'Game Change': Palin Breakdown Meme Crushed by Facts
It has been well established that HBO's anti-Sarah Palin movie, "Game Change," is full of distortions about the former vice presidential candidate.
I covered some of them in a piece on Big Hollywood titled "Top 10 Lies of HBO's 'Game Change." In it, I briefly mentioned the fact that the movie depicts Palin as having a mental breakdown during the 2008 campaign.
At the 68 minute mark in the movie, the filmmakers show Palin (Julianne Moore) at a table with campaign staff going over material to prep for her debate against Joe Biden. The movie depicts Palin as being detached and unresponsive. She mutters to herself about missing her baby.
They want you to believe that she had a complete mental meltdown. Just like most of the movie, this simply isn't true. As a matter of fact, it's impossible.
Keep in mind that at the beginning of that scene, the filmmakers stamp the bottom left-hand corner of the screen with the location and date they claim the events took place. It says "Philadelphia September 27."
In the next scene, Mark Wallace (Ron Livingston) is talking to Steve Schmidt (Woody Harrelson) and Rick Davis (Peter MacNicol) in a conference call about Mark's concern Palin is "mentally unstable." Wallace claims she "constantly slips into these catatonic stupors." He also says that "the debate is in five days."
So, considering that the real Vice Presidential Debate between Palin and Biden took place on October 2nd, they claim this conversation also took place on September 27th. Next scene, cut to a shot of Palin in her bathrobe, losing it, laying on the floor in her hotel room with note-cards scattered all around.
This photo was released by SarahPAC not too long ago (Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead/SarahPAC). It show the real Sarah Palin working at the podium, prepping for her debate in Philadelphia. This is the same time and room that the movie depicted, only it shows that Palin is clearly functional. Does she look mentally unhinged?
According to the makers of "Game Change," Palin spent Sept. 27, 2008 losing her mind while prepping for the upcoming debate with campaign staff, and then in a "catatonic stupor" in her hotel room later that evening. But according to Peter Hamby, the real Palin was actually taking questions in a Philadelphia restaurant:
Sarah Palin partook in an established political ritual on Saturday night when she headed to Tony Luke's in south Philadelphia to order a pair of cheesesteaks with whiz and onions.
But as the kitchen sizzled and orders were barked out, Palin found herself talking politics, calling McCain's debate performance "awesome" and taking questions from a voter about the hunt for terrorists in Pakistan.
This is actual video from the date that "Game Change" portrayed Palin as having her "meltdown." Does this look like a woman who spent the better part of the day "slipping into catatonic stupors?"
The next morning, the real Palin met with Blue Star Moms at a downtown Philadelphia coffee house:
Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin met Sunday with a group of military mothers at a downtown eatery, the third day of a swing through this Democratic stronghold.
The Alaska governor, along with her 14-year-old daughter, Willow, spent about 45 minutes sipping a skinny white chocolate mocha and talking privately with four women whose children are serving in the military overseas.
Palin's son, Track, 19, is deploying for service in Iraq.
As they sat at a table at Di Bruno Bros. gourmet food shop, one of the women, Julie Devitt, got a call from her son, Glen, who deployed to Iraq with the Army in December. She handed the phone to Palin, who spoke with the sergeant briefly.
Also, the night before the phony mental breakdown, the real Palin attended a Presidential debate watching party at an Irish Pub:
Fresh off an afternoon jog along the Schuylkill River, Sarah Palin stopped by a debate watching party at The Irish Pub on Walnut Street in downtown Philadelphia. It was an invite-only event that pulled in about 450 McCain supporters who had been drinking and eating for several hours before the candidate arrived (around 7:20PM EST). It was Palin's first campaign stop in Philadelphia this cycle.
How do the makers of "Game Change" explain the fact that Palin was (according to their sources) losing her mental grasp, yet at the same time, attending campaign events and talking to the press? People who are truly mentally ill and "constantly falling into catatonic stupors" cannot turn off their symptoms to take questions from CNN.
Does this look like a woman on the verge of a mental breakdown?
Thomas Van Flein, Governor Palin's attorney during the 2008 campaign, in his interview with Big Hollywood's Christian Toto last week, stated:
She was focused, diligent and completely involved. I wouldn’t have agreed for her deposition to go forward if she was depressed, fragile or emotionally distraught as portrayed in the movie.”
Van Flein suggests it isn't just his word against the sources relied upon to construct the film. Palin’s campaign plane had plenty of reporters on hand to cover the governor’s every move. Certainly a few members of the press would have dutifully reported a “catatonic” or over-stressed vice presidential candidate had they witnessed on, he says.
HBO didn't cover those Philadelphia campaign events in their movie. They also didn't cover much of the 2008 economic collapse, which the McCain campaign was dealing with on and around the date of September 27th. In fact, per Schmidt's advice, McCain suspended his campaign on September 24th.The weekend that Palin was in Philadelphia studying and drinking coffee with military moms, the leadership of the McCain camp was having its own meltdown.
In October of 2008, The New York Times wrote an article detailing the McCain campaign's response to the financial crisis. They wrote (emphasis):
By the time the September 28th rolled around, the day Schmidt met up with Palin in Philadelphia, everyone knew what a colossal mistake the McCain campaign had made by suspending its operation. Barack Obama came off looking sober in comparison, and the media has touted him as having a "calm demeanor" ever since.
