Sarah Palin staff lashes out at media, film: A ‘lesser man would have hanged himself by now’
By Aaron Blake,
This story has been updated.
Former Sarah Palin staff are lashing out at a new HBO movie depicting the 2008 campaign, going so far as to accuse the media of metaphorically beating her.
“Look with your own eyes at what she and her family have endured...” said former Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton. “Any lesser man would have hanged himself by now.”
Sarah Palin, the GOP candidate for vice president in 2008 and former Alaska governor, delivers the keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington earlier this month. (AP Photo/ Scott Applewhite)
Palin adviser Tim Crawford last week told The Fix that the movie “Game Change,” which is based on a book of the same name, is “fiction.”
In a conference call Wednesday, several former Palin advisers agreed.
“If the book was very misleading, the movie’s going to be far worse,” said Palin adviser Randy Scheunemann. “It gives fiction a bad name to call this fiction.”
The Palin aides repeatedly criticized the authors of the popular book, Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, for writing about Palin when they weren’t physically there covering the things that were reported in the book.
“It’s a false narrative cobbled together by a group of people who simply weren’t there,” said Palin aide Jason Recher.
“There’s only one person qualified to tell that story, and it’s her,” said another, Doug McMarlin.
But Stapleton gave the most impassioned defense, accusing the media of an “insatiable desire to beat and beat and beat” Palin.
Stapleton also accused Steve Schmidt, a top adviser for the McCain-Palin ticket in 2008, of exacting revenge on Palin.
“Schmidt is infamous for lining up and destroy,” Stapleton said. “He is abusive, he is abrasive, and he is nothing short of a world-class bully.”
Scheunemann added: “I think it’s pretty clear that he’s at the heart of this.”
In response, Schmidt said he has seen the film and that it is accurate.
“The movie was, for me, a powerful rendering of an extremely intense experience that I went through, and I think the movie shows Sarah Palin in all of her complexities – a person of great talent and great strength on the one hand, but also a person who wasn’t prepared for the job she was nominated for,” Schmidt told The Fix. “The movie explains how that happened and why that happened.”
None of Palin’s staff said that they had actually seen the movie, but said they were basing their reactions on the trailers for the film and what was contained in the book.
“Looking at the trailers alone gets my blood boiling,” Stapleton said, referring to a clip from the trailer of Palin’s character lying on the floor of a bathroom in the fetal position.
The HBO version of “Game Change” debuts March 10.