11.03.09

Sarah Palin's Lost Speeches

The Daily Beast has obtained the speeches Sarah Palin planned to deliver on Election Night 2008—win or lose. Read the words the McCain camp didn’t want her to say.

One year ago Wednesday, the McCain/Palin ticket suffered a resounding electoral defeat. But for Sarah Palin, it was still only the beginning of her reign as the most talked about Republican in America—a title she can rightfully claim to this day, as her very name continues to elicit emotions ranging from abhorrence to adoration.

In Sarah from Alaska we uncover new stories and insights into Palin’s ascent from Wasilla to the governor’s mansion and bring to light how her unhappy return to Alaska led to her abrupt resignation in July. In addition, we go behind the scenes of Palin’s 2008 vice presidential run, where we illustrate how internal tensions led to an all-out civil war on election night in Phoenix. We reveal the minute by minute details of how Palin turned her back on top campaign staffers and fought behind the scenes to deliver a concession speech that had been written for her in advance. John McCain and his senior aides blocked her from doing so, leading to a dramatic showdown between the candidates and their staffs that has remained untold until now.

“Now it is time for us go our way, neither bitter nor vanquished, but instead confident in the knowledge that there will be another day… and we may gather once more… and find new strength… and rise to fight again.”

We present exclusively the concession speech that speechwriter Matthew Scully—a Palin loyalist—had written for the vice presidential nominee, as well as the victory speech that he penned for her in the event of a positive outcome. On election night, senior McCain aides had to tell Palin several times that she would not be allowed to speak before the Alaska governor finally relented.

The clash between the McCain and Palin camps became so heated, we reveal, that McCain’s aides literally turned the lights out on Palin when she retook the stage later that night to take pictures with her family, fearing that she would give the concession speech after all.

Best Lines from Palin’s Undelivered Victory Speech:

  • “And I said to my husband Todd that it’s not a step down when he’s no longer Alaska’s ‘First Dude.’ He will now be the first guy ever to become the ‘Second Dude.’”
  • “Had it gone the other way tonight, we would not have returned in sorrow to the great State of Alaska. We would have carried with us memories that are forever, and joyful experiences that do not depend on victory.”
  • “This is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line.”

Best Lines from Palin’s Undelivered Concession Speech:

  • “If [Obama] governs America with the skill and grace we have often seen in him, and the greatness of which he is capable, we’re gonna be just fine.”
  • “Now it is time for us go our way, neither bitter nor vanquished, but instead confident in the knowledge that there will be another day.”
  • “It would be a happier night if elections were a test of valor and merit alone, but that is not for us to question now.”
  • “I told my husband Todd to look at the upside: Now, at least, he can clear his schedule, and get ready for championship title number five in the Iron Dog snow machine race!”

Read Sarah Palin’s election night victory and concession speeches, reprinted for the first time exactly as written:

VICTORY SPEECH

Thank you all so much. And thank you, America, for the great responsibility that you have given to President-elect John S. McCain.

book-cover---sarah-from-alaska
Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. By Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe. 320 pages. PublicAffairs. $26.95. ()

It’s been just 68 days since that afternoon in Dayton, Ohio, when Senator McCain introduced me as his running mate. He is truly the maverick. He took a chance on me. I will always be grateful for that. It will be the honor of a lifetime to work him as vice president of the United States. And I pledge to govern with integrity, and goodwill, and clear conviction, and a servant’s heart.

My fellow Americans, tens of millions of you shared our convictions and gave us your votes. And I thank you for your confidence. We were facing tough odds and formidable opponents.

It’s not always easy in politics to see the best in our opponents. But we have seen the grace and skill of Barack Obama, and the grit and determination of Joe Biden. By his nomination and extraordinary campaign, Barack Obama has achieved a great thing, for himself and for our country, and for that America will always honor him. I say God bless you, Senator Obama, and your beautiful family.

# # #

As for my own family, well, it’s been quite a journey these past 69 days. We were ready, in defeat, to return to a place and a life we love. And I said to my husband Todd that it’s not a step down when he’s no longer Alaska’s “First Dude.” He will now be the first guy ever to become the “Second Dude.”

Along the way in this campaign, it was Todd, as always, who helped with the children, gave me advice, and kept me strong. There are a lot of men in this world could learn a few things from Todd Palin, and I am so lucky that he is still my guy. And my luck began long before then, in having parents like Chuck and Sally Heath…and then blending into an accepting, loyal, fun, and diverse family.

Had it gone the other way tonight, we would not have returned in sorrow to the great State of Alaska. We would have carried with us memories that are forever, and joyful experiences that do not depend on victory.

I will remember all the young girls who came up to me to our rallies, sometimes taking off from school, just to see only the second women ever nominated by a major party in a national election. They know that in America there should be no ceilings on achievement, glass or otherwise. And if I have helped point the way for these young women, or inspire them to use their own gifts and find their own opportunities, it has been a privilege.

I will remember all the people who said they were praying for me—you prayer warriors have been my strength and my shield. I will remember all the Blue Star Moms, and the special bond we share…all the veterans of war and former POW’s I had the honor of meeting. I will remember the working people of this country who put their faith in us…the folks who run our factories, grow our food, teach our children, and fight our wars… men and women like the construction worker and new American citizen who said at one of our rallies: “I was born in Columbia, but I was made in the USA.”

