11.14.09

Top 15 Palin Book Leaks

Copies of Sarah Palin's new book, Going Rogue, are already floating around newsrooms—but what are the biggest bombshells revealed so far?

1. Sarah Palin Pushed to Go After Jeremiah Wright

Palin reportedly writes that she was "told to sit down and shut up" after she brought up Barack Obama's ties to what she considered "questionable characters," most notably "Obama's pastor of 20 years, Jeremiah 'God Damn America' Wright." "I will forever question the campaign for prohibiting discussion of such association," she writes. "All the more since these telltale signs of Obama's views, carefully concealed with centrist campaign-speak, have now been brought into the light by his appointments and actions in office."

2. Steve Schmidt Cursed Around Kids

No one on the McCain team gets it worse than campaign manager Steve Schmidt, according to the early reports. Among her many grievances, Palin says Schmidt cursed around her children, telling her that vice-presidential debate moderator Gwen Ifill was "going to f--- with you." "I'm thinking," writes Palin, "Why are you telling me this? Last minute... what's the point? And no more f-bombs around Piper, please?"

3. No Levi Bashing

Although she doesn’t hold back on McCain aides Nicolle Wallace and Steve Schmidt, Palin reportedly steps gingerly around Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson. Johnston, who recently agreed to pose for Playgirl, gets no mention in the book. The Alaskan hockey player has claimed Palin is afraid to take him on because he's got dirt on her from his time with the family.

4. Her Diet Was an Issue

According to Palin, even her eating habits were a cause of concern for the McCain campaign. The Huffington Post reports that Palin writes about Steve Schmidt ordering Palin to use a staff nutritionist, telling her "You gotta get off that Atkins Diet." Palin takes a potshot back in the book, mentioning Schmidt's "rotund physique."

From a purported excerpt:

"I'm not on the Atkins Diet, Steve."

"Don't you know what a high-protein diet does?" he asked, ignoring what I had just said. He then launched into a discussion of nutrition physiology, holding forth on the importance of carbohydrates to cognitive connections and blah-blah-blah. As he lectured, I took in his rotund physique and noted that he used nicotine to keep his own cognitive connections humming along.

I interrupted his lecture. "Steve, you know what I really need? Half an hour to go for a run in these beautiful cities we're visiting. Also, seeing my kids does wonders for my soul."

Samuel P. Jacobs: The Missing Pages in Palin’s Book 5. Palin Not Allowed to Talk to Her Favorite Reporters

Sarah Palin's interviews with Katie Couric and Charlie Gibson all but destroyed her candidacy, but the ex-VP nominee bitterly complains about being barred from talking to the press more by the campaign. According to The Wall Street Journal, aides stopped her from speaking even briefly to friendly Alaskan reporters, even if they asked questions like “How do you feel? What is it like? What’s your message to Alaskans?” Palin writes: “Not allowed...Too dangerous. The national media might pick up the interview.”

6. Shopping Spree Forced on Her

Palin reportedly takes on allegations she spent upward of $150,000 of Republican money on designer clothes by claiming the campaign made her feel like a bumpkin and all but forced her to take the new duds. "I had a humbling experience while we were back in Wasilla for the Charlie Gibson interview in September," she writes, according to the Huffington Post. "While the crews turned my kitchen into a television studio, I took [McCain aide Nicolle Wallace] into my bedroom and showed her what I thought I should pack for the trail. She flipped through my wardrobe with a raised eyebrow." "No... no... no...," she said as she slid each garment aside on its hanger," Palin writes.

7. Katie Couric Interview Done Out of Pity

According to an excerpt obtained by Drudge Report, Sarah Palin only agreed to her disastrous Katie Couric interview because Nicolle Wallace convinced her that the CBS anchor was suffering from low self-esteem and needed a friendly boost:

Nicolle had left her gig at CBS just a few months earlier to hook up with the McCain campaign. I had to trust her experience, as she had dealt with national politics more than I had. But something always struck me as peculiar about the way she recalled her days in the White House, when she was speaking on behalf of President George W. Bush. She didn't have much to say that was positive about her former boss or the job in general. Whenever I wanted to give a shout-out to the White House’s homeland-security efforts after 9/11, we were told we couldn’t do it. I didn’t know if that was Nicolle’s call.

