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 purchased 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 and 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.
And she says that most of her legal bills were generated defending what she called frivolous ethics complaints, but she reveals that about one-tenth of the $500,000 was a bill she received to pay for the McCain campaign vetting her for the VP nod.
She said when she asked the McCain campaign if it would help her financially, she was told McCain’s camp would have paid all the bills if he’d won; since he lost, the vetting legal bills were her responsibility.
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 through Alaska 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 members by the campaign. Family members were told it was being taken care of or was “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.
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 that ABC newsman Charles Gibson, who had an early interview with her, seemed bored by “substantive issues” stemming from her time as governor and that while speaking with her he “peered skeptically” at her over his glasses like a disapproving principal.
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. Wallace said Couric suffered from low self-esteem. And Palin replied that she almost began to “feel sorry” for Couric.
She alleges that Couric and CBS left out her more “substantive” remarks and settled for “gotcha” moments. She writes that Couric had a “partisan agenda” and a condescending manner. Couric was “badgering,” biased and far easier on Couric’s Democratic counterpart, Joe Biden.
She writes warmly of her childhood and her mother’s “nurturing, hospitable” personality. Her priorities were set early — faith (she would read Scripture each night before bed), 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 met her future husband, Todd Palin, in 1982. He was good-looking and mature, like no one she had ever known. He was quiet, gruff, strong, spiritual.