PALIN VETTING — THREE WEEKS LATER…. A week ago today, the McCain campaign unveiled a new ad that argued the Obama campaign was sending researchers, represented by wolves, to Alaska to look for embarrassing information on Sarah Palin. I’m not sure what the point of it was — researching one’s opponent is pretty standard stuff in a presidential campaign — but the McCain campaign wanted to present itself as some kind of victim, so they went with the ad.

Looking back, though, it appears the McCain campaign had it backwards.

McCain’s campaign has sent at least one dozen researchers and lawyers to Alaska to pore over Palin’s background, ready to respond to questions about her tenure as governor and mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. [Taylor Griffin, a former Treasury Department spokesman in the Bush administration] has been leading the team in Alaska, which includes operatives of the Republican National Committee.

I’ll never really understand why McCain didn’t think to do this before inviting Palin onto the ticket, but as we know, the move was about shameless politics and was done at the last minute.

As for last week’s ad, and the charges that Obama researchers were looking into Palin’s background, Christopher Orr noted that it looks like the McCain campaign was “crying wolf.”

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Steve Benen

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.