Ever since capturing the national spotlight two years ago, Sarah Palin has been catapulted from small-town governor to national celebrity, with inroads in Hollywood and Washington, alike. But a new article is shedding light on what it depicts as the strange world in which the Palins now live. And, for Sarah, its claims are far from flattering.
CBS News correspondent Nancy Cordes noted on "The Early Show" Thursday that Palin is the Republican Party's top draw -- and her influence appears to be growing. She's backed 20 winning candidates in this year's primaries.
But in an article published in this month's Vanity Fair, author Michael Joseph Gross claims Palin is not who she appears to be.
The story portrays Palin as leading a life shrouded in secrecy, using fear to control those around her.
Andrew Barr, of POLITICO.com, told CBS News, "Everyone who was leaking, who was talking to the press has been cut out of her circle."
The article gives new details on Palin's heavily-publicized campaign spending habits, saying she purchased over 400 items, including underwear for $3,000 and a new wardrobe for her husband, Todd, that came to $2,000.
Barr said, "When you go though campaign e-mails, if you go through disclosures, it seems like they're (trying) to bilk the RNC (Republican National Committee) and others for as much money as they could get."
The article also sheds light on Palin's public feud with her daughter's former fiancé, Levi Johnston.
Gross claims that, before Johnston issued a public apology to Palin, she met with him privately and demanded to know if he was wearing a wire. In an exclusive interview with "The Early Show" last Friday, Johnston said he regretted having made the apology.
Johnston said, "The only thing I wish I wouldn't have done is put out that apology, 'cause it kind of makes me sound like the liar."
Palin has not commented on the article. In two weeks, she will headline a GOP event in the early presidential primary state of Iowa, adding to the speculation about her political plans for 2012.
Vanity Fair writer Michael Joseph Gross said on "The Early Show" Thursday his upcoming article, in this month's issue, "Sarah Palin: The Sound and the Fury," has an important quote from Palin.
He explained, "When Sarah Palin got back to Wasilla after the election, she was in her house. The people from the Republican Party were trying to collect the clothing that had been purchased for return. She was talking to one of her children, she was crying and she said, 'We weren't good enough for America. We'll never be good enough for America.' I think she felt so rejected by this election that what we're seeing subsequently has been a kind of vengeance on the country for rejecting her. I think what she's doing is plugging into a similar sense of rejection among millions of people out there who feel like they're not good enough."
Gross said he had difficulty reaching Palin's camp, but he did reach some people who were close to her.
He said, "The people who have been closest to her describe a temper that at first I couldn't even believe could be true. They'd tell stories about screaming fits, about throwing things."
Gross continued, "We're talking about everybody from friends who have stayed with the Palins who have witnessed events where Sarah and Todd will empty the pantry of canned goods, throwing them at each other until the front of the refrigerator looks like it's been shot up by a shotgun -- everything from that to former assistants who have been so tortured by Sarah Palin that, in one case, one had to quit the job, seek psychiatric counseling and leave the state to escape her influence. Because everybody who has worked with her has seen the way she exacts retribution on people after they leave. They're afraid she's going to get them fired from their job, try to ruin their reputations. That's the modus operandi."
"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill said, "Those are some pretty strong allegations. You tried to get in touch with Sarah Palin, with her media people. A, were you successful? And B, did they tell you why they wouldn't speak with you -- because they didn't -- for this article?"
Gross replied, "The only responses I received from them is that my request was under consideration. There was never any resolution to the conversation. That message was sent multiple times. And I tried everything. I tried sending messages through her father, through her hairdresser. I spent almost three weeks in Wasilla."