The Book to Nowhere: Thanks, but No Thanks


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.”

Original DVD cover

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.”


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.


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.”


Filed under 2008 election, Alaska, humor, John McCain, Katie Couric, movies, Nicolas Sarkozy, parody, politics, Republicans, Sarah Palin, snark, Wordpress Political Blogs

37 responses to “The Book to Nowhere: Thanks, but No Thanks

  1. On the other hand, this should end her career among everyone who isn’t sporting a huge kool-aid ‘stache.

    No one likes a whiner, and no one likes to hear a candidate complain that it was everyone else’s fault that she lost. I’ve been a fan of some big losers, but most of them don’t go around crying that their failings were caused by someone else.

    • she’s not only a whiner, but she’s a liar, too. not only have capt underpants campaign staffers proven she lied in her book, but her own words prove that she’ll tell whatever story she happens to think works at a particular time. for example, in the oprah interview, she says that she didn’t ask her kids if she should capt u’s invitation to be his runningmate, but in the interviews she did when the campaign was still ongoing, she said that she put it up to a family vote.

      she loves being a victim, and the whole world conspired to make her a loser. wahhh-wahhh-wahhhhh!

      p.s. “everyone who isnโ€™t sporting a huge kool-aid โ€™stache” hilarious!!!!!!

      • writechic

        Beautiful work, Nonnie!

        And omg, she is such a baby. Textbook l’enfant terrible. And the whole “poor me” angle.

        • writechic

          And the lying! She’s not bright enough to realize this stuff can be fact-checked????

          • thanks wcp! lโ€™enfant terrible describes her perfectly. she thinks she’s entitled to anything and everything she wants, and when she doesn’t get it, she throws a tantrum.

          • Her audience doesn’t believe in fact-checking. The definition of “biased” is now “disagreeing with Republicans,” so anyone who says that Gov. Palin is lying is a left-wing biased news source.

            Back during the campaign, I was accused of not being a real Christian because I disagreed with something she said. (Alright, so I called her a liar, still … she lied!)

            Unless it comes from Fox, fact-checking is defined as dishonest.

  2. One can only hope the book is a huge flop & she finally fades away into the sunset.

    • that’s not going to happen. the uberconservatives wouldn’t take a chance on the book flopping, so they’ll buy then up to inflate the sales stats. she’s the biggest (and shrillest, but they don’t seem to mind) microphone they have, and they aren’t going to get rid of her in the near future.

  3. I hate to admit it, but all the publicity she’s getting because of her shitty book is really bugging me.
    I keep thinking about the book Obama wrote before he became president–it was inspirational, wise and intellectually stimulating.
    Palin’s book sounds more like the diary of an angry teenage cheerleader who’s slamming the other cheerleaders because she thinks they aren’t as pretty as her.
    Palin had the opportunity to write a serious book about policy and issues affecting our nation. She could have drafted a smart Republican strategist to ghost write it for her. She could have used that medium to cast herself in a positive political light.
    Instead she selected a homophobic conservative nobody to cook up a mess of gossipy, sour grapes crap that makes her look as dumb and petty as she is.
    Maybe people who buy her book will finally realize she’s a dimwitted, thin skinned bitch and let her slide into obscurity for good.

    • writechic

      Ok, I can’t stop staring at the carnival freak. I just read some of the transcripts and stories from the Oprah interview. Palin is charisma with no soul, substance, or intellect.

      I’m saving Shapiro’s article on how she could win the GOP nomination in 2012. Sickening thought.

      • i don’t understand why people call her charismatic. if she looked like virgina foxx and sounded and acted the same way, i assure you, she wouldn’t be described that way. there’s nothing charming about her. she’s phony, shrill, whiny, and stupid.

        • writechic

          I’m calling her charismatic because she generates a spooky following. I’m thinking about the press she’s generating when so many more important things are going on. I’m thinking about the frenzied crowds during the campaign shouting things that are rarely heard in public.

          She doesn’t merit the attention; yet, there it is.

          • i gotcha. i meant that i can’t understand why anyone could find her charismatic, but, then again, i can’t understand how some people can think that batshit bachmann is smart or that pat robertson is a good person.

            • Calling her “charismatic” can be a double-entendre. She’s a pentacostal (speaking in tounges) Christian and charismatic is a synonym for pentacostal, especially when the practices bleed over into other strands of Christianity. Google “charismatic Catholic” for an example.

              • i agree that she’s charismatic when you use it in the religious sense. people who rely only on faith instead of actual thinking are her kind of people. however, i don’t understand those who think that she’s charismatic in a non-religious sense. to me, she’s shrill, boring, and rather stupid. she’s so obviously a phony in so many ways, and it floors me that some people can’t see it.