Nicolle went on to explain that Katie really needed a career boost. “She just has such low self-esteem,” Nicolle said. She added that Katie was going through a tough time. “She just feels she can’t trust anybody.”

8. Prank Call Astounded McCain Staff

In one of the most surreal of many campaign trail incidents, Sarah Palin answered a prank phone call from radio hosts pretending to be French President Nicolas Sarkozy. By Palin's account, she thought Sarkozy was "drunk," but took the call out of politeness. From the Huffington Post's excerpt:

He's got to be drunk, I thought.

I didn't want to offend the president of France, but this was getting stupid. I kept thinking, surely, someone will pop up and say something like, "OK, the five minutes are up," but the call just went on and on and on. By now, I was thinking exit strategy. And I kept trying to laugh, even though it was increasingly unfunny.

Right away, the phones started ringing. One of the first calls was Schmidt, and the force of his screaming blew my hair back. "How can anyone be so stupid?! Why would the president of France call a vice-presidential candidate a few days out?!"

Good question, I thought. Weren't you the ones who set this up?"

9. Palin Set Up By Media

It's no secret that Palin became easy fodder for media and entertainment outlets during her campaign. In her book, she exhibits pronounced paranoia that the Fourth Estate had collaborated in one giant conspiracy against her. When local Alaskan television channel KTUU shot a segment with Palin about the state of the local economy, an "odd camera angle" captured her with a turkey being maimed and decapitated in the background. Palin accuses the station of setting her up in "a deliberate move to make some noise." In another incident, Palin obliged an Associated Press reporter’s request to have her advisers attend a press conference with her, only to realize they'd "been had" when the story came out stating that Palin had to rely on her commissioners and notes. There's no love lost between the failed vice presidential candidate and the mainstream media, which Palin calls "worthless as a source of factual information.”

10. More (Secondhand) Schmidt Bashing

Noticing a pattern? Palin uses a secondhand account by McCain adviser Randy Scheunemann to go after Schmidt for allegedly blaming her behavior on postpartum depression:

To this day, Randyever the gentlemanwon't tell me everything that was said about the B Team. But a couple of examples tell the story. "They're screwing up,”' Schmidt told Randy one day in Schmidt's office. "And the governor's not doing serious homework." Schmidt told Randy he thought I might be suffering from postpartum depression...

Randy laid out a very simple case: "Picking a running mate was John's most important decision, and being loyal to John means being loyal to his pick. That makes what's going on absolutely atrocious!"

Schmidt started in again, telling Randy what an awful pick I was—the "postpartum" problems, the wardrobe "scandal," "legal exposure" for Todd on Troopergate, whatever he meant by that.

11. Palin Reveals Her Dirty Little Secret

According to the Huffington Post, Palin’s memoir reveals a deep dark secret that she refers to as: "the one skeleton [she'd] kept hidden in [her] closet for the past 22 years." What sin could the squeaky clean former governor possibly be hiding? Palin reportedly received a “D” in one of her college courses, a revelation that, unsurprisingly, did not make campaign manager Steve Schmidt “bat an eye.”

12. Creationism Makes for Awkward Conversation

Palin’s quarrels with campaign manager Steve Schmidt weren’t limited to wardrobe and diet choices. Apparently the VP candidate’s views on evolution made for a heated discussion. MSNBC says that the memoir summarizes a campaign meeting between the two in which Schmidt balked at her belief in creationism. She writes:

“But your dad’s a science teacher,” Schmidt objected. “Yes.” “Then you know science proves evolution,” added Schmidt. I said, “But I believe that God created us and also that He can create an evolutionary process that allows species to change and adopt.” Schmidt winced and raised his eyebrows. In the dim light, his sunglasses shifted atop his ear. I had just dared to the mention the C-word: creationism. But I felt I was on solid factual ground.

