1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Book cover of "America by Heart"
Anonymous  /  AP
Sarah Palin writes in her new book that it was "disgusting" to watch the estranged father of her grandchild exploit his sudden fame.
updated 11/19/2010 2:45:13 PM ET 2010-11-19T19:45:13

In her new book, Sarah Palin takes on everything from "American Idol" to "American Beauty" to "Murphy Brown," revives talk of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Levi Johnston and takes issue with JFK's famous religion speech, saying he "wanted to run away from religion."

Who gets praise? Simon Cowell, for one. Barack Obama? Unsurprisingly, not so much — she accuses him of "a stark lack of faith in the American people," among many other things.

The former Alaska governor's potential presidential ambitions have been the subject of increasing chatter recently, with her every remark parsed for clues as to her 2012 plans. In the new book, Palin does not detail her plans but speaks of a need for new leaders.

"We're worried that our leaders don't believe what we believe, that America is an exceptional nation, the shining city on a hill that Ronald Reagan believed it is," she writes. "We want leaders who share this fundamental belief. We deserve such leaders."

Palin devotes several pages to a discussion of John F. Kennedy's noted speech on religion during the 1960 campaign — a speech many saw as crucial in persuading the country to elect a Catholic president. "I am not the Catholic candidate for president," Kennedy said then. "I am the Democratic Party's candidate for president, who happens also to be a Catholic."

Discussing her own faith, Palin writes that JFK's speech "essentially declared religion to be such a private matter that it was irrelevant to the kind of country we are." Kennedy, she says, "seemed to want to run away from religion." She praises Mitt Romney, a Mormon, for not "doing a JFK" during his campaign for the 2008 GOP nomination, but instead speaking forthrightly of how his faith would inform his presidency.

Palin also returns to the subject of Wright, Obama's controversial former pastor. And she revisits Michelle Obama's comment during the presidential race that "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I am really proud of my country."

"I guess this shouldn't surprise us, since both of them spent almost two decades in the pews of the Reverend Jeremiah Wright's church listening to his rants against America and white people," Palin writes.

On the subject of Levi Johnston, Parlin writes that it was "disgusting" to watch the estranged father of her grandson exploit his sudden fame after she was chosen as U.S. Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 election. She alleges that he was absent when her daughter Bristol Palin gave birth to Tripp and that he disgraced himself by repeatedly criticizing the Palins.

"Of course, we all had to bite our tongues — more than once — as Tripp's father went on a media tour through Hollywood and New York, spreading untruths and exaggerated rhetoric," Palin writes. "It was disgusting to watch as his fifteen minutes of fame were exploited by supposed adults taking advantage of a lost kid."

Johnston, who has feuded often with the Palins over the past two years, said last month he wasn't doing any more interviews for a while.

  1. More in books
    1. Harlan Coben returns with ‘Six Years’
    2. ‘I Would Die 4 U’: How Prince became an icon
    3. ‘Until I Say Good-Bye’: Living for love in the face of ALS
    4. Letters from the life of George H.W. Bush
    5. Mom turns sleeping baby into fairy-tale star
On a lighter subject, the author takes aim at "American Idol," even though her daughter, Bristol Palin, is in the thick of a much-scrutinized run on "Dancing with the Stars." Palin refers to Idol's "talent-deprived" contestants who suffer from "the cult of self-esteem" to the extent that they grew up convinced they could be stars like Michael Jackson.

But Simon Cowell, the acerbic judge who left the show at the end of last season? He is "almost alone in his willingness to tell hard truths," Palin writes.

Her pop-culture critique is not limited to "Idol." Palin praises Jimmy Stewart's uplifting "It's a Wonderful Life," which teaches, she says, that "working hard and doing the right thing pays off in the end." Now look, she writes, at Kevin Spacey's character in "American Beauty," who comes home and tells his wife he quit his job and blackmailed his boss and asks her to pass the asparagus. "Message: Hard work is for suckers and brainwashed, brain-dead drones."

  1. More from TODAY.com
    1. 'Forever in your debt': K-9 buried with full police honors after dying in line of duty

      More than 1,000 people and dozens of service dogs attended the funeral service last week for Kye, a 3-year-old Belgian Ger...

    2. See Kim Kardashian, Pippa Middleton, others party at GQ awards
    3. Music lessons may boost poor kids' brainpower, study suggests
    4. Our family is expanding: TODAY viewers share adorable pet-assisted announcements
    5. 3 ways to make your squats less boring

On the other hand, "Juno," the movie where a pregnant teen chooses to keep her baby, earns Palin's praise. "Most Americans, I think, are a lot like Juno," she writes — they may not be actively religious, but they want to do the right thing.

Palin's book, "America by Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag," is not out until next week, but pages were posted Wednesday on the blog Palingates. Palin's previous book, the memoir "Going Rogue," was a million seller.

The former Alaska governor will start a promotional tour next week for "America by Heart." As with "Going Rogue," she will not make appearances in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, San Francisco or other cities usually included on book tours. She will spend little time on either coast, sticking mostly to the South, Southwest and Midwest.

