From POLITICS DAILY:
Republican Sen. John McCain, who lifted former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin out of obscurity to be his vice presidential partner last year, isn’t saying much about Palin’s new tell-all, blame-all book. But Steve Schmidt, who managed the campaign and is a chief target in the book, doesn’t think much of “Going Rogue.”
In the book, written with Lynn Vincent, Palin attacks Schmidt, communications aide Nicolle Wallace, Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson; says Schmidt cursed in front of her 7-year-old daughter, Piper; says she was billed $50,000 for the cost of her own vetting and says she resisted the campaign’s efforts to dress her up with new clothes and a stylist. She also says Schmidt screamed at her after she fell for a hoax in which a prank caller pretended to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
Schmidt gave his verdict on the book, due in stores Tuesday, in an interview with me: “It’s total fiction,” he said.
Just to address some of the claims: Trevor Potter, the campaign’s counsel, told The Atlantic that the campaign did not bill Palin for vetting. Schmidt told me it’s “not true” that he used an obscenity in front of Piper. As for the $150,000 tab for Palin family clothes and accessories, “Her account talks about the fact that she was resistant to all this stuff. That’s just not true,” one campaign aide told me. This aide’s take: “The book fully reveals her. Dishonest, small and petty.”
McCain […] has told his former aides that he feels bad about what they are going through. The aides themselves are both shocked and not shocked.
“People knew that’s what she was like” but they are nevertheless incredulous that she published a book like this, one of them told me. “It’s like, ‘What’s she so angry about?’ She was picked to be vice president of the United States. She had an exceptional opportunity. Everything is someone else’s fault. There’s no accountability. It’s mean-spirited. But if you look at the record, it is what it is.”
From THE HUFFINGTON POST:
Last month at a conference in Washington D.C., former McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt was asked how he expected to be portrayed in Sarah Palin’s upcoming book.
Not well, he replied. He wasn’t wrong.
Clocking in at over 400 pages, “Going Rogue” is, at its heart, one giant complaint about the conduct of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. At the nexus of Palin’s grievances lies Schmidt, a character cast as out of touch, overly cautious, and vindictive.
The relationship between vice presidential candidate and the campaign manager doesn’t start off on the rocks — but it ends there. And though she claims they were “very comfortable with each other right off the bat,” she also describes Schmidt as “business to the bone.” During her vetting Schmidt plays it cool. When Palin admits “the one skeleton [she’d] kept hidden in [her] closet for the past twenty-two years,” Schmidt “didn’t bat an eye” — though he does “wince” when she mentions God. That oh-so-dark secret, incidentally, is a D-grade Palin received in a college course.
Palin complains of being “told to sit down and shut up” when she “spoke on the trail about Obama’s associations with questionable characters.” She bemoans the campaign’s unwillingness to tackle “Obama’s pastor of twenty years, Jeremiah ‘God Damn America’ Wright.”
She even remarks about how Schmidt’s penchant for vulgarity offended her. Writing about the preparation the campaign was conducting for the vice-presidential debates, she recounts the campaign manager declaring that moderator Gwen Ifill is “going to f*** with you?”
Eventually the animosity grew quite personal. At one point during the campaign, Schmidt discusses his hopes of getting a nutritionist on the bus. Palin, first assuming that it’s for the entire staff, compliments the idea. Only then, does Schmidt tell her, “No, it’s for you… You gotta get off that Atkins Diet.” Palin, writing up the incident months later, couldn’t help but comment on Schmidt’s “rotund physique.”
Regrets, indeed, are everywhere in “Going Rogue”. And blame always seems to fall on someone else. Palin laments the indecisiveness about how to deal with Saturday Night Live’s parodies of her, writing that the campaign simply should have taken her advice and gone on the show earlier.
Her soured relationship with the local press — originally “fine” and even helpful — was also the campaign’s fault. The McCain campaign, complained Palin, wouldn’t allow her to “speak her heart and mind.”
“Just stick with the script,” Schmidt would say. “Ultimately,” she writes, “this hurt the campaign to a degree the ‘experts’ could never grasp.” She gives anecdotes detailing incidents where the McCain campaign directly — sometimes physically — stopped her from reaching out to reporters.
Palin makes clear it was the “packaging” the campaign managers wrapped her in — never the package inside — that led to her failed candidacy.
The decision to purchase designer clothes for the trail — a major embarrassment for the campaign — is, likewise, ascribed to aide Nicolle Wallace.
She gasps over the expensive price of the nylons they provide for her. When describing her speech at the RNC, she snidely adds, “The kids looked great — even in a bunch of borrowed clothes.”
