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Palin, McCain call for Stevens to quit

From NBC's Pete Williams and Mark Murray
Palin today called on the senior Republican in her state to quit.

In an interview with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo, Palin said that Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens should step down in light of his conviction yesterday on federal charges. That is a change from yesterday, when Palin didn't exactly call for him to resign. "I'm confident that Sen. Stevens ... will do the right thing for the state of Alaska," she said.

Video: Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin chastises Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens following his conviction on seven counts of corruption.

McCain, also interviewed by Bartiromo, said he agreed that Stevens should resign. And his campaign put out a statement from McCain at about the same time the interview was going on, calling for Stevens to leave the Senate. "It is clear that Sen. Stevens has broken his trust with the people and that he should now step down," the statement read. "I hope that my colleagues in the Senate will be spurred by these events to redouble their efforts to end this kind of corruption once and for all."

By the way, in an interview this morning with MSNBC's David Shuster, McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said that McCain and Palin wouldn't vote for Stevens -- if they were Alaska voters. "They've been quite clear in their contempt for his behavior," Bounds said. "I don't expect they would cast their ballot for Ted Stevens if they were Alaska voters."

But Palin is an Alaska voter. Does that mean she won't be voting for Stevens and will instead vote for Stevens' Democratic challenger, Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich?

Bounds, in an email response to First Read, said: "She called for him to step down in an interview this morning. I think I'm safe."