Palin in book: McCain aides kept me ‘bottled up’
Associated Press Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – The rumors are true, according to Sarah Palin: The McCain-Palin campaign was not a happy family.
In Palin’s new memoir, “Going Rogue,” she confirms reports of tension between her aides and those of the 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Sen. John McCain. The vice presidential candidate confirms that she had wanted to speak on election night, but was denied the chance and says she was kept “bottled up” from reporters during the campaign.
Palin also writes harshly of CBS anchor Katie Couric, whom she describes as “badgering” and biased. Palin’s series of interviews with Couric were widely regarded as disastrous, leaving the impression of an ill-informed candidate who was unsuited for the job.
The 413-page book with 16 pages of color photos but no index comes out Tuesday, Nov. 17. The Associated Press was able to purchase a copy Thursday. “Going Rogue,” with a first printing of 1.5 million copies, has been at or near the top of Amazon.com and other best-seller lists for weeks, ever since publisher HarperCollins announced that the book had been completed quickly and the release date was being moved up from next spring.
The book follows Palin from childhood to her departure last summer as Alaska governor. It includes much of what her admirers, and detractors, expected: tributes to family, faith and patriotism, and attacks against the media and other perceived opponents.
She writes about the “jaded aura” of professional campaign aides and how McCain’s entourage limited her access to the media, leading to allegations – unfounded, she says – that she was avoiding reporters.
In the months leading up to her July resignation as Alaska governor, her legal bills had mounted to more than $500,000, fueled mostly by what she called frivolous ethics complaints. What appeared to upset her most, though, was that about $50,000 of the legal bills was her share of the expenses for being vetted for the VP nod, Palin writes.
She said no one had ever informed her that she would have to personally take care of any expenses related to the selection process.
Palin writes that when she asked officials at the Republican National Committee and what was left of the McCain campaign if they would help her financially, she was told the bills would have been paid if McCain had won, but since he lost, the bills were her responsibility.
Trevor Potter, general counsel for the McCain campaign, told the AP the campaign had never asked Palin to pay a legal bill.
“To my knowledge, the campaign never billed Gov. Palin for any legal expenses related to her vetting and I am not aware of her ever asking the campaign to pay legal expenses that her own lawyers incurred for the vetting process.”
Potter said that if Palin’s personal lawyer billed her for any work related to her vetting, “We are unaware of it. It was never raised with the campaign.”
Written with Lynn Vincent, “Going Rogue” is folksy in tone and homespun. For example, Palin says her efforts to award a license for a massive natural gas transmission line was turning a pipe dream into a pipeline. She writes in awe about how the McCain campaign had hired a New York stylist who had also worked on Couric.
Taken aback by all the fussing, she wondered who was paying for the $150,000 worth of fancy clothes given to her and her family by the campaign. Also, Palin did not like the forced makeover, and said she wondered at the time if she and her clan came across as “that” unpresentable.
Family members were told the costs were being taken care of, or were “part of the convention.” The designer clothing, hairstyling and accessories later grew into a controversy.
Palin shares behind-the-scene moments when the nation learned her teen daughter Bristol was pregnant, how she rewrote the statement prepared for her by the McCain campaign – only to watch in horror as a TV news anchor read the original McCain camp statement, which, in Palin’s view, glarmorized and endorsed her daughter’s situation.
She writes that the incident made it clear to her that McCain headquarters was in charge of her message. She said when she tried to find out what the McCain camp would and would not allow her to say, chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt told her to simply “stick with the script.”
Palin laments that she wasn’t allowed to bring up loads of family members to the stage while McCain gave his election night concession speech, the vice presidential candidate having found out minutes earlier that she wouldn’t be permitted to give her own speech.
She writes at length about Couric. She says that the idea to meet with Couric came from McCain campaign aide Nicolle Wallace, who told Palin that Couric – also a working mother – liked and admired her. It would be a favor to Couric, too, whom Palin notes had the lowest ratings of the network anchors.
She alleges that Couric and CBS left out her more “substantive” remarks and settled for “gotcha” moments, and that Couric had a “partisan agenda” and a condescending manner. Couric was “badgering,” biased and far easier on Palin’s Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden, the book states.
Palin writes warmly of her childhood and her mother’s “nurturing, hospitable” personality. Her priorities were set early – faith, hunting, current events and sports (she even dreamed of being a broadcaster alongside Howard Cosell). She remembers being a voracious reader, favorites including John Steinbeck’s “The Pearl” and George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.” Long before Tina Fey parodied her on “Saturday Night Live,” Palin enjoyed watching the show as a girl.
She will be interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters, among others, for her book. Her tour, which begins next week in Grand Rapids, Mich., will skip major cities in favor of smaller localities.