarah Palin he has no idea what he is talking about and is wrong in his assessment of her and the value she brings to campaigns. I have known Sarah Palin and her family for years in my roles as the Republican National Committee’s Western States Political Director and as Western States Campaign Manager for McCain-Palin and have the highest regard for her. She is a true conservative and great Republican leader who cares deeply about the direction our country is headed. Matt is not in any way involved in Carly Fiorina’s campaign, and even if he was, it is clear that his advice would have gone completely ignored. Carly is honored to have Governor Palin’s endorsement and we look forward to continuing to make sure Republican voters know who she is supporting in this election.”
Obviously Mr. Peschong is both accurate and at the same time covering himself from further damage. However, there is a good amount of truth to what Mr. Rexroad has said, it just does not play well in conservative Republican circles. Sarah Palin has been a non-stop media story it seems since her ill-fated run as John McCain’s running mate. She showed herself to be less-than-versed in politics, political issues, and a self-promoter willing to resign from the Governorship of her state to gain more exposure in the states.
Washington Post blogger David Weigel who broke the national version of this story, commented that Mr. Rexroad’s view of Palin is indicative of a larger schism between those who are the established GOP leadership and Palin’s rise as the face of the activist wing of the party.
Writes Mr. Weigel, “Rexroad’s somewhat heretical take on Palin gets at the disconnect that a lot of Republican strategists feel between the former governor’s political influence and her role as a serious figure. At the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, Palin got, by far, the best reception of any possible 2012 candidate who took the stage. But she came in third in the straw poll, and plenty of Republicans told reporters that they hesitated to back her because they didn’t think she could handle the job of president yet.”
So where does that leave Mr. Rexroad? Obviously this is not the kind of attention a firm wants, especially when one of their own clients is involved. We will have to wait to see the fall out.
—David M. Greenwald reporting