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JUNEAU - First Todd Palin was mad at Republican Senate nominee Joe Miller for stepping around the question of whether his wife is qualified to be president. Now he's mad at the media for releasing his angry e-mail to Miller, who received a key endorsement from Sarah Palin on his way to becoming a tea party favorite.
The Palins and Miller dismissed any talk of a rift between them Wednesday, but when asked again if Sarah Palin is qualified to be president, Miller responded much as he had initially, saying the former Alaska governor meets the requirements spelled out in the Constitution and that it's not his role to comment further on races other than his own.
In an interview with Fox News, Miller repeated a belief that he has stated before, that "anyone" who steps forward would make a better presidential candidate than Democratic President Barack Obama.
Miller said it's not up to him to say whether Palin will run. He said the whole issue was a "sideline" to what's happening in Alaska and an effort to distract from the Senate race.
When further pressed on his thoughts on Palin, he said: "She's done phenomenal things for this country. There's no question about that. She's elevated the debate."
He also credited her for playing a role in his upset primary victory over Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who is now running as a Republican write-in. The Democrat in the race is Scott McAdams.
The issue was raised after a Sept. 19 e-mail from Todd Palin to Miller was posted on The Mudflats, a blog on Alaska politics. He sent it shortly after Miller appeared on Fox News and declined to comment on whether Sarah Palin was qualified to be president.
Todd Palin wrote that his wife had put herself "on the line for Joe and yet he can't answer a simple question."
"Joe, please explain how this endorsement stuff works, is it to be completely one sided," he wrote. "Sarah spent all morning working on a Face book post for Joe, she won't use it, not now."
The Mudflats' copy of the e-mail shows that Miller forwarded it and noted, "This is what we're dealing with. Note the date and the complete misconstruction of what I said." The recipients were blocked out but the blog said he forwarded it to his campaign staff.
Todd Palin, in a statement to The Weekly Standard, blamed the media for posting personal e-mails online and sought to dismiss the suggestion of any rift with Miller. He said he fired off the e-mail when he had thought Miller had been "something less than supportive of my wife's efforts" on his behalf.
"But it turns out we'd gotten our wires crossed, and Joe hadn't said anything like what I'd been told," he wrote.
Sarah Palin tweeted Wednesday that there's "no 'There, there' but the lamestream media will keep on tryin'."
Palin family attorney Thomas Van Flein didn't immediately respond to messages Wednesday.
Since Miller's Sept. 19 interview, there have been no postings about him on Sarah Palin's Facebook page.