that's the point. and i think a lot of issues that should have been debated -- now, ralph is a very good at this. you may not agree with his positions with the idea is he wants to put this on the table and get it out there and people want to talk about this. he wants to talk about labor issues and trade issues and things like that and you don't really get this very much -- everything is clustered in the center and the idea is to spread the ideas about triet and hans has been talking about the fact that while if you have multiple parties government may not be as easy -- governing may not be as easy and it may be different. that may be a very good thing frankly. i mean, you look at our government. how effective are these people any way? talk about the sec and the dirty mittal situation.
you talk about hey, we've got the federal emergency management thing and katrina and there's always this they call the united states postal service. i don't know where they get the surface from. but nonetheless, it may be a good thing to have less government and a less effective government that we may be very fortunate we don't get all the government we paid for. >> could i answer the gentleman's questioned? there have been studies on this, and a good book to read would be thomas patterson's "the vanishing voters" where he interviewed something like 90,000 voters but there's a correlation. first you see corporation of interest in the election itself when you look at the viewership that turned up for ross perot compared to the other votes they didn't have a third-party candidate. and guess that's one of the factors people cite why they don't vote. it's not the first factor and a lot of time is convenient. can't get to the poll, have to go home for my kids, have to work, whatever, but it is one of the factors there is in the
range of choice, and so there are a number of studies that have been done on this and probably should be more. i am going to defend the civil service here and say that i think it would be fair, more fair to say that there are things that are in effectively regulated. there are things overregulated and things under regulated and we could be here another 2,000 years debating that in this room. but what we need to do is the system is broken and even the commissioners at the ftc said a letter to congress and said please let's fix the system so there is an admission some parts of the system have to be fixed and so one answer is not just do nothing or have no government. we actually have to work at these hard questions and they are not a vessel answers. >> the woman on the ogle here on the right side. >> thank you.
my name is anna bill fischer. i live in northern virginia. mr. bennett if i see one more negative tv added lagat friars race i tell you, and i also lived in seattle washington so i know how things go. i would like to throw a couple of things negative you to read to the gentleman from seattle people don't vote because they don't have choices. alexandria just changed the way against the public opinion in alexandria va how we are going to elect the next mayor and council and school board in order to increase voter turnout so it would be in the election cycle with the president. seattle washington state has a million things on the ballot next to election year. volume for proportional representation. i agree. i am against campaign finance reform because in virginia anybody and their mother can set up a pact and that would go against the campaign finance
laws or reform. what do you think of having open primaries where you have now heads of the democratic republican party say yeah you can vote an open primary but you have to declare your party. so rather in the general you can vote for whoever you want. that would be the first thing. so it would allow more people who choose to run for office to be on the ballot without perhaps gathering the signatures. and at the second thing is i think if there is any movement -- today with the health care reform debate, other issues coming up today there are many more people now who are looking at voting for an independent person. but i believe it has to start at fell local level, the local and state level and you can't have somebody running for president who's never held office before. so i'm trying those two issues
out to anyone out there and made the best person win in virginia and made the election be over soon. thank you. >> jim, do you want to start? >> i'm not quite sure what your question was. but beyond that, i'm just for anything -- i think it is un-american to try to close things down and oppress people and keep people off the ballot and so on and so forth and i think whatever we can do to encourage new voices, new choices. i think it's very important. and i don't know if moving e elections to a presidential year would guarantee better people in office or what not. but it seems to me that we need more issues and ideas on the table and that's kind of where i come from on this.
>> [inaudible] >> the open primary, that would be fine. that helps open up the process. that was exactly what i was seeing. i'm up for anything if it opens the process up. >> the primary system is, look, yeah you want an open election system but you also want the parties to be able to have some control over what they do and i don't care whether it is the democrat or republican party or libertarian party and all of those parties do not want people coming in and voting in their primary fights who are not -- don't really believe in their ideas but are only there to spoil the choice. and i recall one of the party candidates was cynthia mckinney said one of the reasons she got defeated was because in the democratic primary election and one of her prior to elections republicans crossed over the line to vote for the opponent of
her so that she would lose. and i think we have gone a long way as jam bennett describes in his book, towards having the government take over many things the party stood previously. and while i agree with some of those like i don't agree with his criticisms of the australian ballot which the main part of was to make sure we have a secret about what which is vital to democracy. but i don't think that switching to a primary system where the parties have absolutely no control over the process and absolutely no control over who comes in and of votes i don't think that is necessarily a good thing unless you want to destroy having any parties at all. >> the gentleman in the second row from the back will get away from the front a little bit. >> ayn rand and holmes, grassroots director of citizens in georgia and citizens in charge foundation. i want to give theresa a chance to expand on her proposed
solutions. one of my objections to public finance has been the funds would presumably be controlled by the existing parties and existing people in power, and i wonder if you can address how that would help third party is out if you have to go and essentials a knock on the door of the existing powers to get into that. >> one of the reasons i am in favor of public financing is to encourage and help encourage participation. so you don't have to be born a billionaire or have access to a millionaire's rolodex to principate in the elections in the united states. i don't think that's what the founding fathers had in mind in terms of citizens being able to run for office. public financing allows a small start candidacy people who are running independent, small parties to have at least a little bit of contribution in order to be able to get to the point where they can compete and
have their candidacy in front of the american voter. ralph nader is one of the only candidates in the last three elections who's qualified as a minor party or third-party independent as for public financing matching funds in the primary. first of all as jam pointed out the statute is written so that you're not going to get as a minor party independent general election financing nellis you already proved in the past election you can garner 5% of the vote so that is absolutely no use in the current election if you are a minor party or independent. but it does allow -- what it does allow and what was critical in both the 2000 and the 2004 and 2008 campaign which i did not run is to be able to have funds to be able to overcome the ballot access problems and be able to actually get on the radar screen. if you're not on the ballot you're not on the radar screen. right in votes rarely when in history.
