Meghan McCain: Palin Created “Drama, Stress, Panic” During 2008 Campaign

While I don’t really think there’s very much that’s newsworthy about Meghan McCain’s new Book, her comments about Sarah Palin are generating some interest. Part of that reason is because of the fact, for two years, Palin was virtually the only aspect of her father’s 2008 Presidential campaign that the erstewhile blogger, Twitter user, and Daily Beast columnist refused to comment on.

Now that the  book is out, of course, that’s a different story and McCain is telling a story about Palin that, while not flattering, isn’t necessarily bad either:

For the first time since the end of her father’s 2008 presidential bid, Meghan McCain, Sen. John McCain’s daughter, spoke out about Sarah Palin, writing in a new book that Palin brought “drama, stress, complications, panic and loads of uncertainty” to the losing campaign.

Although McCain wrote that during the campaign she wondered whether the loss “was Sarah Palin’s fault,” McCain told “Good Morning America” in an exclusive interview today that Palin was not the reason the campaign failed.

“I do clearly state at the end that we did not lose because of her, and I’m speaking out now because I do have conflicting feelings about her,” McCain told “GMA’s” George Stephanopoulos. “She brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign.”

Before Palin came onboard, McCain said she knew drama was brewing.

“I had learned a few things on the campaign already, and knew that change always brought complications and chaos and sometimes a little entertainment. Drama was inevitable on a campaign and created almost out of thin air. Tempers were always flying, and feelings were always being hurt. There was no question that a running mate would add to the confusion and upset. There would be less time for fun,” she writes. “But I couldn’t have predicted just how serious it was going to get.”

McCain admitted that during the campaign she stumbled when asked whether she had doubts about Palin’s presence on the ticket and in the book said that Joe Lieberman was her favorite pick.

After the interview, however, McCain described the first time she realized her father might lose, and “if we did, I wondered if it was Sarah Palin’s fault.”

In the book, McCain refers to Palin as “the Time Bomb,” and calls her selection the very definition of the “line between genius and insanity.”

One area where McCain does not stumble is her take on Sarah Palin’s “disastrous” interview with CBS News’ Katie Couric before the vice presidential debate, when Palin couldn’t even state what newspapers she read.

“Katie Couric’s interview with her before the vice presidential debate had been disastrous. Unhappy with her performance, Palin seemed to blame the interview on the campaign. And she continued to blame other poor interviews and snafus on the campaign too,” McCain writes. “Sarah Palin. She was turning out to be somebody who leaves a wake of confusion and chaos — to the point of dizziness — wherever she went.”

At first, the chaos was overwhelming, McCain said.

“She was not just an overnight success or even a political Cinderella story. She was a sudden, freakishly huge, full-fledged phenomenon. It seemed too much. And it seemed too easy,” McCain writes.


This isn’t all that different from what we’ve heard from other McCain campaign insiders, and in books like Game Change, about the chaos that Palin brought to the campaign, and I’m sure there are more stories to be told in the years to come. Nonetheless, it’s another piece of the puzzle and further confirmation to me that, in the end, the Palin pick was a disastrous decision for McCain.

FILED UNDER: 2008 Election, US Politics, , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. sam says:

    “She brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign.”
    “Sarah Palin. She was turning out to be somebody who leaves a wake of confusion and chaos — to the point of dizziness — wherever she went.”

  2. Brummagem Joe says:

    Poor Meghan has a problem. She dumps on Palin she’s saying her old man is a fool with no judgement. On the other hand she has to explain one of the most screwed up presidential campaigns for awhile. Isn’t life tough?

  3. sam says:

    see, Sarah Palin – the Sound and the Fury at Vanity Fair,