Senator John McCain’s running mate was ripped apart by the press long before she landed in the pages of “Game Change.” But Halperin and Heilemann crystallize the whispers and rumors from the campaign trail into a particularly damning portrait in the book.
Palin, who was thoroughly unversed in foreign affairs, is described as unresponsive, even immature in her interview and debate preparation sessions.
“When her aides tried to quiz her, she would routinely shut down,” the authors write. “Chin on her chest, arms folded, eyes cast to the floor, speechless and motionless, lost in what those around her described as a kind of catatonic stupor.”
Even more chilling were the campaign staff members’ fear of a “threatening possibility: that Palin was mentally unstable.” McCain’s top lieutenants had discussed what to do with Palin if their candidate actually won in November. They decided, write Heilemann and Halperin, to relegate Palin “to the largely ceremonial role that premodern vice presidents inhabited”: “it was inconceivable” that “if McCain fell ill or died, the country be left in the hands of a President Palin.”