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Joe McGinniss tells his side of the story about becoming Sarah Palin's neighbor
"He talked for a few more minutes beyond that, and he got, I'd say, increasingly hostile. And then he left, and I was still out here on this deck, where I'm sitting right now, when they took that picture for Facebook."
After Sarah Palin posted that photo Tuesday and wrote about McGinniss, radio host Mark Levin gave out the author's e-mail address and McGinniss got 5,000 messages in four hours, eventually shutting down the account. Wasilla police and state troopers are keeping a watchful eye on the place.
"The mayor said to me, when I chatted with him in his office a couple of days ago," McGinniss said. " 'You know, if Sarah had the brains that we like to think she has, Todd would have come back and said, do you know who's living next door? This son of a bitch McGinniss who wrote that Portfolio piece. He's writing a book about you. Sarah should have baked a plate of cookies, and come around the fence, and said hi, and laughed about this.' I would have happily accepted a cookie, and then in my book I would have had a lovely scene about how gracious she had been." He sighed. "She is, in many ways, a very gracious person."
McGinniss said he was offended by the way Palin described his presence next door. Contrary to what Palin wrote on Facebook, he said, he can't see into the windows of the family's home, and he can't hear the Palins' conversations.
Palin intimated that McGinniss could watch the family when it went swimming, but he said that only the edge of their land near the lake was visible from his property. He said he was deeply offended by the implication, not thinly veiled in Palin's note and subsequent interview with Beck, that he would be peering in on the children.
"These little kids, I couldn't care less about them," McGinniss said. "I have my own kids and grandkids to care about."
McGinniss added that he had been a responsible neighbor, shooing off a pair of Minnesota tourists who stepped onto his property to take photos of the Palins' home.
"Look, this is a pain in the ass for them," he said. "I understand that. If I were her, I'd be upset. I'd be annoyed. But I'd be an adult about it, and I would figure out, okay, how can we resolve this in a way that's not going to make this into something that everybody gets obsessive about? By being here, I have learned things, and I've gotten an insight into her character, into her ability to incite hatred, that before I only knew about in the abstract."