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I Am Martin Eisenstadt

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Washington Monthly-October 20, 2009

"The 2008 presidential election will be remembered for a lot of things, but moments of levity aren’t one of them. The highlight may have come in the days just after Obama’s victory, when bitter McCain staffers launched a torrent of anonymous criticism at Sarah Palin that painted her as selfish, venal, arrogant, and, above all, criminally stupid. For many of us, what erased the last shred of doubt about Palin—what seared in our cerebral cortex the unshakable conviction that Tina Fey was channeling the real person—was a Fox News report in which anonymous McCain staffers revealed that Palin had thought Africa was a country.

Not long afterward, a McCain staffer named Martin Eisenstadt came forward to take responsibility for leaking the Africa stuff. At first blush, Eisenstadt seemed exactly the sort you’d expect to cruelly betray his candidate: a vaguely familiar, middle-tier neocon hack affiliated with an outfit called the Harding Institute for Freedom and Democracy—a guy whose natural place in the universe is on the third block of Hardball, his command of the latest GOP talking points and lapel-pin flag both obnoxiously on display. That was enough for MSNBC, the Los Angeles Times, and a host of other media outlets to run with the story that the culprit had been found."--Joshua Green

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