November 3rd, 2009
08:03 AM ET
4 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. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    What an idiot. She actually thought "she" was running for President. Her ego is too big for her head.

    November 3, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  2. sifto77

    CNN still cutting up Palin to make Obama look good? Another smear article to allow paid liberal bloggers to vent their frustration and misplace their anger with the way things are going with "the chosen one"? I, for one, will read the "real version" of what happened by buying SP's book!

    November 3, 2009 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  3. sifto77

    Hilary Clinton used Wright to smear Obama–not Palin.

    November 3, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  4. Mississippi Miss

    Writing about past emotional highs and lows is a low in and of itself.

    I wish it mattered, maybe if we weren't in the midst of a struggle to maintain our individual freedom, we would have time to read this junk, while sipping our mint juleps on the verandah.

    November 3, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  5. bob

    The only crime discussed in the constitution is treason. You know treason, thats the crime that means saying things like "I want the president to fail".

    November 3, 2009 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  6. Vigla

    ...and back to Alaska you went... Where you quit on them. Sarah Palin is a fool. I cannot believe some people do not see that. The sooner she drifts off to obscurity the better... THANK GOODNESS SHE DID NOT BECOME VP! THANK GOODNESS!

    November 3, 2009 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  7. Mommy2ee

    Why is this news? Sarah palin is a bad, old, politial joke.

    November 3, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  8. victim of republican greed

    As Sarah purges more and more moderates from the GOP, her new party will be made up mainly of birthers, deathers, teabaggers and secessionists.

    There is always room for these displaced moderates in the Democratic Party.

    November 3, 2009 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  9. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    Slow news day CNN? No soldiers DYING while POTUS poses for another photo op? More gutting of the Constitution and enslaving our children with debt from Pe LOUSY and her minnions?

    November 3, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  10. victim of republican greed

    Maybe the McCain camp felt his concession speech was not a good place for her to say, "Drill baby, drill," "maverick' or "palling with "terrorists," and declare her candidacy for 2012.

    November 3, 2009 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  11. Samantha

    She's stupid but worse they people who are stupid enough to vote for her. The Media made this monster if you stop talking about her maybe she will go away.

    November 3, 2009 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  12. Blutarski

    President Karzai is the new President Diem. What amazing irony, two Ivy League Democrat Presidents make identical mistakes by installing unpopular corrupt leaders in foreign countries during US counterinsurgency operations. Yeah, I know, defenders of the President's "policy" will say Karzai was elected. They said the same thing about Diem's "election" in Vietnam, which was also rigged. I wonder if Karzai will wind up facing the same end as Diem. Karzai better watch his back. Although, Obama is no Kennedy, he might not have the stones to implement the harsh corrective measures.

    November 3, 2009 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  13. rta

    anybody with an ounce of sense knows sarah palin hears her own drummer and marches to her own tune. when john mccain picked her to be his running mate he opened pandora's box and what we have is an unprincipled, race baiting, fear mongering agitator. it is a disgrace that free thinking people who have bread and butter concerns are being influence by this so called american spouting "sarah values" who has values that only promote herself and her agenda. no she did not want to go back to alaska, and in her bi polar mind she feels she is the leader of the american people. too bad john mccain your decision of opening this pandora box has made a pox on the rest of us

    November 3, 2009 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  14. Amanda

    Sarah Palin is a confused, delusional woman out for power to control the world, or at least the U.S.A.! She can NEVER be elected as president or Governor or anything else of the like EVER again. Her Religious beliefs confuse her and her ultimate goal is to sew confusion and delusion into the minds of americans, especially women. Her theory is "Whosoever does not "believe in" what she believes in, religiously, should die, by murder." She spoke about this openly and I am shocked that people have followed her way of thinking in that respect. It is sickening and she should be locked up in a mental institution!

    November 3, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. Dave

    Is it just me or does anyone else think that within a year or two the book racks at all the Dollar Tree stores are going to be overflowing with overstocked books about Sarah Palin?

    November 3, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  16. Expat American

    Flashcards to remember the name of the Prime Minister of UK? Dear Lord.

    Well, to her credit, Painfully Stupid Bigot Palin was practicing what she preaches...Much like her supporters whom she described as 'Real Americans', she was also describing herself; that is one of those 'Real Americans' who will never travel beyond a 10 mile radius of their place of birth, use their Conservative American bastardization of European Christianity to justify their racial and religious bigotry, believe the United States is the center of the world and that Jesus was an American. Flashcards....that's rich.

    Palin 2012....Please.

    November 3, 2009 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  17. Mike in LR

    That's all CNN could glean from her book. Wow! I guess anything to belittle her again.

    November 3, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  18. Phhhttt!!!!!!!

    So Sarah had her flash cards - and Barack had his teleprompter - so what's the difference?

    November 3, 2009 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  19. Joanna in PA

    The gop's choosing of Palin is utterly embarrassing for our country. Almost as much a bush being our president. She had a taste of fame, now she wants more. The country is not conservative any longer. we are left of center.

    November 3, 2009 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  20. Expat American

    Flashcards to remember the name of the Prime Minister of the UK?
    Dear Lord.

    Well, to her credit, Painfully Stupid Bigot Palin was practicing what she preaches...Much like her supporters whom she described as 'Real Americans', she was also describing herself; that is one of those 'Real Americans' who will never travel beyond a 10 mile radius of their place of birth, use their Conservative American bastardization of European Christianity to justify their racial and religious bigotry, believe the United States is the center of the world and that Jesus was an American. Flashcards....that's rich.

    Palin 2012...Please.

    November 3, 2009 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. marty

    A round table political discussion with a guest list of Sarah Palin, Michelle Bauchmann, Ann Coulter, Peggy Noonan, Liz Cheney and Condi Rice would be most interesting. Sarah would have an opportunity to show off her debate and leadership skills on a variety of subjects. How about it?

    November 3, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  22. Independent

    CNN is really crazy about Sara Palin

    November 3, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  23. JP

    You can't get moderate voters by running to the right. If McCain picked a prochoice fiscal conservative we would have a true leader as president not that clown Obozo. Don't you get it Sara you are the single biggest reason McCain lost..

    November 3, 2009 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  24. Jay

    I bet McCain is killing himself at having picked this idiot as his running mate. It may have been a big reason why he lost. She is total trash and is, like Blago, just living in the spotlight to get rich. No substance at all.

    I do want her to run in 2012 and I want her to win the Republican nomination. Obama will crush her in a debate and be assured an easy re-election. Good for all the non-trash, educated people in this country.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    November 3, 2009 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  25. TLD

    The Republican/Conservative Party is a disgrace and an abomination. There is something putrid about these guys and gals. The Republican Parties of past decades did not make me want to shower after I hear or see them speak on issues. I think it may have started with the Newt Gingrich Crew a few years back.

    November 3, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
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