13. Upcoming Coffee Summit with Clinton?

Apparently, Sarah Palin feels a kinship with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in spite of their political differences. According to MSNBC, an excerpt from Going Rogue purportedly states: “Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues, but my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail.” Palin also reportedly raises her glass to the two women’s bond as female politicians: “Compared to the guys she squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed, ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’” For her part, Clinton would welcome a friendly debate with Palin. She told Meet the Press on Sunday that she “Absolutely would look forward to having coffee… I’ve never met her. I think it would be very interesting to sit down and talk with her. I’m ready to have a cup of coffee, and maybe I can make a case on some of those issues we disagree on.”

14. Vendettas Against Oliver Stone and Alec Baldwin

Apparently Palin is willing to stand up for America, even if it means dissing Hollywood’s elite. Going Rogue reportedly includes an explanation of Palin’s decision not to shake director Oliver Stone’s hand during a taping of Saturday Night Live, the result of her disapproval of his leftist beliefs and his support of communist dictator Hugo Chavez. “During all this, the writers, the producers, and the campaign continued to hammer out the script," Palin writes. "Josh Brolin, Mark Wahlberg, and the singer Adele were also on the show that night, as was director Oliver Stone, who made a cameo appearance. Unbelievably, he is a supporter of communist dictator Hugo Chavez, who in a 2006 speech to the United Nations referred to the president of the United States as 'the devil himself.' I did not shake Stone's hand."

Palin also takes aim at Alec Baldwin for his progressive political beliefs, and claims SNL producers didn’t let her “dish it out” to Baldwin when she was on the show. The Huffington Post says Palin writes:

Alec Baldwin also guested on the show that evening. The bigwigs haggled back and forth over my appearance with Alec, the writers sending down some lines where Alec was basically supposed to perform a comic dissection on me. Then I was supposed to passively take his arm and stroll offstage.

From a political messaging standpoint, the campaign could see that wasn't going to work. We put our heads together and sent the producers a counteroffer: Alec would still get his barbs in, then I would say, "Hey Baldwin, weren't you supposed to leave the country after the last election?"

Uh... no, producers said.

We tried another idea. It happened that I had recently talked with Alec's brother, Stephen, at a GOP fundraiser. So we sent back another counteroffer based on my actual conversation with Stephen. "Hey, Alec," the proposed line went, "I saw Stephen at a fundraiser last week and asked him when he was going to knock some sense into you."

Uh... no.

What's that line about being able to dish it out?

15. She Really, Really Loves Meat

You won’t find veggie burgers in the Palin household. In a Huffington Post excerpt from her memoir she describes her carnivorous urges:

If any vegans came over for dinner, I could whip them up a salad, then explain my philosophy on being a carnivore: If God had not intended for us to eat animals, how come He made them out of meat? I love meat. I eat pork chops, thick bacon burgers, and the seared fatty edges of a medium-well-done steak. But I especially love moose and caribou. I always remind people from outside our state that there's plenty of room for all Alaska's animals—right next to the mashed potatoes.

The Fallout: Schmidt Strikes Back

Forget campaign wars—the beef between McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt and Sarah Palin is just getting started. Schmidt has spoken out in defense of Palin’s allegations against him in Going Rogue, and told the Huffington Post that her accusations against the McCain camp are “total fiction.” "Why are they always picking on the bald guy?" he joked, in response to Palin’s description of him as “grim-faced” and “rotund,” among other insults. McCain staffers Mark Salter and Nicolle Wallace have also spoken out about the book, and an unnamed aide who “liked Palin’s personality” has deemed her words for the McCain party “blatantly and absolutely inaccurate.”