NOW PALIN'S BUCKING HER OWN TICKETBy CARL CAMPANILE in Mesilla, NM, and GINGER ADAMS OTIS, NY Post
Sarah Palin is the rogue elephant in the GOP war room.
The maverick mom is distancing herself from John McCain and blowing off the advice of senior Republican aides, convinced they're damaging her reputation and ruining the campaign.
Things have gotten so tense between Palin and her traveling staff, an insider said, that she's overruling their advice - which was evident last week when she ignored GOP aides piling into waiting cars at a Colorado event and strolled over to the press corps for an impromptu talk.
Palin Has Future Even If McCain Loses In speeches, Palin has contradicted her running mate's positions on issues, telling a Christian news outlet last week that she would support a constitutional amendment against same-sex marriage, which McCain opposes.
Though McCain once said he considered Obama's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to be an old issue, this month Palin said, "I don't know why that association isn't discussed more."
Palin also publicly stated that she thought it was a mistake for the campaign to give up on Michigan, and that she thought voters were annoyed by robocalls - which McCain uses extensively.
The last straw for the vice-presidential candidate was the raft of criticism from the $150,000 worth of high-end clothes the Republican National Committee bought her, a campaign source said.
Palin showed how much that gaffe got under her skin yesterday at a rally in Sioux City, Iowa, telling the crowd she'd stepped off the plane and donned a warm, cream-colored jacket.
"And it's my own jacket," she said.
A McCain insider told The Post that relations between Palin and some of the campaign aides with her have soured. "She's lost faith with the staff. She knows the $150,000- wardrobe story damaged her," the insider said.
But the novice vice-presidential candidate is partly to blame, the campaign official sniped. "She's an adult. She didn't ask questions about where the clothes came from?" the source said.
"She's now positioning herself for her own future. Of course, this is bad for John. It looks like no one is in charge."
Palin is not likely to roll over and let herself be scapegoated if things don't go well on Nov. 4.
"She's a lot savvier, politically speaking, than people give her credit for," said a GOP strategist.
"Everyone is trying to distance themselves from responsibility for the campaign going south. Why wouldn't she do the same?"