From fissures in the Palin marriage (“We don’t talk”) to giggles over a doctored nude photo and the governor in an open bathrobe, Shushannah Walshe unearths more gems from the ex-Sarah Palin aide’s leaked manuscript. Plus, more tidbits about Bristol, Troopergate, and other Palin scoops.
The scathing manuscript draft of former Sarah Palin aide Frank Bailey‘s In Blind Allegiance to Sarah Palin: A Memoir of Our Tumultuous Years, leaked to The Daily Beast, spares not a single embarrassing email or angry campaign trail moment. Among more juicy allegations in the book, which is filled with catty asides, including a description of Palin’s skin as being “tanning-bed bronze”:
1) Todd and Sarah Palin Had Marital Problems, Neglected the Kids
Sarah Palin appeared to trust Bailey and confided in him on all topics, including family matters. In an email, Palin told him that Todd was working behind her back on the Troopergate affair, writing to Bailey: “We’re not like normal couples, Frank. We don’t talk.”
Bailey writes that the Palins had marital problems and that Todd would even steal his wife’s BlackBerry “in order to read her emails for emotional clues” before emailing campaign headquarters during the 2006 Alaska gubernatorial campaign to “relay his wife’s demeanor,” good or bad, to the team. Bailey also alleges that Todd even accessed Palin’s email without her knowledge, and if he saw something that worried him, he would call Bailey with his concerns.
Earlier during Palin’s campaign to be the youngest and first female governor of Alaska, Bailey accused her of being “callous” about daughter Bristol after Sarah told him in an email: “Bristol’s mad at me. Says this isn’t fun. Too bad.”
Bailey alleges that Palin’s children’s grades suffered and they were left “on their own for large stretches of time.”
While she was governor, a political enemy accused Palin of not securing infant Trig in a car seat, but Bailey writes that Palin was driving around with daughter Piper, then 5, not properly strapped in:
“…I’d seen Sarah drive off with little Piper—by law required to sit in a car seat—not even buckled, sprawled out on the back seat or climbing from the back to the front to sit on Todd’s lap when he drove. We even had a photo of Piper in the back seat of their car after a drive of several hours, asleep on top of her unbuckled seatbelt and definitely not in the required child seat.”
2) Palin Sent Letters to the Editor Using Other Names, Praising Herself
Bailey writes that Palin drafted her own letters to the editor during her run for governor and sent them in under supporters’ names. Palin relayed the first one in an email to Bailey:
It’s been a pleasure watching our life-long Alaskan gal, Sarah Palin, campaign for governor these past six months. I am impressed with her leadership skills, experience, ethics, and energy. And I’m most impressed with how she communicates her message that is connecting with so many Alaskans. Sarah tells it like it is and is obviously not your typical politician. She doesn’t just go with the flow or test the waters with political polls before taking action. It’s clear Sarah is committed to just doing the right thing, even if her Republican Party bosses try to punish her for it,” the letter reads in part.
Bailey alleges the letter was the first of many they wrote in supporters’ names, to be sent to Alaska newspapers. Bailey writes “nothing struck me as wrong” with the faux letters, even though the campaign had become what he calls a “letter-manufacturing plant.”
And in one particularly un-self-aware moment, Palin begins an email string with Bailey saying, “I feel like we are the last of the innocents,” before encouraging the fake editorial letters:
“Good idea about the letters to the editor. Guys—let’s remember to tell people that when they offer to help but don’t know what to do. They can loan us their names for a letter, and they have to be ready to confirm that they authored the letter when all those various newspapers call them for confirmation.”
3) Palin Calls Her Political Career a ‘Divine Calling’
Bailey writes Palin often compared herself to the biblical heroine Queen Esther and that she believed her campaign and life in politics was a “divine calling.” In June 2006, Palin wrote an email to Bailey describing the calling, and in the exchange she used a line close to her 2008 campaign mantra, “I know what I know what I know.”
“i was at Wasilla Bible Church…and the service was awesome b.c. he talked about just knowing that you know that you know…you know when you’re called for something…there’s no guarantee of the outcome but you just know, with a confidence that can only comes (sic) from God, that you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing, even though there’s no crystal ball to tell you how it will all end. Our pastor…talked about Solomon having to build the temple when he was young & inexperienced & there were political tensions and struggles all over the place…my mum looked at me and said: do you think he’s talking to you?!”
Bailey writes that Palin reached out to her “prayer warriors” to pray for everything from victory to an end to the “unfair treatment” from her campaign rivals. This is something she would return to in the 2008 presidential campaign.
4) Todd Palin Laughed at a Doctored Nude Photo of His Wife
Bailey writes about a doctored pornographic photograph being emailed to Palin’s gubernatorial campaign account, with the candidate’s head atop a nude body. Bailey quickly called Todd to relay his concern and writes that Todd’s response was “Is it real?”
“He laughed in his quiet Todd-way and said, ‘Well she walks around the house with her robe open and with all those windows we have, well, you know…”
Bailey writes: “If it were my wife, faked X-rated photo or not, I’d be horrified. Todd? His was a Ha, ha, what-the-hell response. He seemed not to care much either way. When I assured him that it was probably a PhotoShopped job, that someone had taken her head and pasted it onto some Playmate of the Year’s body, I felt as if I’d wasted words. Naked photos: not such a big deal.”
5) Palin Couldn’t Remember Her Public Stance on Abstinence
Although Bailey acknowledges helping encourage the Palin veepstakes chatter by emailing with the Draft Palin bloggers, he was surprised when his boss is tapped to be John McCain’s No. 2. “No question this would be an exciting choice, but did McCain and his people know just how exciting?” he writes, adding that very little to no vetting of Palin was conducted before she was chosen.
Bailey writes that in the early days of the campaign, the Alaska governor “went into a panic” because she didn’t remember what her public stance on sex education was. Palin “ordered” him to examine the Alaska Family Council campaign survey from 2006 to find out whether she was in favour of abstinence-only education, he writes.
“When I found out Sarah had indicated she supported abstinence-until-marriage education and explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support, we realised an unwed pregnant daughter made that position potentially embarrassing. We focused on the word explicit to downplay Sarah’s opposition.”
6) Bailey: Palin Blamed Me for Troopergate
The unpublished manuscript chronicles how Bailey transformed from adoring aide to vengeful score-settler, and it’s clear he feels that he was blamed unfairly for the Troopergate affair, although he remained in the administration until she resigned as governor in July 2009. He accuses Palin of telling him not to come to a press conference at which he was blamed for trying to pressure the state troopers to investigate and dismiss Palin’s former brother-in-law, Mike Wooten—at the Palins’ request. But then Palin told the press she had no idea where Bailey was, he writes, making it appear as if he was hiding from wrongdoing.
“Eventually I would learn this reaction was indicative of a beast inside Sarah Palin,” he writes. “Her image is micro-managed on a minute-by-minute basis, and she has no interest in reflecting the truth when it might tarnish, even a smidgeon, her gloss. If she had any empathy for anyone, it lasted only as long as was convenient.”
Shushannah Walshe covers politics for The Daily Beast. She is the co-author of Sarah From Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar. She was a reporter and producer at the Fox News Channel from August 2001 until the end of the 2008 presidential campaign.
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