After weeks of hype, the baby finally arrived, weighing in at 413 pages with six chapters and one photo of a skinned harbor seal. No sooner had it appeared in bookstores Tuesday than Going Rogue jumped to the No. 1 sales rank on Amazon—and threatened to eclipse coverage of President Obama’s Asia trip. While bits and pieces leaked out during the days before the book’s official release, The Daily Beast dug up some of the juiciest new tidbits overlooked by the leakers.
Todd Kisses and Tells
Sarah Palin describes her first kiss with Todd, riding shotgun in his Mustang during her senior year of high school:
“On the drive home in his Mustang, he tried to kiss me for the first time. But the truth was, I was a never-really-been-kissed nerd. As soon as Todd hit my driveway, I jumped out of the car, scared to death that this suave worldly guy that I was crazy about would find out what a wallflower I was. The next day, my sheltered world felt shattered when he told the boys in the locker room… that I didn’t even know how to kiss….My young, crushed spirit learned a lesson about guys that day: Even the good ones can act like jerks.”
Enemies Big and Small
Palin has harsh words for many national figures, named and unnamed. John Kerry is an “elitist loon.” Actress Ashley Judd, who campaigned against the aerial slaughter of wolves, is “a perky, pretty celebrity” with “asinine plans.” Todd Purdum, who wrote a long profile of Palin for Vanity Fair, is “hostile.”
But what’s more surprising than Palin’s attacks on journalist bigfoots and Hollywood celebrities is the disdain she felt for local officials from her earliest days in Alaska politics. Her first legislative director when she was elected governor of Alaska was a “doozy.” She writes:
“He turned out to be a BlackBerry games addict who couldn’t seem to keep his lunch off his tie. He relished the perception that he was a ‘player’ in Juneau politics, but we were never sure which team he was on.”
Palin slams a onetime Republican rival as “a wealthy, effete young chap” whose local radio show and blogging were “major steps up from a previous job as our limo driver at Todd’s cousin’s wedding.”
Palin’s Campaign Soundtrack
Palin passed the time on long campaign road trips listening to Big & Rich, Martina McBride, and Travis Tritt. She calls Hank Williams Jr., the rocker of Monday Night Football fame, a “well-known patriot.” Kid Rock, a former drug dealer who introduced the world to the phrase, “Bawitdaba da dang diggy diggy said the boogy said up jump the boogy,” is described as “very pro-America and has common-sense ideas.” On one Alaska road trip, Palin remembers driving “to the sound of the Black Eyed Peas and an old LL Cool J remix we found in the glove box.” A few years later, Will.I.Am of Black Eyed Peas would record a hit song for Obama, “Yes We Can,” viewed by millions. LL Cool J played at an inauguration ball, celebrating Palin’s opponent.
Bristol’s Maternal Instincts
Palin describes the news of her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy as “shocking.” Nonetheless, she saw years earlier that her eldest daughter had the motherly itch.
“As she grew she manifested her little mama’s heart by nurturing her siblings and cousins and always begging to babysit,” Palin writes. “One evening just before she turned eight… I was lying next to her reading when she rolled over and screwed her eyes down into a commanding state. ‘You,’ she decreed, ‘are going to rent me a baby for my birthday!’”
Early SNL Fan
Palin’s appearance on Saturday Night Live may have been one of the most surreal moments of the campaign. And Tina Fey’s impersonation of Palin was the breakout hit of the show’s 2008 season. But Palin has been a longtime fan of the program, weathering the freezing cold of her childhood TV den—it was built over the garage—to watch the show:
“In our teen years, if we stayed awake long enough, we’d sneak upstairs and watch Saturday Night Live . Having grown up in a house where ‘butt’ was a bad word and we had to say ‘bottom,’ we assumed we had to sneak. It wasn’t until years later that we learned our parents got a kick out of SNL ’s political humor, too.”
It leaked early that Palin praised the independent senator in her book, but she lays it on pretty thick right at a moment when Lieberman is drifting away from Democrats yet again:
“There was a bright spot in Philly and his name was Joe Lieberman.”
Later she writes, recounting his advice:
“'God is going to see you through this,’ Senator Lieberman said. ‘Just put your faith in Him and let Him take care of it.’ Then he repeated our mutual friend John's words of wisdom: 'Just have fun!' It was so heartfelt, so genuine, so sincere.”
The Obama Conspiracy
Palin suggests that Rahm Emanuel might have been behind her troubles as governor after the election and even names one chapter “The Thumpin'” after a book on his handling of the 2006 midterm elections. Amazingly, she suggests that Obama had a hand in the Troopergate investigation, which began before she was selected as the vice-presidential nominee, before Emanuel was part of Obama's team—and at a time when, by her own description, Palin was largely ignored by the national press:
“The RGA told us that Alaska was being given the 'Chicago treatment.' Their arguments fit the bill. Those who have seen this before traced the ethics attack back to the period when I was being vetted for the vice-presidential slot and also linked them to the partisan investigation known in the media as 'Troopergate.' Walter Monegan knew that I was well within my rights to remove him, and in normal times it would have been a nonissue. But a few days later, the troopers' union and a group of Democrats with close ties to a senior adviser to the Obama campaign, Pete Rouse, then Senator Obama's chief of staff, were demanding an investigation.”
The Nicolle Wallace Conspiracy
Palin doesn't directly accuse McCain aide Nicolle Wallace of leaking damaging items about her to the press, but she comes close. She said she had heard that campaign staffers had planted attacks on her with the traveling press that were embargoed until after the election. Then she goes on to describe the last words she and Wallace shared as the campaign wound down:
“Then Nicolle said, 'I think you should know that for the next few days it's going to get really nasty. Negative stories in the press. You should just be ready, that's always how it goes. Hang on to your hat!'
That made no sense to Todd—why would anything 'get nasty?' And how could anyone know what would be coming in the media?
But the Wallaces waved goodbye and that was that.”
Sarah Palin's “Nuanced” Creationism
When it comes to creationism or, as Sarah Palin calls it, “the C-word,” the ex-governor says her position is “nuanced.” Basically, she's a creationist but also believes in “microevolution,” minor changes within species over time—a view that appeals to a range of fundamentalists. She recounts how she explained her position to McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt:
"He knew my position: I believed in the evidence for microevolution—that geologic and species change occurs incrementally over time. But I didn't believe in the theory that human beings— –thinking, loving beings—originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea. Or that human beings began as single-celled organisms that developed into monkeys who eventually swung down from trees; I believed we came about through a random process, but were created by God.”
Sarah Palin has apparently been catching up on her Ayn Rand; at one point she tells her daughter she should abandon plans to start up a coffee shop with a friend:
“The more I heard about the new Democrat administration's economic philosophies, the more I feared for the future of free enterprise. Now, I put a finer point on my advice to Bristol on opening a business: 'In fact, don't do this until this administration understands government's role in private business. Or wait until they're out of office.'”
Benjamin Sarlin is a reporter for The Daily Beast. He previously covered New York City politics for The New York Sun and has worked for talkingpointsmemo.com.
Samuel P. Jacobs is a staff reporter at The Daily Beast. He has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Observer, and The New Republic Online.