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Saying that Palin was a "net negative" on the ticket, he went on: "[McCain] knows, in his gut, that he put somebody unqualified on the ballot. He knows that in his gut, and when this race is over that is something he will have to live with… He put somebody unqualified on that ballot and he put the country at risk, he knows that."
The other panelists were surprised, a bit, by Dowd's bluntness. Not least because McCain's well-known campaign motto is "country first."
"No, I don't agree," said Mark McKinnon, a former McCain aide, after chiding Dowd for claiming particular insight into McCain's soul.
"Well," responded Dowd, "that's even more disturbing than my thought" — the implication being that it would be truly frightening if McCain didn't know how bad Palin truly was.