From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger
The group organizing a rally on Monday to protest the appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the United Nations has disinvited all politicians, including Sarah Palin.
A Jewish organizational leader says the decision to disinvite Palin came after two days of conference calls by the planners, most of whom were angry that Palin had been invited and confirmed without the consultation of other organizers.
Hillary Clinton, who cancelled her scheduled appearance at the event after learning of Palin's plans to attend, had been confirmed months earlier. But Palin's participation made the non-profit groups planning the event concerned they would lose their tax-exempt status, if only one party's presidential or vice presidential candiate was invited to speak.
"The IRS is very clear, Hillary Clinton does not equal Sarah Palin," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "You have to have equal representation of candidates."
The organizers reached out to the Obama campaign for the first time Wednesday morning, asking Joe Biden to speak to balance Palin, but in the end the decision was made to not allow political candidates at the event at all, the organizer said.
Organizers of the rally announced the decision today in a press release. "In order to keep the focus on Iranian threats and to ensure that this critical message not be obscured," noted the release, "the organizers of the rally have decided not to have any American political personalities appear."
*** UPDATE ***
Mark Wallace, a Palin advisor who is reportedly prepping her for her debates later this month, is serving as executive director of United Against Nuclear Iran, a fledgling coalition of primarily American Jewish groups. Both the organization and the rally were the brainchild of Malcolm Hoenlein, the longtime vice chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, several American Jewish leaders. Wallace, who is married to McCain campaign communications director Nicole Wallace, was brought on board by Hoenlein, and Jewish leaders say Hoenelin extended the invitation to Palin to speak at the rally.
Hoenlein was not immediately available for comment.
The McCain campaign also just issued a press release in regard to Palin's cancellation.
"Governor Palin was pleased to accept an invitation to address this rally and show her resolve on this grave national security issue, regrettably that invitation has since been withdrawn under pressure from Democratic partisans," reads the statement. "We stand shoulder to shoulder with Republicans, Democrats and independents alike to oppose Ahmadinejad's goal of a nuclear armed Iran. Senator Obama's campaign had the opportunity to join us. Senator Obama chose politics rather than the national interest."