LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Sarah Palin received death threats after she was nominated as Republican John McCain’s running mate in 2008 presidential elections, according to emails released Friday, reflecting her meteoric rise.
The then Alaska governor — and now possible White House candidate — also emerges as hard-working and very concerned about her image from the 24,000 pages of emails released under a Freedom of Information request.
“Can you believe it?” Palin wrote in late August 2008, responding to a congratulatory message after she was announced as McCain’s surprise and controversial pick as vice-presidential nominee.
“He told me yesterday — it moved fast! Pray! I love you,” she added in an email highlighted by the New York Times, which along with other media outlets was rifling through the mass of exchanges released by the state of Alaska.
Just days before the announcement she had been dealing with mundane matters as governor of the northwestern US state, including a request for “Alaska pins and governor pencils (or pens) to drop off at gladys wood elem school today.”
Then, in the weeks and months after she was catapulted onto the national political stage, she received a number of death threats, the emails reveal.
“She doesn’t belong to the NRA (National Rifle Association) to support the right of each citizen to have weapons in an aim of self-defence, but just to support the right of every Southern white citizen to shoot all non-white people legally!” wrote a sender identified as Dominique Villacrouz.
“Sarah Palin MUST BE KILLED,” said the email, highlighted by the Los Angeles Times.
In another message dated September 12, a resident in Antwerp, Belgium, also called for Palin to be shot, saying that “only on that moment justice will be accomplished,” the LA Times said.
In many of the messages Palin, who is toying with a possible run for the White House next year, appears to be juggling her family and official business on both government and private email accounts.
The emails also demonstrate Palin’s deep-seated disgust with the media. After she was chosen by McCain as his running mate, she and aides objected when an avalanche of questions from reporters included queries about her favorite poem and the tanning bed in the governor’s mansion.
“Arghhhh!” Palin responded, noting that she paid for the bed personally and was “dismayed at the media.”
Alaska released the emails in print form to a number of media outlets, keen to find nuggets as speculation grows that the Tea Party favorite and former governor will run for the White House next year.
News outlets including CNN and the Anchorage Daily News asked for Palin’s emails to be released in 2008, after she became McCain’s surprise running-mate.
At the time officials said they could not be released because of the antiquated electronic databases they were stored on, complicated by the fact that Palin commonly used a Yahoo account to conduct state business.
Before releasing the emails, Alaska state officials redacted more than 2,200 pages worth of materials, citing exemptions to public records laws.
The release comes as speculation mounts over whether a Palin run for the Republican nomination to challenge Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012.
Palin has kept the media guessing, including during a “One Nation” bus tour when journalists had to scramble to follow her, with no details given in advance about her travel plans.