Who's the "Jerk" Smearing Palin?

Over the past 72 hours anonymous McCain aides have smeared Governor of Alaska with some very nasty rumors. Some expressed astonishment that, in one meeting, she seemed unaware that Africa was not a country and was unable to name the three nations – the US, Canada and Mexico – that belong to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

There appears to be enough information now to start to honing in on who is behind these nasty smears.

HotAir has a post today on the McCain aides starting to rally in Palin’s defense.
At The Corner Steve Biegun said this about Sarah Palin and the Africa smear:

He says there’s no way she didn’t know Africa was a continent, and whoever is saying she didn’t must be distorting “a fumble of words.” He talked to her about all manner of issues relating to Africa, from failed states to the Sudan. She was aware from the beginning of the conflict in Darfur, which is followed closely in evangelical churches, and was aware of Clinton’s AIDS initiative. That basically makes it impossible that she thought all of Africa was a country.

On not knowing what countries are in NAFTA, Biegun was part of the conversation that led to that accusation and it convinces him “somebody is acting with a high degree of maliciousness.” He was briefing Palin before a Univision interview, and talking to her about trade issues. He rolled through NAFTA, CAFTA, and the Colombia FTA. As he talked, people were coming in and out of the room, handing Palin things, etc. She was distracted from what Biegun was saying, and said, roughly, “Ok, who’s in NAFTA, what the deal with CAFTA, what’s up the FTA?”—her way, Biegun says, of saying “rack them and stack them,” begin again from the start. “Somebody is taking a conversation and twisting it maliciously,” he says.

In general, according to Beigun, Palin had a steep learning curve on foreign issues, about what you would expect from a governor. But she has “great instincts and great core values,” and is “an instinctive internationalist.” The stories against her are being “fed by an unnamed source who is allowed by the press to make ad hominem attacks on background.” Biegun, who spent dozens and dozens of hours briefing Palin on these issues, is happy to defend her, on the record, under his own name.

Governor Palin’s Univision interview aired October 21. This incident occurred before that interview in a hotel room.
The governor was campaigning in Nevada at the time.
Who else was coming in and out of the room and traveling with the governor at the time?
We are not sure.

McCain top aide Rick Davis already came to Sarah Palin’s defense last night on FOX News.

Aide Nicolle Wallace publicly defended Mrs Palin on Friday.

Aide Tracey Schmitt, the vice presidential nominee’s traveling spokeswoman defended Palin.

Obviously, there are several aides who were traveling with Palin at the time. This is just a start at tracking down the “jerk” who is smearing her.
Here’s hoping the weasel gets outed.

UPDATE: The Weekly Standard Blog debunks one of the nasty rumors reported at Newsweek.

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