and right in votes, other flaw, are not even counted. one of the chapters in my book does talk about how the supreme court has enjoined the two-party system has become the protector of the incumbents and the two parties instead of the defender of people trying to participate in the system. the last chapter of the book does deal with a number of solutions. everything from whether or not we touch the constitution in the college to how to make it more fair for people to have a chance to be able to run. i discuss the national vote plan act. i discuss redistricting. the local level, to get back to this woman's question here oftentimes we don't have two parties. we just have one party. there's nobody else even running in these elections. so your choice has become one individual. sometimes they just even cancel the election. they did in florida because it was a foregone conclusion.
do we want a government where the candidate -- the electorate are foregone conclusions because nobody else has a chance to run? i don't think so. >> one last question. the gentleman here, and then we will go to lunch. wait for the microphone, please. >> my name is arnold and i live in maryland a one-party state. i would like to thank you all for having this discussion because it is a very interesting discussion. my question is what can we do to get politicians to understand the election process? a number were -- in other words how can we get the election process in the 21st century because there are a lot of states that have to many, in the northeast they have a political party, in the south they have another party and so on, so forth.
thank you. >> jim, comment? >> i think i outlined the fact what we need to do is remove impediments to participation. and of the main impediment is ballot access law in making it easy for people to get on the ballot, have a free-for-all, you know, the more the merrier kind of thing and have it sorted out by the american people. that is what we need to do was open up the process rather than have it closed as it is not a great degree. >> closing remarks come theresa? >> the shameless one for me would be read my book, the myth of the voter choice and to party tierney, because i do talk in the last chapter in a very detail about the kind of things we can do in this country to make a more fair system and have
maximized voter choice and importantly fulfill the voters' rights by helping acknowledge the candidates rights to be able to run for office. thank you. >> in that light it also may be a contribution to the cato institute would advance. [laughter] >> don't forget heritage, too. i actually want to go back to an earlier question real quick to make one final point and that is public funding. there's a fundamental problem with funding and theresa mentioned the fact fec commissioners road congress and said you have to fix it. they were talking about there isn't enough money in the fund to pay for it. why isn't there enough money in the fund? american people don't want to fund it. it's purely voluntary. when the program first went into place, and jim talks about this in his book, about 25, and of 1.20 to 30% of americans did the voluntary checkoff for the presidential funding program. in the last year they did numbers down to about 8%.
the only way you can fund a public funding program for elections, and i don't care whether it's on the federal level, state level, is through taxation. and that is a fundamental violation of my first amendment rights to associate with people i want to associate with to use my tax money to pay for the political campaigns of somebody i fundamentally disagree with? that is such a violation of the bill of rights that it's hard for me to believe people keep pushing the public funding idea. and frankly raising money when you are a candidate going out and raising private money. my experience is if people give money to people whose ideas they like and when you are out raising money if you can't raise any money, nobody wants to give you money it's because people don't like your ideas and solutions you are proposing to the problems we have and i don't have a problem with people going
out having to raise money to raise their campaigns if you take off the limits, the campaign contributions, people will be able to raise money to run campaigns and they are not going to have to be billionaires' to do it. >> those of you that didn't get to ask your questions will be able to ask them of the panelists have now that we are going to lunch. i want to join you and thinking all three of us for coming here today and speaking. [applause] please, go upstairs and have lunch. no taxpayer money involved. [inaudible conversations] >> theresa amato, practicing lawyer, was the campaign manager and in-house counsel for ralph nader in both 2000 and in 2004. mr. bennett is an economics professor at george mason university.
