Sarah Palin Says She Isn't Responsible for the GOP's Loss

Sarah Palin speaks with Oprah Winfrey about the campaign, family and the future.

November 16, 2009, 11:32 AM

Nov. 16, 2009 — -- On the eve of the release of her new book, Sarah Palin reiterated in an interview with Oprah Winfrey that she's not to blame for the Republican Party's loss in the 2008 presidential election.

"I think the reason we lost is that the economy tanked under a Republican and people were very seriously looking for a change," Palin said today on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"I don't think I was to blame for losing the race more than I could have been credited for winning the race if I had done a better job."

Palin, whose book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," hits bookstores Tuesday, spoke candidly with Winfrey about the way she says she was told to act and speak during the campaign and the effect it had on her family.

Having been given flashcards to prepare her for the debates, the vice presidential candidate told Winfrey, one side of the card would have a question and the other side would have a series of "non-answers."

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

"If I were to respond to a reporter's question very candidly, very honestly … I'd be told afterwards that 'you screwed up,'" Palin said.

Palin said she liked having her clothes laid out for her during the campaign because it was "one less thing to worry about," adding, however, that there were times, particularly before her family appeared at the Republican National Convention, when she felt as though she were on the popular makeover show "What Not to Wear."

Also questioned about what she was told to eat during the campaign, Palin said she found it strange that campaign operatives talked to her about sticking to the Atkins diet at the same time the McCain-Palin numbers were tanking.

Couric Wore the 'Annoyance on Her Sleeve'

Referring to CBS' Katie Couric as "the perky one with the microphone," the former Alaska governor said she didn't' blame the U.S. public for thinking she was ill prepared for the vice presidential post after seeing her interview with Couric.

"It was supposed to be kind of a light-hearted, fun [interview]," Palin said. "If people only know me from that interview, I don't blame them for thinking I'm not qualified.

"I think that [Couric's] agenda was to not necessarily show me in the best light and not allow my mistake, my gaffe to go uncaught," said Palin, who flubbed Couric's question about which newspapers, books or magazines she read regularly.

Admitting that she had been annoyed with Couric's "badgering" and had even rolled her eyes at times, Palin, 45, said it was unprofessional of her to wear that "annoyance on her sleeve."

The first time Palin said she realized the McCain camp would control a lot of what she wanted to say was when news broke that daughter Bristol, then 17, was pregnant.

While Palin wanted to send a message that did not glamorize the issue of teen pregnancy, she said, she had little control over the final media statement, one Palin describes as suggesting that she and her husband, Todd Palin, were "giddy, happy" to become grandparents.

Palin described a call she received from Bristol, in tears and embarrassed that news of her pregnancy had become a "top news story."

Palin was reluctant to discuss Levi Johnston, the father of her now nearly 1-year-old grandson, Tripp, saying to Winfrey, "I don't think a national television show is the place to discuss [him]."

Joking that she hears Johnston goes by the name "Ricky Hollywood" now, Palins said that his preparing for a nude appearance in Playgirl magazine -- as "heartbreaking."

"He's on a road that isn't a healthy place to be," Palin said, adding that Johnston is "quite busy with his media tours and he hasn't seen the baby in awhile."

Johnston Invited to Dinner With the Palins

Pressed by Winfrey about the family's plans for Thanksgiving, Palin extended an "open invitation for Levi" to join them for the holiday.

Winfrey also addressed last year's rumors accusing her of snubbing the then-vice presidential nominee and not inviting her to be a guest on her show, a move many of her fans disapproved of at the time.

"What really happened was for the first time in my life I decided to publicly support a candidate and because of that I had made a decision to not have any of the candidates on my show during the campaign and so, for the record, Sarah Palin never asked to be on the show," Winfrey said.

At the time, Palin added, she was unaware of the controversy and had only heard about it in recent weeks. Back then, she said, Winfrey's show "wasn't the center of my universe."

Having resigned from her post as governor in July, Palin was asked by Winfrey what prompted her decision to leave office and whether it was a move calculated to pave the way for the 2012 presidential election.

"I resigned as governor of Alaska because I wasn't going to run for a second term," Palin said.

Asked why she didn't "finish what she started," Palin said, "Alaska was being hampered by my presence there."

Unwilling to entertain discussions about the 2012 election, Palin said she's only thinking about 2010, and that running for president is not on her "radar screen" right now.

"You don't need a title to make a difference," Palin said.

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