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. Barry Story

    I have a question. Sarah Palin remarked before the election words to the effect that God would see that the right team would be elected. How does she justify trashing the president? does she beleive that God made a mistake? I have never heard her address this statement.
    could somebody ask her this question.

    November 3, 2009 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  2. Steve

    Narcissism at its finest! I guess I should be used to the idea by now, but I still can't believe anyone thought Palin was fit for national office. Just unfreakingbelievable. I know some folks are complaining about Obama, but really, with judgement like he showed in his VP pick, everybody should be feeling greatly relieved that McCain's not in office.

    November 3, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |

    This is old news. I won't buy the book. However, whoever can make a buck or two writing abotu the dysfunctional McCain-Palin campaign is welcome to do so. Palin is an opportunist and it is proved proven when she saw the money and abandoned the Alaska governorship. Her values are quite simple: crush anyone in your path to make money. This is well documented in her political career thus far.

    November 3, 2009 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  4. diridi

    I told you long time ago...she is a stupid education, no experience...Ha!!! for experience, foreign, she even went to Hong Kong...Ha...this is how she thinks...idiots like Mitt Romney, big fat Rush Limbauh, and old idiot like Mitch Mcconnol...crazy idiot like John Bohner thinks she is great....even North carolina Rep. verginia foxx is so idiot....I told you after 60 years, of age, brain would not they need to bar from being elected...prima facie...ok...God bless our nation, the USA!!!!AMEN>>>>

    November 3, 2009 09:07 am at 9:07 am |

    Figures. And these are the people who wanted to run the country? It shows just how completely unqualified she was, and continues to be.

    November 3, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  6. Kathy

    So $90 for a pair of socks, inability to communicate with her staffers, and flash cards needed to let her know who PM of the UK was..... We all know she did not want to go back to Alaska! She only lasted less than a year before she quit there! Yeah, quit quit quit is her motto. She didn't even finish her term as mayor, she just jumped ship with them millions of dollars in debt despite going into office with a surplus.

    November 3, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  7. Torin

    Another Caribou Barbie faux pas. Who else except Palin would want to give a concession speech as the Vice Presidential candidate? She does not get it or will she ever get it.

    November 3, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. A. Goodwin

    None of this surprises me. This woman is immature, narcissistic, and white-trash to booth. She was never in it for Alaska...she was only in it for herself.

    What's really scary is that there are people out there that think Palin is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Fools!

    November 3, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  9. Jeff

    Another Palin story? What is behind this obsession?

    November 3, 2009 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  10. Drum Roll . . . Presenting the dumbest part-time governor to ever fail debate class

    This should not come as a surprise to anyone. Sarah Failin' did not even know what a Vice President does when she was McLame's running play-mate. She was a and still is a clueless person, who might have a pretty face and a nice ass, but she has zero intelligence on anything related to the Executive branch of government. She should pose in Playboy that what she would get a lot more votes.

    November 3, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. Rumsfeld

    Sarah, how many clues do you need before you understand that your day in the political sun is over. You know how to wave buh-bye, so do it.

    November 3, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  12. Sharon Northern Virginia

    This woman is just CRAZY

    November 3, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  13. Tom in Wheaton, Illinois

    Sarah continues to amaze. She is Anna Nicole Smith without the dog. I miss the dog.

    November 3, 2009 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  14. Jim

    i'm not surprised.

    this is hardly news at this late date, tho.

    November 3, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  15. Elizabeth

    I find nothing in this report the least bit surprising.

    November 3, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  16. tim nyc

    she didn't write the book– she had a ghost writer...she's a simpleton..please, can we just forget this horrible person ? she'd nominate bernie kerik for office if he wasn't going to jail...please, please let America get on with the business of creating a new and vibrant future for all and stop talking about the irrelevant and nonsensical information/ topics.

    November 3, 2009 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  17. pshaw

    It's a thin line between maverick and loose cannon.

    November 3, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  18. Big Daddy

    What !!!!!! Confused !!!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  19. Howard from Dallas

    Ms. Palin had very little to offer the country. Sadly, while Alaska is well shed of her, it would seem that we will have to put up with her childish grandstanding for a while longer. Mr. McCain, there were so many better choices for a running mate; you really should not have let yourself be railroaded into strapping this anchor to your neck.

    November 3, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. georgie

    well, i think you almost tried to say something nice about palin. omg, that would never happen. what was i thinking?

    November 3, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  21. Brian

    You liberals just love Sarah Palin.

    November 3, 2009 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  22. Laurie

    She is a self centered, dishonest, woman who lacks respect for all around her. I continue to be amazed that she is still given credibility by some. It is a sad statement on people's judgement & absolute need to have anything guide them poilitically and personally. This woman is a wolf in sheep's clothing(with her sheep's clothing looking pretty thin at times). Continue on Palinites. Forget the expensive clothing, the lies, Levi Johnston, the fact that she corresponds only on facebook, quitting the governorship of Alaska, the no shows at events, among others and blindly follow this egomaniac. She will lead you to the bridge to nowhere.

    November 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  23. Rick -EXREPUBLICAN, EX-Marine

    What a hack. Take note, people. Quitter, Liar, Schemer...endorser of extreme conservatists.

    November 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  24. Keith in Austin

    To CNN: Thank you for all the great PR you are giving Sarah!!!!!

    November 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  25. J.Havis

    Palin is one stiff idiot. She is so far out in space that she can't hold on to her own blown up ego.

    November 3, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
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