BEWARE OF LIVE MICROPHONES…. It was a rather unremarkable MSNBC segment outside the Republican National Convention, between Chuck Todd, Mike Murphy, and Peggy Noonan. But once the trio broke for a commercial break, they kept talking, and live microphones picked up their conversation.

Mike Murphy, talking about Sarah Palin, said, “You know, because, I come out of the blue-swing-state-governor world. Engler, Whitman, Tommy Thompson, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush. I mean, and these guys, this is all like how you win a Texas race, you know, just run it up, and it’s not gonna work.”

At that point, Peggy Noonan, presumably talking about the presidential race, said, “It’s over.”

Murphy added, “Still, McCain can give a version of the Lieberman speech and do himself some good.”

It’s a little tough to hear the exact words, but Chuck Todd said something about the Palin pick being “insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchison,” the Republican senator from Texas. Noonan noted she saw Hutchison earlier today. Todd added, “She’s never looked comfortable up there,” though it wasn’t clear who he was referring to.

Murphy, at that point, said, “They’re all bummed out.”

Todd added, “I mean, is she really the most qualified woman they can obtain?” Noonan answered, “The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, ‘political bullshit’ about narratives.”

Todd, incredulous, said, “Yeah, but what’s the narrative?” To which Murphy added, “I totally agree.”

Noonan added, “Every time Republicans do that, because that’s not where they live and it’s not what they’re good at, they blow it.”

Murphy concluded, “You know what’s the worst thing about it, the greatest of McCain is no cynicism, and…”

Todd finished his sentence: “This is cynical, and as you called it, gimmicky.”

This was quite a conversation. Keep in mind, Murphy is one of McCain’s closest confidants, and all three of them weren’t just criticizing Palin, they were slamming McCain.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.