Sarah Palin In A Nutshell: Going Rogue: Book Review: The First Debate With Joe Biden.Mark and Nicolle Wallace Are Blamed For Sabotaging Her Campaign.
She prepared intensively for her first debate with Senator Joe Biden to be held in St. Louis. After a campaign stop in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, they holed up in a hotel in that city for preparation for her debate with Biden. She notes she “loves” the people of Philadelphia however there were many hateful demonstrators on the route to the hotel. Some were wearing t-shirts with foul epithets about her that were seen by her children.
Mark Wallace led the preparation team in Philadelphia and she says he was mysteriously guided by “Campaign Headquarters” out of Washington. Who comprised headquarters was unknown to her.
She really doesn’t like the Wallace’s, Mark and Nicolle. She says she was sequestered in a hotel, the curtains drawn tight, with a debate prep team led by Wallace. She was in a hostile city with protesters on the streets and she was blocked from fresh air, sunshine, running, her preferred exercise and a prep team she had no confidence in. It appears that the initial prep team had little confidence in her.
She criticizes the prep team for giving her flash cards with questions on one side and suggested answers on the other side. The answers did not seem to relate to the questions. She asked about this but was told you don’t have to answer the question with an exact or even a responsive answer. (The inference here is that the team led by Mark Wallace thought she was incapable of debating the experienced Biden, particularly on foreign policy, his area of expertise in the Senate.)
Then the news came that PBS’s Gwen Ifill had been chosen to be moderator. She was a former N.Y Times reporter and perceived to be an Obama supporter. Steve Schmidt was convinced Ifill would not be impartial. (It turned out that she was impartial.)
Finally Joe Lieberman came and offered his counsel which she agreed with. He told her “Don’t let these people try to change you. Don’t let them tell you what to say or think.”
The situation in Philadelphia deteriorated to the point that the debate team wanted to fly in a nutritionist to improve her diet and thus improve her mentation because they felt she was on the Atkin’s Diet. This idea arose because she ate Atkin’s bars for snacks. However she said the problem was she couldn’t do her daily run and the ineptitude of the prep team. (Possibly they were trying to dumb things down for her and she was insulted by this tactic.)
Finally Cindy McCain invited the debate prep team to her ranch in Arizona. The fresh air, her ability to run with no hostile protesters as in Philadelphia along with a new “ace” debate prep leader, Randy Scheunemann, turned the situation around. Scheunemann a spent a lot of time on foreign policy and national security issues, Biden’s perceived strengths.
She points out that Biden had voted against The Trans- Alaska Pipeline which turned out, in her estimation, as an overwhelming success. (This is true if you exclude the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Prince William Sound as a part of the pipeline.) The points she wanted to make were that the McCain-Palin ticket was for free market principles to get the economy going again and not government bailouts or government growth and more regulation. She also wanted to focus on military strength and support for our Allies, particularly Israel.
She had two full scale debate preps with a moderator and Randy taking the Biden part. Her preparation went well in the fresh air and warm sun of Arizona. Randy Schneunemann is extolled as the man that got her ready for the debate. A crucial point in the campaign.
Randy counseled her to ask Joe Biden if she could call him Joe because she frequently misspoke his name by saying O’Biden during the prep meetings. This was supposed to take place off camera but it happened on camera by accident she wants us to believe.
The debate took place at Washington University in St. Louis. Gwen Ifill conducted it from a wheel chair as she had broken her ankle the day before.
The debate went smoothly from the campaign’s point of view. (The polls gave a slight edge to Biden.) However it was not the disaster some had predicted and she had negotiated that hurdle and maintained her credibility as a vice presidential candidate.
The following morning she learned through a reporter that the campaign had pulled out of Michigan. She answered she ” wished we weren’t pulling out of Michigan and that every vote mattered and that she first learned about it in a newspaper article” not from the campaign staff. This gave the impression the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing campaign wise and also gave rise to the charge she was off script or “going rogue.” Nicolle began calling her tour bus the “pirate ship.” This is also an inference the Wallace’s didn’t keep her informed and then enhanced the going “off script” charge by calling the tour bus a pirate ship or rogue element . Thus creating another sore point between herself, her handlers and Steve Schmidt the captain of the ship.