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. Mack

    Will the truth ever be told regarding who suggested and pushed for Palin to be McCain's running mate? I'm sure that is one regrettable decision by McCain.

    November 3, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  2. laura

    This woman is a complete moron. Bring her on in 2012, a landslide for Obama!

    November 3, 2009 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  3. Donkey Party

    Since confusion is right up there with ignorance, deception, and hatred, all traits so close to Palin, why is this no surprise?

    November 3, 2009 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  4. markus

    and the fringe-Right whack jobs love to paint Obama as ego-driven.

    this woman's ego deserves it's own zip code!
    Concession speech? Honey, you weren't running for President.

    or were you? LOL

    this fool, who blasted the media for daring to ask such hard-hitting, below the belt questions as "what newspapers do you read?" is the future of the Republican Party?????

    November 3, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  5. Willy Brown

    Sarah keep up the good work. You got the Obama loving media and DNC parrots peeved but what else is new.

    November 3, 2009 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  6. LacrosseMom

    Once more we learn about the dysfunction in Palin's camp, which is evident from all the miscues, errors, blunders since McCain choose her as his running mate.

    I do not hate, nor am I scared of this woman..... I am amazed that she is even considered a viable candidate by the GOPers!

    Palin/Bachman 2012

    November 3, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  7. Beyond Absurd

    Please, please, no more stories about this pathetic woman.

    November 3, 2009 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Peter Vaguely

    This woman is a megalomaniac. She has delusions of grandeur. She never cared about Alaska. She does not care about the United States of America. Regardless of whether you agree with her ideology or not. Beware this creature. She is dangerous!

    November 3, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  9. Gentwelve

    The upcoming book by her highness is nothing more than a carefully worded propaganda filled manuscript intended to persuade those salivating want to be fascist Americans.

    In the end, “Little Miss Sunshine” will achieve her goal as the next Conservative icon, reeling in more cash than she could ever dream of while directing vile and ugly criticism of the failing American way of life.

    November 3, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  10. GI Joe

    She'll never be a major politician.

    The far-right-wing nutjobs will use her to spread hate and fear and lies, keeping THEIR hands clean.

    She's a pawn to be used by the right-wing. Common knowledge in most of the country.

    ha ha ha ha ha The joke is on her.

    November 3, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  11. Fred Blatchley

    And this is the person who wanted to be our Vice-President? Sounds like someone needs to grow up a little bit and stop having tantrums when she doesn't get her own way.

    November 3, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  12. Lelia

    Gotta love Hearsay-NOT! "I just don't want to go back to Alaska, " Palin said OFF-HANDEDLY.... Subjective reporting at its best. Did you read the whole book, CNN, and this little, meaningless, subjective, drivel, excerpt is all you choose to put on your web page? How sad.

    November 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  13. Too True For You

    Ha Ha Ha.....flash cards. So she WAS qualified for be vice president, having studied flashcards and all. That's sarcasm for you Pavlovian Palin People.

    Too bad Curious George's handlers hadn't thought of flash cards. Maybe we wouldn't be having to dig out from under his and Tricky Dick Cheney's ignorant mistakes for the next couple of decades.

    November 3, 2009 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  14. Interested Observer, CA

    The truth/facts of how unqualifies this person was for the role of VP or POTUS will never deter the right-wing loooneys from proclaiming her as the "voice of real Americans".

    If she is the voice of real Americans – then I am happy to not be one of them...

    This lady is a train-wreck.

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

    Hopefully she will stay in Alaska. Forever.

    November 3, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  16. MrHapiGuy

    "I just don't want to go back to Alaska."


    She is despicable.

    November 3, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  17. Annie, Atlanta

    John McCain owes us an apology for unleashing the likes of Sarah Palin on us. Of course, I won't be holding my breath.

    I'd like to know who's behind her and her Facebook entries, redirecting the Republican Party to the hard right, in a "dominionist" like direction. This is not good for us, especially right now when times are tough and people are easily influenced towards anger. And personally she never indicated the level of intelligence it takes to direct this kind of attack on the party. CNN, dig into this please and find out who's pulling her strings.

    November 3, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  18. Shadysider

    Technically it wasn't McCain's choice as much as it was the GOP higher-ups who chose Palin (Great job Krystol, Dick Morris,etc.) McCain should have picked Colin Powell. He had the respect of moderate Republicans and Democrats, plus he would have been able to take a large portion of the black vote. Instead, Republicans chose to dis-own him after he endorsed Obama. Great strategy. The only conservatives that mainstream America wants are fiscal conservatives, and that is not who the Republican Party is any more. Instead they want to go hard-line conservatism. The Republican Party needs to decide if they want to appease their base or if they want to win elections.

    November 3, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  19. gary davis Harbor Oregon

    wonder who wrote it for her and did they use american english spell check or did they use ( yu betcha spell check) ?
    this creature makes my skin crawl she is nothing but a sick greedy moron. with ambitions of splitting up america with hate and fear hmmm sounds like a republican .. so with that inmind ,we can honestly say that the republican party is who dropped an egg in the muddy merky scumy water and out pooped Palin..:)

    gary davis
    harbor oregon

    November 3, 2009 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  20. Davo

    Wow.... Just think, this could have been our VP!

    Flash Cards! This is just too much. And then she bashes her home state! Classy...

    How far have we regressed in America when we think someone like Palin is even remotely suitable to be our second in command?

    November 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  21. Buzz Daly

    Maybe if Sarah is so desperate for attention she should start dating Jon Gosselin.

    Just a suggestion.

    Why is anyone wasting their time on this airhead?

    November 3, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  22. Navy Vet

    Sensing uncertainty, Salter finally put his foot down. "You're not speaking," the longtime McCain adviser told Palin. "John has decided it's unprecedented." [sic]

    It not only is unprecedented, it's just plain disrespectful.

    November 3, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  23. Bart from Omaha

    Dumb, proud and power hungry is a bad combination for a leader.

    November 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  24. TyWebb

    Confused is as confused does...

    November 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  25. José Galloza

    Good thing this woman never set foot in the White House or the Vice-President's compound. To have elected her would have been a tragedy for this country. I hate to say this, but I feel bad for McCain. I'm sure he's kicking himself for letting the, Palin out of Alaska.

    November 3, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
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