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Palin Aides Strike Back at ‘Game Change’ Movie in Conference Call with Media

Posted by Dr. Fay on February 23, 2012

In a show of support for Governor Palin, several of her former and current aides engaged in a conference call with CNN reporters yesterday regarding  the HBO movie that Governor Palin has termed a “false narrative.”

Becky Bohrer of the Associated Press wrote:

Current and former aides to Sarah Palin lashed out Wednesday at HBO’s “Game Change,” describing the upcoming film’s depictions of her on the 2008 campaign trail as “sick” and inaccurate.

None of the aides said they have yet seen the movie, which debuts March 10, and some said they had asked for an opportunity to screen the film but had been denied.


Aides said none of that jibes with their own experiences with the former Alaska governor, and they defended her vigorously Wednesday.

Jason Recher, who handled vice presidential road operations for the McCain-Palin campaign, called Palin “one of the most engaged public servants I’d ever observed.” Tom Van Flein, her former personal attorney, called her diligent, sharp and enthusiastic about the campaign.

Meg Stapleton, a former spokeswoman, said that she, unlike some of the others who worked with Palin during the campaign, had not been contacted by anyone associated with either the book or movie.

“They don’t want to hear anything good,” she said, her voice full of passion. “We all know Palin sells and the dramatization of Palin sells even more. This is sick.”

“They mock Gov. Palin, you mock Gov. Palin, as weak and unable to cope and press forward,” she told reporters on the conference call. “And the movie and the trailer … say that. And yet look with your own eyes at what she and her family have endured and inspired over the last few years. Any lesser man would have hanged himself by now.  So who’s weak?”

Recher noted that Palin wasn’t the primary focus of the book, and he said he told screenwriter and co-executive producer Danny Strong that the book “absolutely, unequivocally” did not accurately reflect his time with the McCain campaign.


Palin did not participate in Wednesday’s call. Tim Crawford, the treasurer of the political action committee SarahPAC, who facilitated the call, said Palin is on the record as considering the movie a false narrative, and wrote about her experiences in one of her books.

The New York Post reported:

Several former aides to Sarah Palin, a former governor of Alaska, denounced Wednesday a coming HBO movie about the 2008 campaign, calling it a “fiction,” a “false narrative” and “sick.”


“It presents a false narrative cobbled together by a group of people who simply weren’t there,” Jason Recher, a close aide who traveled with Ms. Palin during the campaign, said of the movie, also called “Game Change,” which is scheduled to air on March 10.


Meg Stapleton, a longtime associate of Ms. Palin’s who served as a senior adviser and spokeswoman during the campaign, strongly attacked the movie, the authors of the book and the campaign staffers she accused of leaking material about Ms. Palin.

“This is sick,” she said. “The media has gone too far. You accepted the false narrative of a couple of people who sought revenge,” she added, referring to Steve Schmidt, one of Mr. McCain’s top advisers, and Nicolle Wallace, who was brought in during the campaign to advise Ms. Palin.

“Schmidt is infamous for lining up and destroying,” Ms. Stapleton said. “He is abusive, he is abrasive, and he is nothing short of a world-class bully.”


Randy Scheunemann, a top foreign policy adviser to Mr. McCain during the 2008 campaign and a supporter of Ms. Palin’s, called those scenes false.

“I’ve not been able to review the screenplay or see the movie,” he said. “The book was very misleading, the movie is going to be far worse. It gives fiction a bad name.”

He added that the briefings he gave that are depicted in the movie were an attempt to describe Mr. McCain’s worldview for Ms. Palin, and  that she was “completely conversant on a whole bunch of issues.” He called Ms. Palin “incredibly intelligent.”

CJ Ciaramella at the Washington Free Beacon wrote (emphasis mine):

Steve Schmidt, one of McCain’s top campaign strategists, is reportedly a key figure in the film, and a key source for the book.


Schmidt offered a withering depiction of Palin in a 2010 60 Minutes segment previewing the release of the Game Change book.

On the conference call, the former Palin staffers shot back, saying Schmidt was an “incompetent, unprofessional” strategist and had “a congenital aversion to the truth.”

“[Schmidt] was abusive. He was abrasive. And he was nothing short of a world-class bully,” former Palin spokeswoman Meg Stapleton said.

The staffers said they had little if any input in the book, written by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

“I talked to Halperin twice and tried to push back against the emerging narrative, but that was not reflected at all in the book,” Scheunemann said.

The staffers called Halperin and Heilemann’s depiction a “false narrative cobbled together by people who simply weren’t there.”

Schmidt has since signed a contract with MSNBC.

See our Game Change Movie page for links to additional articles about the fictionalized HBO movie.

2 Responses to “Palin Aides Strike Back at ‘Game Change’ Movie in Conference Call with Media”

  1. Joy said

    It’s telling: That dirtbag, Schmidt, has signed a contract with PMSNBC. Figures. Water seeks its own level and birds of a feather flock together. They all exist ONLY to destroy and lie about others with whom the disagree. May they all fail miserably in their own lives & professions!!

  2. Godfrey said


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