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. Terry from West Texas

    Palin is a popular person, but I can't figure out what it is that her supporters see in her that is worthy of their support. What are her positive qualities? What has she accomplished? What is it that they think she will do if elected to the presidency?

    Whatever it is, I don't see it.

    November 3, 2009 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  2. Dave

    '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."

    This pretty much says it all. This country, and indeed the rest of the world, dodged a huge bullet with this imbecile.

    November 3, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  3. Obama 2012

    This will not look good for the Republicans in the next elections!! 🙂

    November 3, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  4. K

    Pk i believe macaine had sara on a lease like a pretty sexy dog when her book comes out sara will bite john you better run and hide pk

    November 3, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  5. George

    Confusion is her way of life. She is a wacko that is not worthy of being a dog catcher, let alone a real public servent. Sarah, for the good of all please go away. Do us all a favor. Tahe Ruch and Joe the Plumber with you.

    November 3, 2009 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  6. D. Tree

    What a disaster it would have been if this egomaniac ever got near the presidency!

    Sarah's ego is so big you can see it from you back yard!

    November 3, 2009 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  7. The Daily CNN Obsessions with Palin

    Why can't we get daily updates on how John Edwards is doing? Or how about Charlie Rangle's legal battle he's having over tax evasion? Or how about how ACORN is at it again casting fraudulent votes in NJ today????

    Instead, CNN keeps beating away at Palin hoping the hate-filled liberals will join in their tongue lashing against her again today.

    Did you notice, it's the typically the same people here.

    November 3, 2009 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
  8. Tommy Boy

    Imagine that....Palin confused things. She's sooooo mavericky! You Betcha. She just wanted to get out on the stage to see if she could see Mexico from Arizona. That way she could beef up her Foreign Affairs credentials.

    November 3, 2009 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  9. Bubba

    Yeah, she wanted to win, and she didn't want to go home. And she sure didn't stay there once we sent her back. She's the Quitter with Twitter!

    November 3, 2009 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  10. Right Trash

    What a shock – this book tells us what we already know. Palin is an idiot.

    November 3, 2009 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  11. Tom in CA

    ... what an AIR HEAD!

    November 3, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    I guess this is the tasty morsel du jour to keep us occupied while the election results develop into a froth that can be whipped into a 'storm' by cnn et al.

    I'm not biting.

    November 3, 2009 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  13. Liberal4Obama

    Just goes to show how ignorant a.k.a clueless Sarah Palin is, only the Presidential Candidate makes a concession speech and that is John McCain.

    November 3, 2009 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  14. hockeybear

    This does not surprise me. Palin craves the spotlight and thinks she is the center of the universe. In actuality, she's nothing but a train wreck.

    November 3, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  15. bravado in boston


    This should be a show on Bravo! No Wait! I LIKE Bravo. Maybe Lifetime.......err......FOX! That's it.


    November 3, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  16. EL

    palin is a liar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2009 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  17. usualone

    She continues to astound me - It is one thing be a maverick, but it is another how she doesn't play by any of her party's rules. People must like her because she is a "naughty" behavior. She lacks integrity and lashes out at others who have it.

    November 3, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. Julian

    15:01, 15:02,15:03 ... seriously Sarah Palin's 15 minutes were up a long time ago.

    November 3, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. D.

    Indeed Palin showed confusion on election night, Obama has been showing it since election night!

    November 3, 2009 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  20. Rob

    What an ego!

    November 3, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  21. southerncousin

    This story, although giving the liberals a platform to spew their venom and hate, is over a year old. Let's have one about how this administration has been such a failure, the promises it has broken and the dangerous path it has put this country on or how McCain and Palin were right about the failed policies and personalities of this administration.

    November 3, 2009 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  22. Anonymous

    Thank you for the truth

    November 3, 2009 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  23. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    What a boob! The light of the GOP and she's a total moron!

    November 3, 2009 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  24. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    You just can't polish a turd!

    November 3, 2009 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  25. Richp

    And Biden calls republicans the American Taliban, he's such an astute bugger isn't he.

    November 3, 2009 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
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