The McCain aides were responding to a report on CNN that the governor got a laugh when she told a GOP audience in Alaska she had declined to pray with McCain staffers prior to her debate with Joe Biden, who was elected vice president in November.
Describing the pre-debate atmosphere, Palin told the crowd last Friday, she was "looking for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little extra."
"And the McCain campaign, love 'em, you know, they're a lot of people around me," she said, "but nobody I could find that I wanted to hold hands with and pray."
Palin told the audience she meant no disrespect to the McCain campaign, but a former Palin aide told CNN in an e-mail Thursday Palin's remarks "set off a nerve for sure with a lot of people."
Palin has frequently complained about the way McCain's staff handled her part of the 2008 presidential campaign, sometimes as she has responded to criticism of her campaigning by sources in the McCain camp, CNN noted.
The staffer who told CNN Palin's latest remarks touched a nerve said she had slapped campaign workers in the face with remarks that "cause you to question not only your loyalty but her judgment as a leader."
Another staffer said Palin should stop talking about the campaign and talk only about "what's relevant."
"The people that she has, either working at her (political action committee) or advisers in Alaska, aren't exactly making the best decisions for her," the staffer said.
Palin's office in Alaska did not respond to CNN's request for comment on the report.