November 3rd, 2009
08:03 AM ET
5 years ago

Palin sowed confusion on Election Night, new book claims

Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.
Palin was concerned about the cost of the wardrobe that was purchased for her during the campaign, according to the new book.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Tensions within John McCain's presidential campaign boiled over on Election Night last November when Sarah Palin, McCain's running mate, repeatedly ignored directions from senior staffers who told her she would not be delivering her own concession speech.

Those fresh details on the conflict between Palin and members of the McCain team come in a new book - "Sarah from Alaska" - by Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, two members of the press corps that traveled with Palin during the 2008 presidential race. The pair spent much of the following year reporting on the campaign turmoil and the vice presidential nominee's difficult return to Alaska after the election.

According to a copy of the book obtained by CNN, Palin's speechwriter Matthew Scully had prepared a brief speech for the then-Alaska governor to deliver while introducing McCain, before he gave his concession speech at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel in Phoenix. But after conferring in his suite with senior advisers Mark Salter, Rick Davis and Steve Schmidt, McCain nixed the idea of having Palin speak before him.

Schmidt then broke the news to Palin. But she told no one on her staff, the authors write, setting off a series of staff miscommunications that went unresolved until moments before McCain took the stage to concede the election.

Palin did not inform her adviser Jason Recher, who was planning out Palin's movements that night, about Schmidt's directive.

"I'm speaking," Palin told him, according to the book. "I've got the remarks. Figure it out."

Palin's deputy chief of staff Chris Edwards, meanwhile, was also unaware that Palin had been told she was not to speak. Edwards, ready to load the speech into teleprompter, bumped into Schmidt, who told him McCain would be speaking alone. Edwards relayed Schmidt's order to Palin, but she once again did not let on that Schmidt had already spoken to her.

The governor could not understand why she was not being allowed to speak. "This speech is great," she said, according to the authors. "It's all about how John McCain's an American hero."

The confusion continued until the final minutes before the concession speech, when Palin - still shuffling through her speech notes - gathered with McCain, family members and senior staff outside McCain's villa at the resort.

Sensing uncertainty, Salter finally put his foot down. "You're not speaking," the longtime McCain adviser told Palin. "John has decided it's unprecedented."

Palin's spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton declined to respond to the new claims, but said Palin will address the campaign drama in her forthcoming memoir. "The Governor's version of events will be in her book, Going Rogue, which will be available on November 17th," Stapleton wrote in an e-mail to CNN.

Among the book's other revelations:

- In the days after her selection as the vice presidential nominee, the McCain team was so unsure of Palin's policy acumen that they drew up hundreds of flash cards to get the candidate "up to speed on foreign affairs and major national issues." One of the flash cards noted that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was Gordon Brown, the book says.

- Before her now famous speech at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Palin's handlers began to rip the price tags off items in the candidate's lavish new wardrobe, paid for by the Republican National Commitee, after Palin expressed concerns about the cost of the clothing. According to the book, a $90 pair of socks was purchased for Palin's low-maintenance father, Chuck Heath.

- During a celebration among staffers after the vice presidential debate in St. Louis, Palin began pushing hard to start bringing up the topic of Barack Obama's controversial pastor Jeremiah Wright on the campaign trail. She wanted badly to win the election, the authors note. "I just don't want to go back to Alaska," Palin said off-handedly during the gathering.

Filed under: John McCain • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. SH in TX
    November 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Steve
    November 3, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. they make 90$ socks?
    November 3, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. T. Martin
    November 3, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. America Shrugged
    November 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Dan in CHI
    November 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. sandy
    November 3, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. SometimesElla
    November 3, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Carnell From The Motor City!
    November 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Doug, New Jersey
    November 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. johnrj08
    November 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Doc in Virginia
    November 3, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Melissa
    November 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Big John
    November 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. arapikos
    November 3, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Dawn
    November 3, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Democrat in Colorado
    November 3, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. susanj
    November 3, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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