Is Palin Selling Books or Settling Scores?

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is coming out Tuesday with her account of the 2008 presidential campaign.

And her book, "Going Rogue," is putting her at odds - again - with former officials of the McCain campaign, as CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield reports.

From an appearance Oprah Monday, to Barbara Walters Tuesday, to a three-week long blitz starting with a bus tour through much of middle America, Palin is in full-fledged campaign mode. This time the goal is not to win votes, but to sell books. A million-and-a-half them are now in print. But based on what she's written, she may be selling books while settling scores.

Again and again, Sen. John McCain's one-time running mate takes direct aim at the people at the top of McCain's campaign, including campaign chief Steve Schmidt and senior adviser Nicole Wallace.

She charges they micro-managed her; wouldn't let her talk to the press; lulled her into a damaging series of interviews with Katie Couric.

Katie Couric interviews Sarah Palin

While post-campaign backbiting is not unusual in losing campaigns, this, says longtime Washington Post reporter Dan Balz, is in a whole different class.

"This was an absolute, total breakdown within the McCain-Palin camps," Balz said. "And I know that a lot of people, whichever side they were on, felt that it left a stain on the campaign."

The McCain camp has begun to fire back in recent days -- on background, and on the record. Schmidt, for example, has said of Palin's accounts, "it's fiction and it's not true."

Shushannah Walshe, who covered Palin's campaign for FOX News, and who co-authored a book on her, says Palin's account doesn't square with reality.

"This is her truth and this is her reality, but through some rigorous reporting, the scenes are very different," Walshe said.

Some of Palin's toughest words concern the interviews she did with Katie Couric. She writes that Wallace, who had worked with CBS News as a Republican analyst before joining the McCain campaign, convinced her to do the interview, assuring her it would be favorable.

In an interview with CBS News, Wallace said none of the conversations Palin quotes in the book ever took place. McCain aides say the strategy was always for Palin to do network interviews - with Couric coming third, after Charles Gibson and Sean Hannity.

Palin also charges the interviews were unfairly edited - a charge those who ran McCain's campaign dispute.

But no debate about the book, or about Palin's sudden resignation as Alaska governor last summer, will have much impact among her admirers, who are many and ardent.

"Even when people in the Beltway want to dismiss her because of some of these allegations in the book or her resigning her Alaska governorship, they're not going anywhere," Walshe said. "They love her for those 'maverick moves.'"

As for her political future, a new CBS poll suggests she has an uphill climb. Just 23 percent of voters view her favorably, compared with 38 percent who don't. And more than 6 in 10 say she lacks the ability to be an effective president.

But Palin has two years to work on those numbers, and right now, most Republicans view her favorably - many with an intensity no other politician can match.
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