the new book "sarah from alaska" offers an exclusive look at sarah palin by two reporters who were in bed on the mccain palin campaign. scott conroy and shushannah walshe give anecdotes about the former alaska governor's return home from the campaign trail. borders bookstore in washington, d.c. hosts this event. [applause] >> we want to start off by thanking everyone for being here. it's nice to see so many friends and new faces. the question we've been getting a lot is how the book came out. throughout the campaign, it was only two months but it seems like along you're especially now, we saw there was a lot of disorganization and secrecy but it wasn't until election night we realized the intention that was really going on. one that is actually not in the book is that i found out that sarah palin was planning on
giving a speech, there was a speech written and i reported that and i got a call, frantic call from her press secretary was very angry with two senior advisers in the background killing that there is no speech ever written and it was totally incorrect information. now we know that was wrong and that was not true. so later that evening a lot of sarah palin loyalists were talking to scott and body and telling us what happened and how there was a speech but all that information at that point was off the record and the information through the night kept on coming until the next morning and a one point scott and i asked will the information ever be on the record and he said yes and that's when we decided this would make a great book. we hope you agree. >> yeah, i just want to echo what she said. thanks to everyone. we appreciate you being here and it's great to see familiar faces. so we've been thrilled so far with all the coverage we've
gotten from the book and most of it is centered around the campaign itself. but what we've really want to talk about tonight, just to switch things up a little bit, we want to focus on all of the reporting we did in alaska and after the campaign
ended we went up to juneau and anchorage and spoke to dozens of people up there and spent several weeks in juneau. i always joke she has sort of become the queen of juneau. she knows all the state legislators, they are best friends now. but we've really -- we really enjoyed our time there. and i hope it comes across in the book alaska is like a character in the book. it's a unique place. i don't know how many of you have been there but to can see what impact the state had on sarah palin's philosophy, her demeanor, her upbringing. so, the one thing before i start getting into the alaska stuff is that we try to bring out in the
book that she is a three-dimensional person and so much of the coverage of sarah palin as one-sided. she's easily caricatured, but what we want to do is get to the bottom of her character which is much more complex than either her
fans or her foes often believe it to be. one thing i want to start by saying about alaska is that it sort of turned into a joke at some point in the campaign that she was the maverick and the word was thrown away around by tina fey all the time. but when you go up there you realize she really did take on the republican party in the state and she doesn't have a lot of friends in the alaska republican party which is interesting to us. and one of the biggest things she did in the state of course was to take on the oil companies.
she essentially raised taxes on the oil companies which had never been done before in alaska someone just stepping in there and saying you guys from the staid but i'm in charge of vows governor. it was a brave thing for her to do and we got a taste of the power and influence of the oil companies. there's actually a quote in the book but i thought it was really funny when shush went to interview a representative of the now the first words out of his mouth were if you screw me i will screw you. so that's sort of the mentality of there in some respects. so what i'm trying to say is she should get a lot of credit for doing that. we also were lucky enough to be invited into the home of chuck and salley heath, sarah palin's parents. chaka took out a napkin and drew a map of wasilla to show exactly where their house was, and i don't know if you have seen
pictures but it's quite an alaska home when you drive in there is a pyramid made out of antlers and inside looks like a taxidermy museum. what we briefly did run into governor palin herself i mention this to her and she said that's what i always say. and they were great to us. they shared a wonderful stories. and chuck is a funny guy actually. he was talking about how when they were doing inventory on the clothes and trying to figure out which purchases had to go back to the rnc or what they were going to do to the clothes, sally got a little concerned and was rushing around trying to get everything done as quickly as she could, and according to chuck, she gave away his only good belt which actually did belong to him but she assumed it belonged to the rnc. and my favorite quote in the book, i think it is because i
met him and i know his personality a little bit from the time we spend with him was we asked him what his reaction was when sarah told him she was interested in running for the mayor of wasilla and he said i'm sure i wasn't doing cartwheels or anything. i just thought that was funny. they are a non-political family which is another interesting part of sarah palin's career because the question is why she became so interested in politics, which hopefully the answer a little bit in the book. >> one thing i should have said from the start is that it's going to be very relaxed so please, feel free to come and sit down and fill in the seats so you don't have to stand. but you can stand if you would rather. and instead of just reading, we are going to tell stories and anecdotes and take questions, so i hope that's ok with everybody. and then feel free in the middle of you like sitting down. one thing we found out while we were up there which we didn't know when we were covering the campaign is that she really was a media darling before the campaign. after frank rakowski she came in
and was a breath of fresh air to the press up there who had been dealing with murkowski who has been described as grouchy, and compared to how she is with the media now and seems to be so antagonistic with them, that was quite a surprise. she would pick them cookies and dropped off cupcakes. i think my favorite part of the book of reporting on the book is our time in alaska and speaking to the legislators and being part of the session every day for several weeks. it's so different. alaska is different than the lower 48 and being in the smallest legislature in the country, it's the smallest members and also the shortest session, 90 days. and you, because it is so short, most of the people have other careers. they are commercial fishermen. many of them used to work up on the oil fields. so are the sessions, the pass
notes, there's inside jokes going on. the remarkable part is at the beginning of each session there are galleys in the back and that is where i would sit, we would sit and take notes, and they would introduce the visitors. and that's every day. so about 20 minutes of each session was introducing people in the back with it be lobbyists or friends and family, neighbors, and alaska was so small and that really showed it. there are people in the galleys that went to high school together, elementary school together. and one day scott and i were there and the introduced us and we didn't know what to do. should we stand up? should we thank them? so we smiled and went on, and everyone there, at first i think they were a little confused why we were there so long. why are they there every day. and then once we got to know these people it was just an incredible amount of access. you can walk into anybody's office. it's so different than any other writing state legislature.
