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Rogue rage: Team McCain strikes back at Palin

November 16, 2009 |  7:30 am

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

Arizona Sen. John McCain has been a gentleman abut the whole thing, artfully dodging questions, urging his staffers to hold their tongues too.

But for many of the top political names who worked on McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, "Going Rogue," by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is just too much to take quietly.

In the book, Palin attacks campaign manager Steve Schmidt for silencing her. She accuses communications aide Nicolle Wallace of forcing designer clothes on her and cajoling her into doing that disastrous interview with CBS' Katie Couric out of pity for the anchor's low ratings. She complains that the McCain campaign charged her $50K for her own vetting.

Schmidt calls Palin's memoir "total fiction." He added: "Why is the bald guy always the villain?"

As for the allegation about Wallace, former campaign manager Mark Salter told Politico that was unlikely.  Wallace "did not decide which interview requests the candidates would accept," Salter said. "Nor was she tasked with securing the candidates’ agreement." Wallace said the account was "totally fabricated."

As for the vetting accusation, campaign counsel Trevor Potter told the Atlantic, "I can confirm that she was not billed for any vetting costs by the campaign."

Using the book for "petty and pathetic" score-settling, said former McCain strategist John Weaver, belittles Palin's own stature.

"Sarah Palin reminds me of Jimmy Stewart in the movie 'Harvey,' complete with imaginary conversations," he said. " The score-settling by someone who wants to be considered a serious national player is petty and pathetic. The problem wasn't who her interview was with, the problem was her interview," he added.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Brian Adams / Runner's World

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