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. Randolph Carter.

    Nice try at manipulating the election CNN by leaving these posts in this order for today. Here is how you have it:

    1. Remember Palin?
    2. Repubs with extreme views.
    3. Obama approval is great.

    How obvious.
    Have a nice day!

    November 3, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. Greta

    Sarah is special like ed. Pass it on.

    November 3, 2009 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  3. Minnesotan

    HAH! The McCain camp knew better than to let this loony tune speak in front of a crowd. She was an embarrassment during the election and she only made a bigger fool of herself after. It's fun to watch Republicans turn on each other!

    November 3, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  4. Hugo

    That is what happens when you saddle someone eager to win and provide leadership with an old status quo workhorse that has no desire to give it their all. McCain lost before he ever started, had he addressed the errors of the Bush Administration, gone after Obama on his ideologies and political associations, we may be living a different life in America right now. You remember, one where you had a job?

    November 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  5. worriedmom

    uh oh, here will go the vile Liberals again posting nasty comments. that seems to be the only thing they are good for. You sure can't have an intelligent conversation with them and reasoning power they lack.
    Go Sara!

    November 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. Brian

    What is it with CNN's continuous reporting on everything Sarah Palin??? It is election day today, Pelosi just dropped a 2000 page Healthcare Bill on Congress, Obama is ignoring the advice of his very own appointed General in Afghanistan, and unemployment is close to 10%.... but let's all ignore that and continue to talk about Sarah Palin!!! Please report on what matters!

    November 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. larry

    I am looking forward to when she can finally give her concession speech.

    November 3, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. ramona

    Going Rogue. You will find the book in the "fiction" section of your local bookstore. Sarah from Alaska. Now this book might interest me.

    November 3, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. KA

    Palin was the village idiot in the campaign, but McCain was truly the "rogue". He chose someone who couldn't pass a SAT, if you gave her the clues. With the global crises the US faced, regardless of who won the election, that was stunningly reckless for a so-called "American hero". He was willing to put the country at grave risk, because he wanted to win.
    What a bullet the country dodged not electing him.

    November 3, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Tom Sawyer

    QUOTE: "I just don't want to go back to Alaska," Palin said off-handedly during the gathering.

    It seems losing the beauty pageant has really scarred Palin for life because she sounds and behaves exactly like a bitter and sad pageant-queen reject!

    Hence, her being selected as the VP candidate was her chance to redeem herself ... her chance to regain her "pageant crown". And she was determined to do anything to make her 15-minutes of fame last a lot longer.

    November 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. If wishes were horses,

    "I just don't want to go back to Alaska," Palin said off-handedly during the gathering.

    Hey Sarah, people like Hillary worked so hard for years and was not able to secure her dreams. Was two months you came to public eyes enough to make you think the White House is your place to be!! What kind of thinking is that!!!!

    November 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. BillyBobTomRedcracker

    I wonder what all the Palin followers think of this vacuous idiot expressing how she didn't want to go back to Alaska?

    November 3, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Matt

    Makes you wonder why the McCain camp ever picked her. I can't imagine a dumber move than that one...

    November 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  14. Rosebud

    How can they go back to the farm once they've seen Paris.

    November 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Diane

    "Going Rouge" is a perfect title for Palin's book – what does it take to stop a charging elephant? She is perfect for the leadershi role for te tea party activits too – soon they will wake up and realize she is doing the no good!

    November 3, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Linda

    Why do you keep telling us about Palin and Mc Cain/ THEY LOST! She is a joke- ignornant and backward who cares nothing for this great nation but only for her own greed and self.
    She is a joke that is not funny anymore and yet media still act as if she is somehow important in our nation.

    Let's hear from Olympia Snowe or other real GOP women with brains and good sense for our nation. Not the idiots like Palin and Limbaugh, and Beck. They mean nothing but hate and lies and anti American values

    November 3, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  17. DaniNYC

    Confusion should be Palin's middle name. And Rogue is also a good name for her. She is a pathetic example of what is wrong with our country. Although I find these reports on Palin humorous and I get a good laugh everytime she opens her mouth, the media has to stop induldging her stupidity. She is not a role model and should not be representing women in politics. Stop covering her in the media and she will go away. Her departure into the Alaskan wilderness is well overdue. Goodnight Sarah Palin! Go home!

    November 3, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. Greg

    We don't care about these stories. Please provide us with some substance.

    November 3, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Steve

    Between Palin, Bachmann, Foxx a responsible party of Republicans should have done what Senator McCain did on concession evening, by never allowing Palin to speak. The Republican Party shouldn't allow the other two distorted ladies to speak. For when they do speak, it appears they all are on some strong disconnected medicine apart from the normal America. They know best in the McCain camp Sarrah Palin didn't care for Alaska, she doesn't care for America. She shiouldn't speak for the Republican Party, she only cares for herself.

    November 3, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  20. Irma in North Carolina

    The Book Sarah from Alaska sounds like this is the book that is telling is telling the truth, this should sell much better that her own book which will all be lies. I never seen any one so dumb to think she was going to give a speech. Thank god the Mccain people would not let her give it, it would of been a speech of hate. She is responsible for getting the country in an uproar with her rallys she held and people were shouting kill him and she did nothing to stop it. And then her death panel deal got all the seniors in an uproar and had people carrying guns to presidential events. She still is out their bashing the president every day by having someone writing the articles for her face book and putting her name on it. She goes over to a foreign country and reads a speech that puts down the us and our president. I hope all her followers will see this article and hope they and the 20 percent wake up and realize what she is like. Of course they all think they will get her in the white house and the fox gang will be her cabinet members. She will need to order a lot of flash cards so she will know what to say. This is who you want in the white house.

    November 3, 2009 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. Fair is Fair

    Nothing like a handy-dandy good ole' Palin article to get the libs foaming at the mouth and get their minds off of the anticipated dismal showings for the dems at the polls today. How predictable.

    Spin it any way you want, libs. THIS IS a referrendum on Obama's big-government agenda. Blue dogs are going to run post haste from Obama's takeover of healthcare and cap-and-tax.

    Just a foreshadowing of what's coming in 2010.

    November 3, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Sue IL

    Palin is a fighter, a bit raw and not as polished as other candidates, but that's what I like about her!!!

    November 3, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. She is just so... scary

    let me say if before the neo posts begin

    she is sooooooooooo scary, us liberal get very worked up with her truth, she is just to much and gets under our thin skin

    intimidating is the word, we can't handle her and have to run away

    I don't know what I would do if she ran in the next presidential race

    I think I would hide, the fear of rightousness would force me to cower and sit out the election


    November 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Robert Jordan

    Sarah Palin is an ambitious woman who will let nothing get in the way of what she wants. Some people may think that is an admirable quality but if everyone will stop at nothing on the road to get to what they want it just stands to reason there will be a lot of injured bodies and destruction along the highway.

    November 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  25. Tina, NC

    I will never, EVER forgive McCain for unleashing that disaster of a woman on us.

    November 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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