And for their example and their love, I will remember with gratitude all the families with special needs children. How could I ever forget the sight of a banner held up high to say “We Are Here For Trig”? How could I ever forget a boy like Charlie, a fine young man we met at a rally in Florida who has Down Syndrome? Charlie and I swapped email addresses, and the last time he replied he said, “By the way, please don’t call me ‘darlin’—it’s not tough enough.” So, tonight, a special shout-out to you, Chuck…darlin’. And let me repeat what I told you, because it applies to you and to all children and adults with special needs across America: You are beautiful, and I am so proud to know that my boy Trig will grow up to be just like you.

And I promise you: These next four years, families with special needs—and every family in America—can know that they have a friend and advocate in the White House.

# # #

In this campaign, we held to the belief that our country is still that “shining city on a hill” that Ronald Reagan spoke of so many years ago. And tonight, we have chosen a man ready and worthy to lead such a country.

This is a moment when principles and political independence matter a lot more than just the party line. And tonight, we have elected a man who can bring us together, because he always puts his country first. America, he has always fought for you.

This is a moment when great causes can be won and great threats overcome. And we have chosen a man who will rise to the moment, as he has done before, with clarity and resolve.

In this campaign, I’ve had the rare enough privilege of praising a candidate whose story, character, and personal heroism require no embellishment. I said things about him—about how he has served and what he has overcome—that he could not say about himself, because he is that kind of man. He has faced long odds before, but he has never quit, never relented, and tonight America rewarded a lifetime of service, honor, and valor.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have the distinct privilege of being the first to introduce him as the President-elect of United States of America—John S. McCain.

CONCESSION SPEECH

Thank you all so much. It’s been just 68 days since that afternoon in Dayton, Ohio, when Senator McCain introduced me as his running mate. And at the time, for me, it felt that such a moment could never be matched…that I would never again feel so proud to have been chosen. But it turns out I was mistaken. Tonight, in hard and honorable defeat, I am more proud than ever to be the running mate and friend of a great man, Senator John McCain.

My fellow Americans, tens of millions of you shared our convictions and gave us your votes. And I thank you for your confidence. For us, it was not our time… not our moment. But it is our country… the winner will be our president… and I wish Barack Obama well as the 44th president of the United States.

If he governs America with the skill and grace we have often seen in him, and the greatness of which he is capable, we’re gonna be just fine. And when a black citizen prepares to fill the office of Washington and Lincoln, that is a shining moment in our history that can be lost on no one. Barack Obama has achieved a great thing, for himself and for our country, and I congratulate him. God bless you and your beautiful family, President-Elect Obama.

I spoke this evening to the gentlemen from Delaware. And let me again congratulate this good man and his fine family on a wonderful moment in their lives. I wish Joe Biden only the best as our 47th vice president.

As for my own family, well, it’s been quite a journey these past 69 days. And we are ready to return to a place and a life we love. I told my husband Todd to look at the upside: Now, at least, he can clear his schedule, and get ready for championship title number five in the Iron Dog snow machine race! Along the way in this campaign, it was Todd, as always, who helped with the children, gave me advice, and kept me strong. There are a lot of men in this world could learn a few things from Todd Palin. And I am so lucky that after a couple of decades, five kids, and a presidential campaign, he is still my guy.

Among Todd’s many winning qualities are the gift of optimism and thankfulness in all situations. And I suppose I’ll be counting on those qualities a little more than usual in the days to come. But far from returning to the great State of Alaska with any sense of sorrow, we will carry with us the best of memories… and joyful experiences that do not depend on victory.

I will remember all the young girls who came up to me to our rallies, sometimes taking off from school, just to see only the second women ever nominated by a major party in a national election. They know that in America there should be no ceilings on achievement, glass or otherwise. And if I could help point the way for these young women, or inspire them to use their own gifts and find their own opportunities, it was a privilege.

I will remember all the people who said they were praying for me—you prayer warriors have been my strength and my shield. I will remember all the Blue Star Moms, and the special bond we share with our loved ones at war, fighting for all of us. I will remember all the veterans of war and former POW’s I had the honor of meeting. I will remember the working people of this country who put their faith in us… the folks who run our factories, grow our food, teach our children, and fight our wars… men and women like the construction worker and new American citizen who said at one of our rallies: “I was born in Columbia, but I was made in the USA.”

And for their example and their love, I will remember with gratitude all the families with special needs children. How could I ever forget the sight of a banner held up high to say “We Are Here For Trig”? How could I ever forget a boy like Charlie, a fine young man we met at a rally in Florida who has Down Syndrome? Charlie and I swapped email addresses, and the last time he replied he said, “By the way, please don’t call me ‘darlin’—it’s not tough enough.” So tonight, a special shout-out to you, Chuck… darlin’. And let me repeat what I told you, because it applies to you and to all children and adults with special needs across America: You are beautiful, and I am so proud to know that my boy Trig will grow up to be just like you… it’s time America shows you her good heart.

Above all, I am grateful to the man who took a chance on me. From that moment to this, I have had the rare enough privilege in politics of praising a candidate whose story, character, and personal heroism required no embellishment. I said things about him—about how valiantly he has served and what he has overcome—things he could not say about himself, because he is that kind of man. It would be a happier night if elections were a test of valor and merit alone, but that is not for us to question now. Enough to say it has been the honor of a lifetime to fight at the side of John S. McCain.

To the Senator, Cindy, and your amazing family—thank you. I honor you. I love you.

America has made her choice. As for me, my convictions, my loyalties, and my hopes for this country remain the same. Now it is time for us go our way, neither bitter nor vanquished, but instead confident in the knowledge that there will be another day… and we may gather once more… and find new strength… and rise to fight again. Thank you all. May God protect, guide, and bless America!

Shushannah Walshe was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.

Scott Conroy has worked as a campaign reporter and is currently a digital journalist for CBS News.