Sarah From Alaska: Election Details Uncovered in New Palin book

A new Palin book hits shelves today, with lots of juicy details on the Alaska governor's accelerated ride to the top of the GOP. In Sarah From Alaska, Scott Conroy and Shushannah Walshe, reporters from CBS and Fox, respectively, who covered her campaign, document Palin's roller-coaster rise and uncover more than a few interesting nuggets along the way. Perhaps their best score was getting their hands on a copy of the speech that Palin would have given on election night had McCain's campaign managers not barred her from doing so. Her desire to introduce McCain at the nationally televised event rankled the McCain campaign, who worried that she was trying to steal his moment or, worse, that she would go off script as she had done before and undermine the gracious tone they hoped to set. But the speech that was written for her was actually quite respectful and complaisant. Here are a few of her choice would-be lines:

  • I wish Barack Obama well as the 44th president of the United States. If he governs with the skill and grace we have often seen in him, and the greatness of which he is capable, we're going to be just fine. And when a black citizen prepares to fill the office of Washington and Lincoln that is a shining moment in our history that can be lost on no one.
  • It would be a happier night if elections were a test of valor and merit alone, but that is not for us to question now. Enough to say it has been the honor of a lifetime to fight at the side of John S. McCain.
  • I said to my husband, Todd, that it's not a step down when he's no longer Alaska's "First Dude." He will now be the first guy ever to become the "Second Dude."

Conroy and Walshe also write of Palin's desire to inject her Christianity into speeches, which McCain aides had urged her to tone down:

Palin was the kind of Christian who felt comfortable expressing her face in public, which the speech reflected: I will remember all the people who said they were praying for me. She squeezed another handwritten line in the margin: You prayer warriors have been my strength and my shield.

The authors portray election night as deeply unsatisfying for Palin—not only was she denied the opportunity to speak, but there was also no real postcampaign celebration with the McCains. Instead, Palin and her entourage accidentally ran into McCain in the parking lot as they were making a quiet exit. McCain's wife, Cindy, was already inside the Chevy suburban when Palin halted them by calling out, "John, is that you?" Conroy and Walshe explain:

The now former running mates exchanged final pat-on-the-back hugs and a muffled thank-you or two. There was no discussion about the shared experience they had just completed and no photograph to memorialize the gloomy occasion, as there had been on that buoyant day in Arizona nine weeks earlier when he had asked her to be his running mate. As some of Palin's staffers gazed at the scene, they marveled at its awkwardness. McCain was never one for overwrought sappiness, but this was a strikingly anticlimactic way to end his partnership with Palin.

Later back in their hotel suite, Todd cracked open the champagne, while Palin wondered aloud to the group that had gathered, "What just happened?" Soon she was off on her second renegade mission that evening—gathering her staff and family for an unapproved photo shoot onstage. The move infuriated McCain's senior advisers, who thought that, with all the television cameras still set up, it was Palin's last-ditch attempt to steal the spotlight from the senator. But the authors imply that Palin simply viewed it as closure, a way to mark the end of a memorable experience for her, her family, and her staff.