The anger between Palin and Schmidt eventually crests right as the prospects for the campaign begin their precipitous decline. In an incident that has been reported previously, Randy Scheuenemann — a McCain foreign policy adviser and Palin loyalist — charges into Schmidt’s office after a series of articles surfaced with anonymous campaign aides whacking the vice presidential candidate.
From THE HUFFINGTON POST:
The Huffington Post has obtained internal McCain campaign emails — addressed to and by the former vice presidential candidate — that directly contradict or cast serious doubt on several of Palin’s assertions. The emails were passed along by a mid-level staffer who called early excerpts of “Going Rogue”, a serious mixing of truth and imagination.”
In one email thread, dated October 14, 2008, Palin says she is “not thrilled” with the idea of going on Saturday Night Live as a way of marginalizing the show’s unflattering impersonations of her.
“Not after seeing clips of what they’ve been playing re: my family,” Palin writes to campaign manager Steve Schmidt, as well as top strategists Rick Davis; and Nicolle Wallace. “I had no idea how gross ‘celebrities’ on that show and in other celebrity venues could get when it comes to family and other aspects of my life that have nothing to do with seeking the vp slot. These folks are whack – didn’t know it was as bad as it is… what’s the upside in giving them any celebrity venue a ratings boost? That’s Todd’s input also,” she concludes, in reference to her husband.
Schmidt would respond minutes later, telling Palin that, “if you don’t want to do it you should not,” while adding that a guest appearance would “get an enormous amount of” attention and help her “to fly above all this.”
Palin would ultimately make a guest appearance on Saturday Night Live days later. But in her upcoming book she describes the deliberations about whether or not to go on the show much differently than the emails suggest. In “Going Rogue”, the vice presidential candidate writes that “from the beginning, I liked the idea that John and I might appear on the show.”
The SNL episode isn’t the only instance where “Going Rogue” seems to venture away from documented campaign material. On the condition that it could be quoted but not re-published, the McCain staffer also provided the email that Schmidt sent to Palin and her staff after she was prank called by someone pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
“Who set this up? Are you kidding me? Did it occur to anyone that the french president wouldn’t be looking to have a conversation with the vicepresidential candidate 3 days before the election,” Schmidt writes. “From this moment forward, no interview occurs without my direct signoff. Nothing. I want to know the exact details of this. I want to know who is responsible.”
In “Going Rogue”, the anecdote is painted in a drastically different setting and context. For starters, Palin writes that Schmidt called her, something that two McCain aides (including the one who provided the email) insist never happened. “He never called screaming at her,” said one of the aides, who was traveling with Palin at the time. “There was no phone call.”
Moreover, in Going Rogue, Palin recalls Schmidt screaming directly at her, so much so that it “blew my hair back.” In actuality, the irritation was directed at the staffers, the aide said.
Finally, the McCain aide sends over a third email that shows a late-in-the-campaign Palin grateful for the work done by Schmidt and others and cognizant of her “blundered-up” media appearances. The occasion was a sit-down interview that the vice presidential candidate had done with ABC’s Elizabeth Vargas on October 29, in which it was reported (widely out of context) that Palin was already thinking about running for president in 2012.
“I am very sorry,” Palin writes to Nicolle Wallace, Steve Schmidt, and Rick Davis, with her husband, Todd, cc:ed. “u guys are working double-triple time on this blundered-up stuff that they spin bc of my visits w press – while I apologize I say I love you guys!!!”
From the Anchorage Daily News:
So what’s in the book?
There’s some juicy campaign trail gossip, writes the Associated Press reporter who last week tracked down a copy of “Going Rogue.” In it, she claims that as much as $50,000 of the legal bills she amassed while governor of Alaska came from the vetting the McCain campaign did of her as a vice-presidential candidate.
The book also “describes heart-wrenching anguish about her teen daughter’s [Bristol’s] pregnancy playing out before a national audience,” the AP reported.
Yet not a word about Levi Johnston. His name is not even mentioned. A little afraid of the kid, Princess?
There’s also plenty of media bashing, according to an excerpt leaked to the Drudge Report Web site. Palin was barred even from talking to the reporters on her campaign plane, according to the excerpt of her book.
“By the third week in September, a ‘Free Sarah’ campaign was under way and the press at large was growing increasingly critical of the McCain camp’s decision to keep me, my family and friends back home, and my governor’s staff all bottled up,” according to the excerpt on the Drudge Report.
But in the same passage, she snipes about her interview with Katie Couric, saying that a McCain-Palin aide urged her to do the interview because the CBS anchor had “low self-esteem.”