>> that is a telling story because it really shows their mentality toward the governor. >> so, i was there for the day that it was sarah palin's birthday and another legislature, and somebody stood up in the house session to roast her and they told everybody this great story, very colorful story about how she killed a caribou with an ax and she said it's because she ran out of bullets. it's very alaska. and before the story the house majority leader kyl johansson stood up and said there are two birthdays in the building today. i'm going to talk about one of them and if there's anybody else they can talk about her. i wasn't sure who it was but then i was made clear it was sarah palin and nobody else wanted to talk to her. -- talk about her. but it's interesting before, which we really didn't know so much about either, is before she became the kaine's number two is
that she aligned herself with democrats. that's who she worked with on her legislation whether it be ethics, we'll and gas. the republicans as scott said didn't really get along with her. they didn't like she raise oil taxes so when she came home it was a cold homecoming which we were able to witness. >> to bring it back more specifically to our book i don't know how many of you our facebook friends with the book "sarah from alaska" -- we've gotten pretty good at the self-promotion thing. if you are not already you should join. but we've gotten a kick out of some people who have confused us with sarah palin herself. a lot of people leave messages, though, sarah, which we are fine with. >> messages for leave i -- lelvi. >> a guess that is the question why read our book when the woman herself as a book coming out in two weeks, and i guess what i'd say to that is we spent, you know, almost of your working on
this book and we interviewed almost 200 people, and i guess anyone writing a book about themself is going to have a certain perspective. if i wrote a book about myself i would probably leave things out as i'm sure she will. and i think her book is going to be great. it's going to have a lot of great information, but with our book a thing to get a full story, the good and the bad. and so we really just tried to go out of our way to be fair. and most of the feedback we have gotten so far has made us feel good that we were there. so i would just like to, you know, make that clear how or what does offer something a little different. part of the thing it does offer is the experience what it was like to be on the campaign trail, which we both covered mitt romney for about five months, and sarah palin for two months and it's just the most unique experience you can possibly have. as journalists we feel so lucky to have been able to do it. you're around the clock, you are
beholden to the campaign to provide food, shelter, laughter. [laughter] so it's really something that will probably never do something that interesting again. you don't get very much sleep and you need a lot of cookies and pizza. as some of you in the crowd know very well. but it's just getting to see the candidates up close and spend so much time with them. i think our mitt romney impression is probably down pat by this point. i've never tried sarah palin, but hopefully some of that comes across in the book, too, the experience what it's like being out on the campaign trail. >> should we take some questions? >> yeah. i think at this point we don't want to bore you by rambling to much, so even if you are a little shy, we encourage you to ask whatever questions you can think of. and mr. robert draper is the first one to raise his hand. >> you mentioned she had been a press darling in alaska. how tough was the press on her?