On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 24, John McCain convened a meeting in his suite at the Hilton hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Among the handful of campaign officials in attendance were McCain’s chief campaign strategist, Steve Schmidt, and his other two top advisers: Rick Davis, the campaign manager; and Mark Salter... The meeting was to focus on how McCain should respond to the crisis — but also, as one participant later told me, “to try to see this as a big-picture, leadership thing.”
Schmidt pushed for going all in suspending the campaign, recommending that the first debate be postponed, parachuting into Washington and forging a legislative solution to the financial crisis for which McCain could then claim credit... Schmidt and others convinced McCain that it was worth the gamble...
Schmidt evidently saw the financial crisis as a “true character” moment that would advance his candidate’s narrative. But the story line did not go as scripted. “This has to be solved by Monday,” Schmidt told reporters that Wednesday afternoon in late September, just after McCain concluded his lengthy meeting with his advisers and subsequently announced his decision to suspend his campaign and go to Washington.
McCain failed to deliver the performance that had been promised. Of course, this was no mere movie. America was in crisis...
Steve Schmidt had advised McCain to “go in all the way” on the financial crisis so as to reveal his candidate’s true character. But given a chance to show what kind of president he might be, McCain came off more like a stymied bystander than a leader who could make a difference. Judging by the polls, the McCain campaign has yet to recover.
Palin wrote about her time in Philadelphia in the book "Going Rogue." Not surprisingly, she had a much different take on what happened there. She admits that the debate prep wasn't very productive. She didn't like the dark room, the "non-answer, answer" note-cards that they wanted her to study, or the fact that the staff was cranky due to the falling poll numbers since the economic collapse.
Here's a photo of Palin in the Rangers jersey prepping for her debate with Mark Wallace (Photo Credit: Shealah Craighead). Does she look like someone losing her mind, or does she look like someone who is calmly annoyed? This photo on page 433 is in the book "Going Rogue" with the following description: "This picture says it all. A dark hotel room in Philadelphia and a frustrated Mark Wallace trying to tell me which of his non-answers I should give during debate prep. The atmosphere immediately turned around when we headed to Arizona for more prep in the great outdoors at McCain's ranch.
When Schmidt took a break from his trip to Washington, DC, he joined the crew prepping for the vice presidential debate. He entered the room they were working in, Palin wrote:
Schmidt leveled his eyes at me. "We don't have the money Obama does and the numbers don't look good. We've got to change things up." I agree. I was eager to hear a new strategy. "So," he continued, "headquarters is flying in a nutritionist."
"Oh, good ... the team could probably use a nutritionist," I said. The chain smoking, junk-food-packing, recirculated-air-breathing habits of some of the staffers were probably catching up to them. They'd been on the road a long time. The more I thought about it, the more I realized Schmidt really did have a great idea.
"No, it's for you," he said, "You gotta get off that Atkins Diet."
I had to do a mental double take. The Atkins bars - that must be it. They were everywhere, in every hotel room and on every snack table along the trail. They were great when I didn't have time to slow down and eat, but I didn't know why they were all over the place.
"I'm not on the Atkins Diet, Steve." "Don't you know what a high-protein diet does?" he asked, ignoring what I had just said. He then launched into a discussion of nutrition physiology, holding forth on the importance of carbohydrates to cognitive connections and blah,blah, blah. As he lectured, I took in his rotund physique and noted that he used nicotine to keep his own cognitive connections humming along.
The movie depicts this in a scene as though Palin's diet was contributing to her "catatonic" mental state. But in reality, Schmidt was the one losing it. He was in panic mode after witnessing the results of his bad advice, and he turned his focus to obsessing over Palin's diet.
Here was a guy totally in over his head who had just made the biggest miscalculation of his career. The campaign that he was in charge of was having its own crisis, and he knew the decision that he made was the main reason for that. In order to avert having his own professional crisis, he decided it was time to throw someone under the bus. And under the bus Palin went.
People who are honest and who paid attention during the campaign know what happened in 2008. Eric Schnurer, the liberal founder and president of Public Works has noted:
When the economy (and McCain campaign) collapsed, the McCain-Palin ticket was ahead and just about every Democratic consultant I knew believed they were headed to victory – and that was largely because of Palin, whose selection galvanized a base that McCain needed and otherwise lacked.
Michael Goldfarb, who also worked for the 2008 McCain/Palin campaign, also recently wrote:
We lost that campaign partly because of events beyond our control, and partly as a result of bad counsel given by the same people who are apparently so flatteringly portrayed in this movie. John McCain deserved better than to be betrayed by his own top aides, and true to form he has honorably stuck by Gov. Palin even as she's been smeared in the press over and over again by the same self-serving former staffers.
Van Flein also spoke to Christian Toto about Schmidt:
The legal eagle recalls his less than positive first encounter with Schmidt, a phone conversation in which the campaign manager yelled repeatedly and used profanity in trying to access emails from Palin’s tenure as governor.
“I was troubled to learn he was the campaign manager,” says Van Flein, who ended up participating in several campaign conference calls featuring Schmidt.
“My impression was that the campaign was being run by someone who was in over his head and was too emotional to handle the pressure of a campaign was reinforced,” he recalls.
The sources used by HBO to sell this notion that Palin is "unstable" have no credibility. That didn't stop them from running with it because as many have pointed out recently, they themselves have an agenda.
The timing of this film was originally designed to harm Palin in this year's presidential contest, but she decided not to run.
So the left had to settle for trying to harm any future political aspirations she may have in the future. They want to define Sarah Palin for the country, and they want people to believe that she is unstable, therefore, unfit for office.
This won't work, however, because what they claim transpired in Philadelphia never happened. The timeline of real events prove the cruelest of lies to be false.