November 14th, 2009
04:26 PM ET
5 years ago

McCain campaign adviser pushes back on Palin book

(CNN) –A former top adviser and spokeswoman to John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign is pushing back against comments reportedly made by Sarah Palin in her new book.

Nicolle Wallace tells CNN that Palin's account of an ill-fated interview with CBS's Katie Couric during the 2008 presidential campaign is not true.

In excerpts of her new book "Going Rogue: An American Life" that were obtained by other organizations, including the conservative Web site Drudge Report, the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate discusses her interview with Couric.

"From the beginning, Nicolle [Wallace] pushed for Katie Couric and the CBS Evening News. The campaign's general strategy involved coming out with a network anchor, someone they felt had treated John well on the trail thus far," writes Palin, according to excerpts obtained before Tuesday's release date for the highly-anticipated book. "My suggestion was that we be consistent with that strategy and start talking to outlets like FOX and the Wall Street Journal. I really didn't have a say in which press I was going to talk to, but for some reason Nicolle seemed compelled to get me on the Katie bandwagon."

Related video: Palin book blitz begins

The Drudge Report says it obtained a portion of the book in which Palin claims McCain campaign adviser Nicolle Wallace pushed for the now-famous Katie Couric interview because the CBS anchor needed a self-esteem "boost."

"'She just has such low self-esteem,' Nicolle said," continues Palin in the excerpt. "She added that Katie was going through a tough time, 'She just feels she can't trust anybody.' Nicolle had left her gig at CBS just a few months earlier to hook up with the McCain campaign."

Contacted by CNN, Wallace denied the gist and specifics of Palin's account of the Couric interview, which aired at the end of September 2008.

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Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
November 14th, 2009
03:34 PM ET
5 years ago

Schmidt calls Palin claims 'total fiction'

Schmidt told CNN Palin's claims in her book are 'total fiction'.
Schmidt told CNN Palin's claims in her book are 'total fiction'.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - John McCain's former presidential campaign manager Steve Schmidt is the latest McCain adviser to cry foul over accusations Sarah Palin has penned in her yet to be released memoir "Going Rogue."

Excerpts obtained by The Huffington Post characterize Schmidt in an unfavorable light, particularly in reference to the prank phone call Palin received from someone pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. "Right away, the phones started ringing," Palin writes. "One of the first calls was Schmidt, and the force of his screaming blew my hair back. 'How can anyone be so stupid?! Why would the president of France call a vice presidential candidate a few days out?!'"

In a telephone conversation with CNN's John King, Schmidt said how he is described and portrayed in the book is "fanciful. [And] total fiction."

In the excerpts, Palin also claims Schmidt tried to put her on a strict eating regimen, and in a conversation with Randy Scheunemann, a McCain foreign policy adviser, he had blamed the campaigns problems on Palin's "postpartum depression."

"Schmidt started in again, telling Randy what an awful pick I was - the "postpartum" problems, the wardrobe "scandal," "legal exposure" for Todd on Troopergate, whatever he meant by that," Palin writes according to the published excerpts.

In October, during The Atlantic magazine's First Draft of History Conference, Schmidt predicted to CNN's John King that he would be portrayed as "anti-rogue in the running of the campaign."


Filed under: Sarah Palin
November 14th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
5 years ago

Romney accuses Obama of not protecting troops

Romney delivered a speech in California on Friday night.'
Romney delivered a speech in California on Friday night.'

WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a scathing criticism of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy Friday night, accusing the president of delivering rhetoric and not action in the war-torn country.

Quoting from a speech Obama delivered in March, Romney agreed with the president "that 'we are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies."' Romney continued on seconding the president: "I believe 'that to succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government.'"

But Romney went on to criticize Obama for not holding enough meetings with top generals, and inadequately preparing for the elections in Afghanistan.

"The President has held his job for 10 months but does not yet have a strategy," Romney said during his speech before the Young America's Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. "What has he been doing that is more important than protecting the lives of the troops of which he is Commander-in-Chief? He has been campaigning- rallying at phony town meetings and making over 30 campaign stops for fellow Democrats. This President's inattention and dereliction remind me of those Northwest Airlines pilots who were so distracted from their jobs that they lost their way. But in this case, the consequences are far more severe."

Romney has been a constant critic of the Obama administration. In March, Romney accused the president of neglecting the country's needs, while posing for magazine covers, and making appearances on late night television during an interview with CNN's Larry King.

"This is a president who is learning on the fly," Romney said. "He's never turned anything around before. He hasn't had the experience of leading a nation or a business or a state in trouble. And the first rule I can tell him is focus, focus, focus. "

Since February, Romney has attended nine events for senatorial candidates, appeared at more than a dozen rallies or fundraisers for those running for governor this year or next, and spoken at almost two dozen meetings of Republican Party groups or conservative organizations. And he has finished a new book.

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Filed under: Mitt Romney
November 14th, 2009
11:28 AM ET
5 years ago

Tea Party organizer vows to burn Pelosi and Perriello in effigy

Pelosi will be burned in effigy at a Tea Party rally in Virginia next week, the event's organizer told CNN.
Pelosi will be burned in effigy at a Tea Party rally in Virginia next week, the event's organizer told CNN.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The organizer of a "Tea Party" protest in Virginia says he intends to move forward with plans to burn House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Tom Perriello in effigy next weekend at a rally to protest Democratic health care legislation.