that? >> well, one of the questions was how, were they tough on her? and we spoke with an editor for -- [inaudible] >> ann rage daily news. >> the biggest paper in alaska. he seemed -- i think that maybe they were a little embarrassed some of the stories they didn't get that national journalists were able to break. but they were so strapped for, for reporters at that time because they were covering all the corruption that they really, really did give her more of a pass, and they were so happy that she was so much more accessible than fran more murko. i think now they could have been a little tougher on her. >> it's really amazing when you look at the campaign itself and when she was picked that the governor of the state was missing for three days, and no one noticed, you know? that just shows you they just don't have a lot of resources. they were covering all the corruption scandals, the ted
stevens saga, and a lot of reporters admitted to us they didn't have the resources to cover, they wished they could have done more -- >> i couldn't help think that that during the sanford thing -- >> we got one great story from a journalist who first met governor palin when she was a candidate, and she was a senior in college. and governor palin was speaking at fairbanks, at her school, and this journalist introduced herself, this aspiring journalist at the time and said, you know, i'm majoring in journalism, i just wanted to let you know, and governor palin said, oh, i was a journalism major, i think you're going to be a journalist in a year or two. and she got her first job at the fairbanks tv station and came back when palin was governor. this is a perfect example of how palin connects with people, she remembers everything. she went up to her immediately at a different event and said, oh, i remember you, and i see
you're working now, and i told you you'd be a journalist. she said to us, you know, i just thought that was so cool. that's what save rah palin -- sarah palin does so good, the retail politicking, she's just a natural at that. >> and why she so much wanted to come back and talk to the press at the beginning of the campaign, but the mccain senior advisers didn't want that. peter? >> you write in the book about how she carried around the living tower and never read it. and the question about what newspapers she read, you get the sense that, like, her level of curiousty about issues, things like that are just -- >> sure. you know, i think, first of all, you're referring to a book that steve schmidt gave governor palin to read at the beginning of the campaign which is about al-qaeda and sort of the road
to 9/11. and we can't say for sure whether she did or didn't read it, but it's clear most people on the planet think she wasn't reading it -- >> and were concerned that she didn't read it. >> also that she was spending her down time on the plane watching damaging press coverage, she was, you know, obsessing over that stuff. and it really wasn't healthy for her, and people told us afterwards, why are you watching this stuff, why are you listening to it? it's almost like she felt the need to convince everyone that she was right, and she couldn't understand why they didn't see that. but back to your question about intellectual curiousty, you know, one thing that we noticed when we visited chuck and sally heath's house, her parents, they're both educators. chuck is a science teacher. they both are world travelers. >> every year they go to somewhere they haven't been before. >> and, you know -- >> in the world. >> and they're full of fact,
they're very sophisticated people, they're alaska people, they're hunters, but they are no dummies. and i think that rubbed off on sarah palin. she is no dummy. but i'm not sure of the intellectual curiousty. she didn't get a passport until 2007, and she says, you know, i wasn't raised in a home where the kids went off and traveled the world. well, yeah, but, you know, your parents do do that, and it's kind of a mystery to us actually. >> on the other hand, the policy people would tell us all the time that she would study up throughout the night and have, you know, they would wake up to many e-mails from her with questions and they were happy that she was able to soak in some of this information in a short amount of time, and she would challenge them. if she disagreed with mccain's policy or she had a question about it, she would ask about that, and they liked that. that's why you see a lot of the policy people who are so loyal to her. >> you might have just answered
it with the press question, but i was wondering if there was any more complex reason why her popularity with the general public in alaska went down after the presidential race. >> well i -- sorry. >> yeah, i was just going to say alaska's a red state, obviously, but before she was picked, the obama campaign was planning on making a real push there. so it's actually turned less conservative, and i think -- >> there was also, it's always been more bipartisan. this is something that i thought was really interesting when i went there, democrats and their issues are drilling just like republicans are in the lower 48 in energy policy. and the issues aren't as red and blue in alaska as they are in the lower 48. in order to get elected there, you have to be pro-drilling -- >> the point is, when she was out on the campaign trail making these really fire brand statements, the pals around with terrorist line, all that stuff was stuff that people in alaska
had never seen before. and i think that they didn't like it. the other thing is the troopergate issue. and we spoke to several people in alaska who said that the mccain campaign had this truth squad, and they would go up there every day and do press conferences in anchorage, and some journalist told us they stopped going because what they were saying was so ridiculous. they were saying walt monobegan was guilty of insubordination, and a lot of times people felt they were really trashing people. the bitterness of any campaign existed in this campaign, of course, but it was sort of ratcheted up to another level, and people of alaska didn't really like that. >> i think so many very shunned, this hyperpartisan speech that they saw out of her whether it's the palling around with terrorists or other, other
things, and that's why it was interesting to be there when she came home. she did receive not just from the legislature, but from the population that adored her, you have to remember she had 80% approval ratings, it was quite a cold home coming. katie connolly? >> [inaudible] >> congratulations on the book. my question is based on -- watching the election and watching her muddle through like a series of auditions, is sarah palin who used -- does she take advice? could she be molded and created? >> one thing that a couple staffers that we interviewed after the campaign said to us was she would literally say outloud over and over again i know what i know what i know, which meant my instincts have never failed me before. and i think she's someone that the lesson that she learned from
