Game On: Palin Book Blitz Begins

Aides attempt to poke holes in Palin's blockbuster claims as book blitz begins.

ByKATE SNOW via logo
November 15, 2009, 4:38 PM

Nov. 16, 2009— -- Sarah Palin has a lot of people talking about her new book, "Going Rogue." But the former vice presidential candidate also has a lot of people fact-checking her claims, including a former John McCain aide who released e-mails to ABC News in an attempt to prove that some of her stories do not match reality.

In an interview with ABC News' Barbara Walters, Walters asked Palin about the anonymous McCain staffers who called her a diva and a narcissist after the campaign ended.

"For some people, this is a business," Palin said.

Watch Barbara Walters' interview with Sarah Palin Tuesday and Wednesday on "Good Morning America," Tuesday evening on "World News" and Tuesday night on "Nightline". See the full interview on "20/20" Friday at 10 p.m. ET.

"And if failure in this business was going to reflect poorly on them, they had to pack their own parachutes and protect themselves and their reputations so they wouldn't be blamed. I'll take the blame, though. At the end of the day, I know what the truth is."

Palin wrote in her book that aides did not listen to her, would yell at her and even offered to fly in a nutritionist to help with her "cognitive connections."

But some former McCain aides are fighting back.

One former staffer objected to the "embellishing" and "casual approach to the truth" in the book.

The former Alaska governor thanked the staffers she now criticizes and ended one e-mail days before election night with "I love you guys!" according to e-mail sent during the campaign and obtained Sunday by ABC News.

Another e-mail followed the prank radio phone call by a disc jockey pretending to be French President Nicholas Sarkozy. The prank ended with the announcer telling Palin, "You've been punked."

After the prank, she got a call from GOP campaign strategist-adviser Steve Schmidt "and the force of his screaming blew my hair back," according to the book.

She wrote that Schmidt yelled over the phone: "'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? As Schmidt's rant blazed on, I pictured cell towers between D.C. and Florida bursting into flame. I held the phone slightly away from my head."

But former aides insist Schmidt made no such phone call. Instead, he sent an e-mail to Palin and staffers that read, in part: "Who set this up? Are you kidding me?" and said that no radio interviews should be granted without his explicit permission again.

Palin also wrote that she was a longtime fan of "Saturday Night Live" and wanted to appear on the show. She wrote, "Let's do this,' I said. 'Let's go on and neutralize some of this, and have some fun!' Of course the idea was met with massive back and forth haggling."

But, according to an e-mail Palin wrote to staffers during the campaign, obtained by ABC News, she herself was expressing doubts.

"Still not thrilled with the idea," she said Oct. 14, 2008.

She complained about the humor against her family on the comedy program and said, "these folks are whack. … What's the upside in giving them [or] any celebrity venue a ratings boost?"

What Does John McCain Think?

Meantime, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz, hasn't had much to say publicly. But he held a conference call Friday with many of his former top aides, according to aides with knowledge of the call.

McCain essentially told them that he would prefer that they stay out of the Palin book coverage and not engage in a public debate with Palin. But he also said he understood if they needed to refute factual errors or protect their own reputations.

"He apologized to everyone on the call for people having to go through this," one aide said. "Said something like, 'You are all my dear friends. This will pass. It'll pass faster if everyone will just stay out of it.'"

The aide said McCain talked about being proud of the campaign they ran and said he had moved on.

McCain received a signed copy of Palin's book Friday. Aides said the former presidential candidate hadn't spoken with Palin in months.

Palin is drawing praise and criticism from all quarters, even from conservatives.

On "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," the roundtable debated Palin's political future.

"She's a joke. I can't take her seriously," New York Times columnist David Brooks said.

"The idea that this potential talk show host is considered seriously for the Republican nomination, believe me, it will never happen. Republican primary voters are not going to elect a talk show host."

But Gwen Ifill, moderator of "Washington Week," disagreed, saying, "as the girl at the table, I feel like I can just say you cannot underestimate the degree to which women will be drawn to her story."

To ABC News' political observer Cokie Roberts, Palin's book tour could be her way of testing the waters for a potential presidential run.

"I think she's finding out if she's running for 2012," Roberts said on "Good Morning America" today. "She's seeing how this goes, how bruised she gets."

Either way, Palin is the most visible and provocative Republican in the party.

"She is just re-entering the national scene if she turns out to be dramatically more interesting and deeper than people expected. You're dealing with a national phenomenon of the first order," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Sunday on "Meet the Press."

Coffee Talk With Hillary Clinton

Even Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seems intrigued with the buzz surrounding Palin.

Palin spent a page of her book essentially apologizing to Clinton for previously calling her a whiner. She also mentioned the possibility of having a cup of coffee with Clinton, writing, "I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues, but my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail. … [A] lot of her supporters think she proved what [former British Prime Minister] Margaret Thatcher proclaimed: "If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman."

On "This Week" Clinton said, "Well, you know, I've never met her, and I'd look forward to sit down and talk with her."

CLICK HERE to return to the "Good Morning America" Web site.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events