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

Palin sowed confusion on Election Night, new book claims

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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

    John McCain only has himself to blame for unleashing this moron on the country. Did he really think we wouldn't see right through her ignorance and inability to perform the job?

    There's only one thing worse than an egotistical, self righteous, self promoting liar: A stupid one.

    She is some piece of work.

    November 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. Steve

    We didn't need all these details to know that Palin is arrogant, under-educated and inexperienced , but the confirmation is nice. Can't wait for her to sink what's left of the dirty GOP...

    November 3, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. they make 90$ socks?

    I trully am in another socio economic class from the Palins and our blessed from the almighty other policians

    I am glad our founding fathers made our government by the people and for the people

    when did that cease being the case?

    November 3, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  4. T. Martin

    Frankly, the woman appears emotionally unstable. She makes not a lick of sense to me. She seems always on the edge of tears, she resigns from the governorship of her state, and according to this article she felt she could sidestep the decisions of McCain and his advisers, and then she states, "I just don't want to go back to Alaska." What is her deal? I know that highly conservative Republican voters think she is awesome. All I can think is they must be really desperate if she is the best they can come up with to rally around.

    November 3, 2009 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  5. America Shrugged

    She didn't want to go back to Alaska? I'm thinking we'll hear more about why she didn't want to go back. Thank god she isn't a heart beat away from the Oval office. Sounds like a vicious viper to me.

    November 3, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  6. Dan in CHI

    Please. Stop. Reporting. On. This. Total. Non-factor.

    November 3, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. sandy

    Leave it go good old Sarah to want to be center stage. This woman was and still is a disaster waiting to happen.

    November 3, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  8. SometimesElla

    "Palin's spokeswoman Meghan Stapleton declined to respond to the new claims..."


    Purdham told essentially the same story in his Vanity Fair piece three months ago. I'm not sure how you consider this a "new claim"...

    November 3, 2009 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  9. Carnell From The Motor City!

    HypocriCNN Continues In A Series With It's Pathetic, Unprofessional Wolf Blitzer Lust Of Sarah Palin. This Is A Sad End Of An Even Sorrier Episode To Come.

    November 3, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  10. Doug, New Jersey

    She obviously is a more moral, honest, decent, caring, giving person than every Democrat in America, but I'm not sure she is ready to be president, sure she is more ready the current Socialist in Chief, but I think we may have better choices.

    One thing is for sure, the republican better not run another RINO like McCain who is just Democrat light. I loved how the so called moderates who claimed to love him, dissed him and voted for the far leftist extremist instead of him. That should be a lesson for all Republicans to learn. There is no compromising or working with the left, they are pure evil.

    November 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  11. johnrj08

    This woman is like a virus that has infected our cultural and our political process. A grotesquely ambitious and totally inadequate politician who succeeds with her empty-headed charm and obvious instinct for mud-slinging. The GOP has inflicted this creature on us and now, for the next decade, we're going to have to listen to her self-aggrandizing, divisive chirping, whether she's in office or not. For that reason alone, the Republican Party deserves a collective 'time-out' for the next two national elections.

    November 3, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. Doc in Virginia

    The most telling point that these revelations concern is the absolute lack of any judgement on McCain's part. That his argument against Obama as being 'green' and inexperienced was self destructed by his choice of Palin, who had to be reminded that Gordon Brown was PM of Great Britain??? Every drop of info from that time about her being void of any policies and knowledge even the Exxon-Valdez SCOTUS case concerning her own state is another shot at McCain's desperation for a game changer and putting his ambition before country. Everything about her is anti-intellectual; a poor attribute in these times when critical thinking is needed. Her proclivity for knee-jerk reactions is ill suited for today's crises and needs. Again, it points to McCain's need to take risks and react incoherently at times. This is not the two people to even be in the same city as the "football" in that briefcase!!! Nuclear weapons and McCain-Palin are just too scary to even think about. Paper cutters and McCain-Palin are scary enough....

    November 3, 2009 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  13. Melissa

    What a twit she is.

    November 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  14. Big John

    Waaa, I wanted to be the center of attention, Waaaaaa!
    I'm not surprised she didn't know Gordon Brown, after she couldn't name a single publication in her interview with Katie Curic, she's a simple minded moron.
    "I just don't want to go back to Alaska," Palin said off-handedly during the gathering. Well, the feeling is mutual we don't want her back either, good riddance!

    November 3, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. arapikos

    Makes one wonder who is telling the truth and who is the real beliver in a Higher Power–or thinks they are acting in concert with the Higher Power. Some of us just do not get the message sent to us by the Higher Power– in spite of all the warnings and failureswe are facing or have faced.

    November 3, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. Dawn

    The woman is a walking disaster who is only it for herself, let's move on people.

    November 3, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Democrat in Colorado

    If Sarah Palin is the new heart and soul of the GOP, the Democratic Party will be on top for years to come.

    November 3, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. susanj

    True colors coming out. I love it. Shows what a disaster picking this nobody was. She is nothing but a liar, media hungry, attention seeking wannabe. And she is stupid to boot. Stupid woman. No substance. Just a religious fanatic that wants to push her agenda on the 80% of Americans that don't agree with her.

    November 3, 2009 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
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