the campaign was these guys that are supposed to be brilliant political strategists hold me up in the back of the plane for a month, they had this media strategy that didn't work. i should have relied on my instincts from the beginning, and so that's when you saw her start to go rogue, when she sort of started ignoring the plan and coming back and talking to us more. so i think she learned from the campaign in her mind at least that her instincts are right more often than not. do you want to follow up? >> [inaudible] i just want to also talk to you about what worked in alaska may not work on the grand stage or in other parts of the country, and, therefore, your instincts may or may not work elsewhere. >> of course, and alaska is so different than the rest of the country, especially because it's so small, you know? but if you look at her now, well, when she first came back to alaska, political pundits were constantly saying what she
has to do is go home, concentrate on being the governor, study up. you would hear it over and over. she never did that. and if you see who she surrounds herself with now, it'sless than a handful of people. so the people she seeks advice from is such a small group of people, and you see her actions now, she's definitely still running on her instincts and still believes that's going to help her best. >> two of her smartest and by all accounts best gubernatorial aides she had in early term she fired, and -- >> and you see her resignation, that is pure instinct. there's no one, no d.c. pundit or political adviser who would say if you're going to have a future in politics that you should resign as governor. but if there's anybody that could have a future with that, i think it's her. >> yes. >> hi. did you have any idea beforehand that she was going to resign? and how -- do you have any --
[inaudible] >> we were as shocked as anyone. we got that e-mail saying there was going stop a press conference, so we had no idea what it was. we thought maybe she'd announce she wasn't going to run for reelection. you know, after it happened and we had a moment to reflect on it, it was sort of like we realized we were witnessing this in alaska. i mean, it was just such a negative atmosphere up there. it was so clear that she was not enjoying herself at all. and i think we sort of realized after the fact, you know, governing the state in that environment was very difficult, it was very stressful. she made the decision, i can just stop doing this right now. i can make a ton of money. i can go out and travel the country and speak in front of crowds of tens of thousands of people who will hang on my every word again, you know? i think in her mind she said, it's a no brainer of. >> but alaska conditions, i've still kept in touch with many, and they were shocked and very upset. i think their biggest worry was
they were afraid she was just leaving alaska and leaving them to make money, and that is a real worry, and i still hear that all the time. i think that she'd be really upset if her -- she is -- the book is called sarah from alaska. even though she's changed so much, she still loves alaska so much, and i wonder sometimes if that hurts her, that there is so many people in alaska that really, so many allies that just don't like her at all anymore because of the campaign, but also because she left them. finish. >> yeah. >> it seems like the career, a lot of the things she stars in -- [inaudible] running for mayor, the first council term, the big energy commission, do you see a pattern here, or are these all just circumstances where her instincts led her to want to do
something new? >> i think that's certainly an argument to make, that there's a pattern, that she doesn't always necessarily finish what she starts. one thing i keep in mind is that her career has been so charmed. i mean, you know, she was the youngest governor in the state's history. one thing we pointed out in the book that i thought was interesting to me just to think about in researching it because it seems like some of the stuff must have been so long ago, but then you think she became governor in december of 2006, and at that point john mccain had already started running for president. and the time frame here is just so short, and she did so much in such a short time that she's used to doing one thing after another in such quick succession that that's the kind of career progression that she's used to. >> and she jumps on these opportunities that have been offered to her. when she was major of what scylla, the state party chair who she was still friends with at that time came to her and
said, i think you should run for lieutenant governor. and her worry was leaving those people, but when the opportunity came, she grabbed it. she didn't win, but it was good for her that she wasn't the number two, and she was able to come in and defeat him. she's had, as scott said, this charmed political career that even though she didn't win this election, we really believe that that comes into now with her political career that she will look at that as still a good move, that she wasn't, that they weren't successful so that she can be successful on her own. hope that answered that. >> [inaudible] how did she get along with mccain on a personal level? >> we've gotten that question a few times the last couple of days. >> yeah. >> you know, i hadn't thought about it as much as i probably should have. what i would say is that they have nothing but good things to say about each other in public. we're talking about sarah palin and john mccain. and i think there is a respect there. i think he respects her
political skills, she respects him as a human being. i mean, how can you not with his history? but i think there was definitely some tension there, and i think that's clear. there's a couple stories that we heard that maybe show that. i mean, when she landed in arizona on election night, she was invited to go to dinner with john and cindy mccain at their house, and some of her staffers felt that it was an empty gesture because by the time she had landed, they were already eating basically. so it was little things like that that sort of added up. one thing is that people were constantly, on the plane the staffers were constantly talking amongst each other, and it sort of bred this us versus them mentality. so i think it's probably a complex relationship as with any presidential campaign. i think the top and bottom of the ticket often have a conflict of some kind. but i'd say the bigger was between the two staffs. >> yeah. and another theme of our book is the idea of celebrity and how
