Program Note: Tune in to hear more from Todd Purdum tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
Todd S. Purdum
Despite her disastrous performance in the 2008 election, Sarah Palin is still the sexiest brand in Republican politics, with a lucrative book contract for her story. But what Alaska’s charismatic governor wants the public to know about herself doesn’t always jibe with reality. As John McCain’s top campaign officials talk more candidly than ever before about the meltdown of his vice-presidential pick, the author tracks the signs—political and personal—that Palin was big trouble, and checks the forecast for her future.
The crowds begin streaming into the Evansville Auditorium and Convention Centre a couple of hours before the arrival of the “special guest speaker” at the Vanderburgh County Right to Life dinner on a soft Indiana spring evening—nearly 2,200 people in the banquet hall, 800 more in an adjacent auditorium watching the proceedings on a live video feed. The menu is thick slices of roast pork and red velvet cake, washed down with pitchers of iced tea, and when Sarah Palin finally enters, escorted by a phalanx of sheriff’s deputies and local police, she is mobbed.
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