    • the people who will buy her book won’t care that she’s a dimwitted thin-skinned bitch. she’s been that all along, and they’re still on her bandwagon. they like her, because they’re just as dimwitted as she is.

  4. Nonnie, I was trying to figure out what you’d done with the burger, and I finally realized it had antlers (not your fault, I’m not wearing my glasses). I love it!

    • that was a last minute addition, wickle. i saw the empty spot on the bed, and i thought i would dust off the old mooseburger. it doesn’t make its way into posters often enough.

  5. Here’s a repost of a comment I made on the Big Orange two weeks ago.

    I have a confession to make. I walked into a bookstore yesterday and saw a poster for Palin’s new book on the door. My car keys were still in my hand and my first impulse was to key her face. Fortunately, I failed. I had to tell myself that I wouldn’t like it if a conservative did the same thing to a poster of Obama, so I shouldn’t do that to one of their icons. I wonder if a similar thought ever occurs to any of the writers of the hate mail this site receives?

    • i’ve had those inclinations when i’ve gone into bookstores, but i won’t destroy other people’s property. however, i have been known to relocate certain books by authors i despise. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Hi Nonnie, I very much like today’s poster. “Crap Fiction – 10c” ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€
    It is the perfect lampoon of silly Miss Shithead’s new book.

  7. with economics so bad – it is amazing so many people are willing to put down ANYTHING for a book of lies and crap – and that is being talked about incessantly on cable – all you have to do is listen to Morning Asshole, NOrah O’Donnell or Fux News for an hour and you have the whole book down

    besides there is no plot and the ending is no surprise – sarah gets rich and sticks around

    sarah palin truly is the worst human walking on earth today

    • i suspect a very big percentage of those book sales were conservative groups buying them up to inflate the sales numbers. there aren’t a lot of people who are champing at the bit to read anything her ghost writer or she has to say, and the ones who are probably can’t afford to shell out for the piece of crap.

      by the way, on morning asshole, mark halperin tried to compare princess sarah to howard dean. joe squintborough cut him off and said that to compare them was an insult to howard dean’s intelligence.

  8. Okay, if it’s wrong to key a poster or deface a book jacket, what about adding to it? A booger can be scratched off without damaging the image, and if someone wants a copy that bad, a little thing like a booger should be nuthin.’
    One can even simulate boogers by adding a dab of yellow & green food coloring to some thick, clear hair gel. A little dab on one’s thumb while picking up a copy of the book could easily be smeared across her face.
    If that’s not acceptable, what about ‘accidentally’ switching the dustjackets for Going Rogue and Going Rouge?
    HAHAHAHA! I am cracking myself up here. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • don’t go to all that trouble to make boogers, zippy. a little rubber cement on your fingertips won’t even be noticed. just rub your fingers together to make the boogers (add a little lint to make it extra gross).

  9. jeb

    โ€œPeople knew thatโ€™s what she was likeโ€

    Uh yeah, maybe you a–holes could have thought that one through better in August 2008 before foisting her on the rest of us!

  10. *sigh*…When will the jealousy over her awesomeness ever end?

  11. This made me vomit. Thanks.

    • sorry, z. here’s some good advice i read today over at the big orange:

      If nausea takes hold, tear open a alcohol prep pad and sniff it — hard. Three, four whiffs and your nausea will disappear.

      Works faster and better than most meds, and with no side effects.

        Sniffing isopropyl alcohol pads reduced nausea and vomiting after three or four deep breaths. Anti-emetic medication given slow IV push takes about 10 minutes to work.

      I found this study after several months of trying to combat nausea with no health insurance or doctor. It really, really works. The best part? A box of 200 little pads cost $1.89. Take THAT Big Phrma!

      Another tip? If food isn’t appetizing, lemon sorbet seems to be the one thing sick people crave. It’s the acidity – the extra saliva it produces cleans out the mouth and feels good to sick people.

  12. Looks like she is keeping the powder dry… Here is a fun one ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And I quote –

    โ€œFor many reasons, this is by far the best book and greatest literary achievement by a political figure in my lifetime.โ€

    That’s a bold statement, it cleans, softens, and reduces static…

    • sandy!!!! ๐Ÿ˜€

      i’ve missed you!

      that’s hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜† i could only get through a few paragraphs. do you remember who john ziegler is? this might refresh your memory. john ziegler saying that princess’s book is fabulous is like glenn blechhh saying faux news is fair and balanced. ๐Ÿ™„