she was plucked and became one of the most famous people in the country, in the world really. and one staffer did remark to me that john mccain was very curious with how much she seemed to enjoy the celebrity and the fame which, i mean, how could you not when you have tens of thousands of screaming fans wherever you go? >> the mccain campaign had no idea that was coming. they knew, obviously, she was an outside the box pick and she would generate excitement, but they all say they did not pick her because they thought she would coalesce the republic base. they picked her because they thought she could enhance mccain's maverick streak and pick up women. that's why they picked her, not the reason why she ended up being such a great candidate for a few weeks and why after she was picked the republican ticket had its only lead of the campaign. >> any other questions? peter. >> sorry. what was your level of cooperation with her and her staff, and what's your
relationship with them now? like, if you e-mailed her spokesperson, would she write back to you? >> no, i don't think so. no. the level of cooperation, it's an interesting story. when we decided to put the book together, i called her closest friend and aide, chris, who we were close with on the campaign, and they happened to be together. so i told her -- >> sarah palin. >> sarah palin and chris. and they were together, and i told them that we had decided to put the book together. this was actually even before we got a book deal, and they were so excited and so happy that governor palin at the time got on the phone with me, and she kind of joked and said, what's in it for me? and chris came back on the phone and said, come to alaska. we were really happy. i mean, this is something that, you know, we could have an exclusive with the governor for the book, and then a few weeks before we went to alaska, her political spokesperson said that that wasn't going to happen. but we still went there, we were able to speak to her family and
friends, and we were happy about that. but, i mean, she wouldn't write us back now i wouldn't think. >> [inaudible] snoop around alaska? >> yeah, that's another part of the story. so when we went to alaska, we spoke with family, with friends, but we also spoke with people that she'd once been friends with that they felt she'd thrown under the bus which you can read in the book or political enemies, and they did not like that. and there is one story in the book, scott and i were in juneau, and they said it's a very small place, 30,000 people. it's incredible, the governor's mansion is right on the main road. you can just walk up to the door which we did not do, but we're walking down this main street, and we saw piper palin who the people we know would be back of the plane joking around with us. she made me this halloween card, so we did know this little girl very well, and i said, hi, piper, how's school? and then we kept walking.
about an hour later we get this voice mail from the deputy spokesperson in the governor's office who was irate and saying that she didn't appreciate, that she and the governor didn't appreciate being in alaska and didn't appreciate us stalking the governor as we were. obviously, we were just reporting. and just to top it off she said, she accused us of cornering piper on the bus stop for comment. obviously, any journalist with an ounce of integrity would never do that, and we would never do that. and it was really our first taste of intimidation tactic to try to get us out of alaska which was unfortunate. >> normally as journalists we wouldn't include a story like that in reporting, but we thought it was important to put in the book because it did seem like we were getting a taste of the way her operation works sometimes against perceived enemies up there. >> and it was just such a change from the phone calls. this was only a few weeks before that where she was so happy to have us up there. anybody else? >> were you in alaska --
[inaudible] >> [inaudible] >> david letterman. were we in contact with anyone about it? >> yeah, i mean, we were. but -- i mean, i think what's interesting about that incident is that at the time it was good for both of them. it was good for letterman's ratings, and it was good because people sympathized with her. it was a horrible statement, but then her joke, i should say, or -- >> attempt at a joke. >> attempt at a joke. but when the governor's political spokesperson put out this statement saying that we shouldn't have will in the same room as david letterman, it just kind of put them on the same level. i think that's what was unfortunate about the david letterman incident. but it went from where i think a lot of people empathized with her and thought it was a disgusting joke b to where they were on the same level. >> there was a lot of incidences
after the campaign in general where we felt that governor palin sort of brought herself down to a level where she didn't need to be. >> yeah. >> she would always respond every time a liberal blogger in alaska did something she didn't like, she felt like she would have to release a press statement about it, and we were just so amazed by that because we thought that the campaign would have thickened her skin. but she really just has this tendency to respond to every perceived flight. and i told myself we wouldn't talk about levi johnston tonight, but, you know, obviously, he's trying to get a lot of attention, and he must be very annoying to the entire family at this point. but, you know, he's a 19-year-old kid, and we're wondering why she needs to answer every time levi johnston says something. >> what's interesting about her skin thickening, it almost seems that it's getting thinner. you have to remember that before the campaign when she came right into office, she stood up to oil
companies. the oil companies who had owned alaska and the alaska i can't think people. she said, that's not fair, and they owe us more money. when she raised the taxes, she was able to get incredible revenues for the state. but when she resigned, she cited liberal bloggers. that dichotomy is just incredible. >> kind of following up on that a little bit, you know, basically, i think the answer to this is going to be i don't know. what is her strategy at this point, and what is her goal? [inaudible] >> right. >> side of things? n you know, people think she's doing events and she's not. you know, what is, is there any method behind the madness? >> i think it's clear that she, she thinks that she doesn't have to do anything conventionally. she sees herself as an unconventional politician, as