The event is scheduled for next Saturday in Danville, which borders North Carolina and sits at the southern end of Perriello's congressional district. Perriello, a Democrat, narrowly won his House seat in 2008 and is considered a top target of Congressional Republicans in next year's midterm elections.

When news of the rally surfaced Friday, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Chris Van Hollen condemned the plans as "shocking and despicable."

But Nigel Coleman, the organizer of the Tea Party, told CNN he doesn't see what all the fuss is about. The attention, he said, should be on the Democratic plans to overhaul the health care system.

"We're not going to actually set Perriello on fire or Mrs. Pelosi on fire," Coleman said. "But we have been trying to months to get our point across just how vehemently we are opposed to this health care legislation. For the House vote to come so close and to know that Mr. Perriello is on the other side, it's a kick in the stomach that a lot of people couldn't take."

Coleman said none of Perriello's potential Republican challengers have been invited to the event, which he expects will draw about 100 people.

"Something shocking and despicable is how they've handled this health care legislation," Coleman said, responding to Van Hollen's statement. "Going behind closed doors, writing a bill that is going to fundamentally change what America is. More people are going to be killed by this health care legislation than this bonfire."


Filed under: Nancy Pelosi • Virginia
November 14th, 2009
11:19 AM ET
5 years ago

King: 'Going Rogue' reignites Palin divide, even in her hometown

Palin's book 'Going Rogue' releases on Tuesday.
Palin's book 'Going Rogue' releases on Tuesday.

Wasilla, Alaska (CNN) – At Pandemonium Booksellers, the Sarah Palin 2010 calendars are hot sellers, and since the election, the traffic in political books has been decidedly to the right.

"Glenn Beck outsells President Obama at the moment?" is our question as owner Shannon Cullip leads us on a tour of the bookstore.

"Oh yeah," she responds with a laugh. "Big time."

In the window, there is a small Wasilla Chamber of Commerce sticker and an image of the town's famous mayor-turned-governor-turned-GOP vice presidential nominee.

"Going Rogue" is shattering the presale record at Pandemonium Booksellers and reigniting the Palin political divide, even here in her hometown.

"It's either one extreme or the other, I would say," Cullip says of the bookstore's Palin conversations. "I would say people either completely, completely have her on a pedestal or don't like her. Not too much in the middle.

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Filed under: Sarah Palin
November 14th, 2009
10:21 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama in Singapore for APEC forum


(CNN) – President Barack Obama, on his first Asia trip since taking office in January, arrived Saturday in Singapore to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum.

In addition to the meetings with the APEC heads of state, Obama plans to hold three bilateral meetings - with the leaders of Russia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Earlier, he told a packed house at Tokyo's Suntory Hall that all Americans should know that what happens in Asia "has a direct effect on our lives at home."

The president leaves Sunday for Shanghai, China.


Filed under: President Obama
November 14th, 2009
09:24 AM ET
5 years ago

House Republican running for Senate slams Pelosi Bill


(CNN) – A Republican Congressman from Illinois who's running for a senate seat is taking aim at the House Democrats' health care bill.

In Saturday's weekly Republican radio and internet address, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) said the bill Speaker Nancy Pelosi pushed through the House of Representatives last weekend will lead to a government takeover of health care, raise taxes and cut Medicare benefits for seniors, and explode the country's debt.

"In the teeth of the Great Recession, the Pelosi bill would impose ten new taxes on the American economy. The top combined tax rate for my state of Illinois would be four percentage points higher than France. The Democrat bill levies new taxes on health insurance, income and even pacemakers," says Kirk. "The bill also cuts health care for seniors – my parents and many of yours.”

In the address, Kirk also outlines some GOP prescriptions to reform health care.

"First, we could start lowering costs by reining in lawsuits in America. We are the most litigious country on earth. Lawsuit reforms can save billions in health care costs alone. In New Jersey, without lawsuit reform, it costs over $5,500 per patient to provide insurance. In California, with some of the strongest lawsuit reforms, insurance costs half as much as it does in New Jersey. Congress should enhance the effective reforms of many states by enacting lawsuit reforms for our entire country," says Kirk.

"Second, Congress should grant the right to each American to buy coverage from any state in the union – especially if you find a plan that has a lower cost or is more flexible for your family or your small business."

Kirk is a five-term representative from Illinois' tenth congressional district. He's running for President Barack Obama's old senate seat. Roland Burris, who was named as an interim replacement for Obama, is not making a bid next year for a full term in office. Kirk faces less well-known but more conservative Republican challengers in the February primary and Democrats accuse the congressman, who was considered a moderate, of moving to the right on key issues.

– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: GOP weekly address
November 14th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
5 years ago

Obama: Don't turn Fort Hood hearings into 'political theater'


WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama cautioned members of Congress Saturday not to politicize questions surrounding the November 5 shootings at the Fort Hood military base in Texas.

"I know there will also be inquiries by Congress, and there should," Obama said in his weekly radio and Web address. "But all of us should resist the temptation to turn this tragic event into the political theater that sometimes dominates the discussion here in Washington. The stakes are far too high."

Obama has already ordered leaders of the military and intelligence community to complete a full review of the incident, and offer recommendations on ways military security might be improved.

"If there was a failure to take appropriate action before the shootings, there must be accountability," Obama said Saturday. "Beyond that – and most importantly – we must quickly and thoroughly evaluate and address any flaws in the system, so that we can prevent a similar breach from happening again."

Next Thursday, the Senate's Homeland Security Committee will hold a hearing to assess the events leading up to Major Nidal Malik Hasan's shooting rampage that killed 13 people.


Filed under: President Obama