In an unusual attempt to forge an alliance between two of the most prominent families in American politics, John Coale, a Washington-area Democratic donor and onetime adviser to Sarah Palin, urged the conservative Alaska governor to use her political action committee to help retire the presidential campaign debt of Hillary Clinton.
Coale, a wealthy trial attorney and the husband of Fox News talk show host Greta Van Susteren, approached Palinwith the improbable plan in February while in Alaska with his wife, who was taping an interview with the former Republican vice presidential nominee.
An outspoken Clinton supporter during the Democratic primary who switched his allegiance to the GOP ticket for the general election, Coale made his case to Palin at the Iron Dog snowmachine competition in Fairbanks, where Todd Palin was competing over Valentine’s Day weekend. His broader aim, say Palin camp insiders, was to help Palin develop a relationship with the former first family that he thought could bolster the polarizing governor’s standing with Democrats and independents.
Palin was amenable to getting acquainted with the Clintons but was skeptical of using her PAC to help the former first lady.
She expressed concern to aides about Coale’s request that weekend and a few days later directed Meg Stapleton, an Alaska-based campaign aide, to tell Coale that she would not help retire Clinton’s debt.