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. hmmmm.

    "Confusion" seems to be a habitual response from her co-workers.

    November 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  2. chuck

    I remember the night well and wondered if she would give a concession speech. When she didn't, I thought that it was completely appropriate, which had nothing at all to do with my disdain for her. McCain was the focus of the night in regards to the Republican party and it was his speech to give. He fully owned that night and I thought at the time that Sarah was being a real lady by deferring the time to him alone. Now we know the truth about the real lady who was doing a slow burn in the background.

    November 3, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  3. Right wing deceit

    why is Palin still in the news ?
    What are her values ?
    To spread lies about Obama ?
    Can Palin name one world leader ? Does she understand any science or does she think the earth is 4000 years old and her god destroyed most of mankind in a flood !

    These are not the values of free and just minded Americans nor the God they know!

    November 3, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  4. Gary McGREGOR

    Sarah PALIN is not a team player. To run any office ie: governor,vice president you must be a team player thus she quits the governorship and loses the vice presidencyand she is just not intelligent enough!!!

    November 3, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  5. Linda from Minnesota

    I thank God every day that John McCain lost the election and shudder to think that this woman could be next in line to the presidency. She doesn't want to go back to Alaska but I sure wish she would and stay there. She doesn't scare me but the 20% of Americans who think she is smart enough to be president sure do. I guess the dumbing down of America has begun.

    November 3, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  6. Doug

    This is nothing but Palin envy. Palin hasn't even given an interview since leaving office and she is in the news anout every day. Why is the left so concerned with little old Sarah?

    Could those be storm clouds on the horizon?

    November 3, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. Fred

    This is no surprise to me. $90 socks? It goes hand in hand with the republican penchant for pretending to be something you are not. Just look at how many republicans have been convicted of sexual predation on children, how many cheat on their wives, how many cheat their own fellow taxpayers. It never stops.

    November 3, 2009 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  8. John P.

    So rediculous....from people looking to make a buck off of Sarah.

    November 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  9. Not Surprised

    She was such an idiot...and she still is.

    November 3, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. AB

    Palin's "Mein Kampf" should be full of hilarious, quitter, "Africa is a country" type of things...too bad no one will buy it.

    November 3, 2009 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  11. CJ

    Who cares about this woman and Bachmann, they are as dumb as a post. I am hate to hear anything these two people say when they open their mouth, they show that they have no GOALS, and no knowledge of history and do not care about anything but getting their names out in public.

    November 3, 2009 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  12. Ellen

    Wow, Sarah Palin is a narcissist with a messiah complex. Who knew.

    November 3, 2009 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  13. Mr. Moderate

    "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,"

    Geee.....I thought Obama was the ONLY politician who has ever used a teleprompter.

    November 3, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  14. Pepou

    What a moron that Palin is!

    November 3, 2009 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  15. Reagan was wrong

    Sarah Palin is dangerous. Not because she is a smart, sexy (since when is "sexy" a qualification for office?), and will "shake things up", as the lunatic wing of the GOP likes to claim, but because her ambition matches her stupidity.

    November 3, 2009 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. CR

    In her simple mind, it's all about her. She's not fit to serve on a town council. No business holding any public office for that matter.

    November 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  17. C from middle GA

    Will the Palin faithful read any of this stuff and think?

    I feel sorry for Senator McCain. Imagine having a "maverick moment" and choosing her. And then being locked into her for months and watching the train wreck happen in slow motion...

    And she just WON'T go AWAY!

    November 3, 2009 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  18. Larry

    " I Just Don't Want To Go Back To Alaska"

    If that one statement doesn't say it all, to explain Sarahs motives for everything she has done in the past 16 months, then nothing does.

    Sarah cares about Sarah, NOT COUNTRY, NOT THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY, just little ole Sarah

    November 3, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  19. Marie

    She never should have left Alaska. I was for John McCain until he chose this LOSER as a running mate (which was nothing more than a kowtow to the ultra-conservative arm of the GOP). He lost me with his choice..

    The woman isn't qualified for dogcatcher!

    November 3, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  20. American Expat

    No surprise here! Miss motormouth will do anything to get the spotlight and start her mouth before putting her brain in gear. I do not believe there has been another person in recent history LESS qualified to be president of this great country. When her team had to develop flash cards to bring her up to speed (apparently she never got there!) says a lot about her lack of qualifications. Thank God the voters had the good sense to recognize that too!

    November 3, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Ryan

    Um, since when do VPs make concession speeches in the first place? Why is she such a moron???!!!

    November 3, 2009 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  22. kcl

    Sarah wants to be a diva, it is really quite sad.
    She has nothing to do with this story surfacing now, but it is very telling of how her struggle for fame is a constant issue in her mind.
    I'm starting to feel sorry for her as she doesn't get any positive press that she seems to be so needy of.
    It's just a sad saga.

    November 3, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. Carole

    Senator McCain used to be in my mind one classy person..............................until he got this dufus on the ticket.

    Palin has turned a man who was seen as an esteemed Senator, war hero and fair non-prejudiced person to being called names like McShame.

    Palin is so full of herself. I hope she runs for President. She probably will considering when Republicans say no thanks to her campaigning and she does it anyway.

    November 3, 2009 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  24. Grahame

    Just George Bush in a dress. "My way or the Highway" syndrome. She thinks she's right and the rest of the entire world is wrong. And NO! it's not that we are scared of this brainless piece of excrement. We are terrified of the mindless robots with a collective i,q the same as my shoe size, it's not her it's these morons who believe she has any relevancev at all. Anyone who believes that physical looks equate into intelligence is living in a Hollywood movie set. Obviously the level of educational values and expertise in the United States of America is a joke. If you would rather not look at this truth, then find out where the US is on a global educational rating scale. The fundamental
    modus operandi of thes so called fundementalists is "Keep them illiterate, gullable and therefore easy to manage.. Anyway Sarah Palin is the Democrats secret weapon.

    November 3, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  25. Msdp

    Yep, this is nothing new. Sarah's real name is Sarah "Divisive" Palin. She calls her self a Christian, but any christian knows that God is not about division, nor is he about confusion. I really wish the American people would stay awake long enough to think for themselves. Please don't be lead around like zoombies. Remember, God is not about confusion nor is he divisive!!!! God is about love, and understanding. This person is only about her self interest.

    November 3, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
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