someone who's not even a politician. so if she decides to run for president, let's say, it's not going to be a conventional campaign. i think that's pretty clear. and i think that he's, in a way, just sort of playing it by ear, you know? i'm not sure she has a grand strategy thought out at this point, but we do think she's going to be interested in running for president, and the way that i have sort of seen the case is immediately after the election she went back up to alaska and did this media blitz right away. and several other reporters went up there and asked hersh you know, what about 2012? she said, if there's any open doors, i'm going to cross right through them. we thought that was such an illuminating answer. usually when prospective candidates are asked four years in advance, they go out of their way to be coy about it. she was very frank, this is something that she wants. she's gotten that in her system
now, and over these next few weeks and months when she goes on her book tour and speaks to those adoring crowds, she loves the campaign trail, it's clear. working the line is her favorite thing to do. she's going to have people around her constantly saying, sarah, you've got to run for president, you've got to do this for us. and it's going to be hard to listen to all that and say, no, not this time. she's always taken opportunities as they come, and i think for anyone to underestimate her is a really big mistake. she's been underestimated throughout her life, and in that way she reminds me of president bush in some respects. mr. draper back there could probably tell you, you know, she's someone people tend to write off a little too easily, and she'll probably take advantage of that begin. >> what's interesting is that she doesn't seem to be interested in -- she's embracing this far right position which she started during the campaign, and she's always been a social conservative, but really embracing this hard right
stance. you know, it'll be interesting when it does get closer to the time how she plans on bringing the people in the middle who will be most of the voters in. i mean, there's no -- she hasn't made any moves towards the middle whatsoever. >> before -- i want to add as much as i do think it's easy to underestimate her, she has a big hill to get other as well. the katie couric interviews were devastating, and they're going to be on youtube forever. so she really has to rehabilitate her image for much of the country. there's a huge percentage d not a huge percentage, but a huge mum in of people in this country who will support her no matter what she does, but not enough to win an election. she's got to do more than that. >> my perception when i studied her, you know, just few past interviews before she was a presidential candidate that scherr social views, she stressed that she wasn't trying to legislate them or impose them on others, she was just expressing a personal opinion.
is that accurate? there absolutely. it's absolutely accurate because in alaska even though it is a red state, people don't -- it's more libertarian, it's more hands off. so those social issues, i mean, which one you may be talking about is this debate she had, or a debate when she was running for governor, and andrew brought up -- he was the independent running -- he brought up that she was pro-life. and she said -- it was a debate about resources. and she said, andrew, you know, this is a sensitive issue. we're here to talk about resources, and, you know, we should answer these questions and tried to stay away from that. and i think i'm -- >> yeah. it's hard to imagine sarah palin dodging a question -- >> about abortion. right. >> and at the time just three years ago she said you're bringing up a divisive issue, andrew, i don't want to go there. she said, you know i'm pro-life, but she wanted to talk about
resources. >> and she really turned it into a win for her when she said you knew i was pro-life when you asked to be on the ticket with me how many times and really kind of put the knife in. and she was very successful, especially in that debate, and she went on to win. >> i wasn't referring to dodging a question but that she seemed to go overboard to say this isn't something i intend to politicize, it's just a personal private view, and you can have your own view -- >> right, and that is what she did because alaskans are much more like that and hands off when it comes to social issues than conservatives in the lower 48. >> there's got to be a couple more questions. yeah. >> did you send her a copy of the book, and do you think she'll read it? >> we don't really know where she lives. [laughter] >> we did want to send her one, but we can't send one to the governor's office, and we could definitely drive you to her house, but we didn't have a street address, and the answer from other people was, you know,
e-mail meg for it, and we didn't want to e-mail meg for it. so i know it's in bookstores in alaska. >> governor palin, it's available in bookstores nationwide, low price of $27.95 -- >> $26.95. cheaper on amazon. [laughter] i really hope she reads it, but i don't know if she will. >> i really do hope she reads it, and i hope she thinks that we were fair to her. >> i think that aides she's still close with will tell her about it. >> okay. >> oh, sure. >> one more question? okay, last one. >> if she does, you know, you're not sure if she has further political ambitions, but do you think she's studying national issues that she wasn't as expert on when she ran the first time? >> there's no evidence to that, but she is, i mean, she is entering into debate that she didn't before, you know, with the health care debate, obviously, with the death panels. again, a huge story just because
there was a facebook posting, so she is entering into issues besides energy and things that she covered. but whether she's really buckling down and studying, i don't think so. >> i think maybe she's starting to a little bit. we've seen in the health care debate she's really immersed herself in that. >> but, i mean, with -- >> right. >> so it's unclear. >> right, that's true. but you can tell that she's sort of maybe starting to recognize that she needs to be perceived differently when it comes to policy. >> right. >> you'll notice if you sort of study her facebook pages, i mean, of course, every politician has someone that writes for them, so this is not unique to her, but let's just say it's clear that not all of the language is the language that we know that she uses in a natural setting. so she's got some help now, and she's brought some people in