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Why Fox News dropped Sarah Palin

After John McCain picked Sarah Palin out of relative obscurity to be his vice presidential running mate, she became a political force of nature. Since then, however, her star has lost its luster within the GOP, and she’s parted ways with Fox News.

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"In competitive primaries,” Politics Daily correspondent Sandra Fish wrote at the time, “Palin is 7-2 for Senate endorsements; 7-6 for House endorsements; and 6-3 in endorsements of gubernatorial candidates.” Eventually, there were notable loses – Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Joe Miller in Palin’s home state – but she also helped send Kelly Ayotte to the US Senate representing New Hampshire.

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Since then, Republicans lost the presidency – again to Obama. In Charlotte, N.C., this week, GOP higher ups are trying to figure out whether it’s the party’s message or the (largely) white, (largely) older, (largely) male profile that’s the problem as US political demographics move away from them to a younger, more diverse electorate. The tea party has not folded, but neither is it the force it once was.

Meanwhile, establishment Republicans continue their move away from Palin. Her feuds with Karl Rove and Dick Cheney made news, as did her apparent snubbing by organizers of Mitt Romney’s nominating convention in Tampa last summer.

More recently, Colin Powell criticized Palin for using a “racial-era slave term” in describing the nation’s first African-American president.

“When I see a former governor say that the president is ‘shuckin’ and jivin’ — that’s a racial-era slave term,” Mr. Powell said, referring to Palin’s characterization of Obama’s response to the terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the US ambassador and three other Americans.

Such comments, Powell said on “Meet the Press” last Sunday, indicate a “dark vein of intolerance in some parts of the party.”

If this is sounding like a political obituary for Sarah Palin, it may well be.

It was reported this week that Palin will no longer be a paid commentator on Fox News. Whether she jumped or was pushed is not entirely clear, but the news was not surprising. She has not appeared on Fox since December, and she complained on Facebook when some earlier appearances were canceled.

Her relationship with Fox News CEO Roger Ailes – who hired her because “she was hot and got ratings” – are reported to have been pricklish.

As Jill Lawrence writes in the National Journal, “She could land somewhere else, and she still has her Facebook friends, but it’s hard to imagine she’ll find a more visible or influential platform than Fox.”

UPDATE – Howard Kurtz reports on the Daily Beast Saturday:

“Fox News offered Sarah Palin a new contract before she decided to part ways with the network where she has held forth as a commentator for the last three years.

“However, it would be hard to describe it as a generous contract….

“The new contract offered by Fox, say people familiar with the situation, would have provided only a fraction of the million-dollar-a-year salary. It was then, they say, that Palin turned it down and both sides agreed to call it quits.”

How well do you know Sarah Palin? A quiz.

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