Palin, a commentator for the Fox News Channel, also will be interviewed by Fox hosts Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren. Her book is being published by HarperCollins, a sister company with Fox of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Palin: You betcha I can beat Obama

  1. Closed captioning of: Palin: You betcha I can beat Obama

    >>> more now on sarah palin . her new book set to be released next week. we're getting an early look at some of the people she's taking aim at in it. norah o'donnell has details on that. good morning to you.

    >> good morning. sarah palin 's book is called "america by heart," settles old scores by levi johnston and her daughter's chastity and the stars on " american idol ."

    >> sarah hit is everywhere, on her hit reality of alaska, the front of a magazine and interview with barbara walters . in the special, she admits she has barack obama in her sights.

    >> i'm looking at the lay of the land now and trying to figure that out, if it's a good thing for the country, for the discourse, for my family, if it's a good thing.

    >> if you ran for president, could you beat barack obama ?

    >> i believe so.

    >> palin's new book, which is of the strengths and virtues that made this country great comes out next week but a blogger that has excerpts from the book, palin writes about the personal, including fresh criticism of levi johnston the father of the daughter bristol . because the new father wasn't there until the end of bristol 's lay ber, i helped deliver tripp.

    >> she praises her dedication to abstinence and dredges up the '90s sitcom murphy brown that got dan quayle in hot water. palin writes i'm biased but given a choice of role models between bristol and murphy brown , i choose bristol .

    >> another palin target, " american idol " and blames its producers for providing a supply of people who can't sing but deluded enough to get up in front of a national televised audience and screech out a song anyway. ironically, it's bristol getting criticized these days for lack of talent. just this week, she advanced to the finals of abc's " dancing with the stars " despite receiving the lowest scores from the judge's panel.

    >> the judges scores are important, but viewers don't necessarily go by them. they will vote based on who they think deserves to go to the next step.

    >> conspiracy theiorists are accusing sarah palin 's tea party getting out the vote for bristol which she denies.

    >> when they say that, i say, think of all the people that hate my mom. why don't we talk about that.

    >> back to the 2012 election and "new york times" article this week, palin acknowledges if she decides to run for president, she would face the challenge of proving her qualifications and expanding her small close-knit and secretive team of advisors. matt.

    >> norah o'donnell. shu very much.

Photos: Sarah Palin

loading photos...
  1. A scene from the TV show Sarah Palin's Alaska. Sarah Palin ready to head up the river in Todd's boat to see the fish counting in Dillingham, where the Palin family usually spend 4th of July. (Gilles Mingasson / TLC via Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Sarah Palin is handed Sophie, a 10-week-old puppy, for a signature during the kick-off of the Tea Party Express bus tour at a rally on Monday, Oct. 18, 2010, in Reno, Nev. (Julie Jacobson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Sarah Palin talks to supporters at an "Evening with Sarah Palin" event on Wednesday, May 12, 2010, in Rosemont, Ill. (Jim Prisching / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. People walk by a window display of "Going Rogue: an American Life", a book from former Republican vice-president candidate Sarah Palin, as it hit stores on November 17, 2009, in New York. Palin's book has already become a bestseller, with pre-release sales knocking Dan Brown's latest thriller off the number one spot on Amazon.com. (Emmanuel Dunand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. In the November 23 issue of Newsweek: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Sarah? She’s Bad News for the GOP - And For Everybody Else Too, Evan Thomas looks at the impact of Sarah Palin on politics. The cover sparked controversy with Sarah Palin blasting the "out-of-context" cover as "sexist" because the photos were originally published in 'Runners World.' Palin took issue with Newsweek using a photo from an article about fitness to promote an analysis piece contemplating her relevance in politics. (PRNewsFoto via Newsweek) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. This photo taken Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009 shows talk-show host Oprah Winfrey, second from right, with former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her daughters, Willow, right, and Piper, left, during the taping of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago. Although Sarah Palin didn't answer Oprah's question about whether or not Levi Johnston was invited for Thanksgiving dinner, Sarah told Oprah that Levi is "still part of the family" and "he needs to know hes loved. When Palin was asked about a 2012 run, Palin said, "It's not on my radar screen." (George Burns / Harpo productions via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin announces that she is stepping down from her position as Governor in Wasilla, Alaska on Friday July 3, 2009. The former Republican vice presidential candidate made the surprise announcement, saying she would step down July 26 but didn't announce her plans. (AP Photo/The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, Robert DeBerry) (Robert Deberry / The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Susan Wynalek, right, of Coltsneck, N.J., her daughter Stephanie, center and son Brett participate in a "Fire David Letterman" rally across from the Ed Sullivan Theater, on June 16, 2009 in New York. The protest was held in response to jokes he made on "The Late Show" about Sarah Palin and her teenage daughter. (Mary Altaffer / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Sen. John McCain concedes victory during an election night rally in Phoenix, Ariz., on Nov. 4, 2008. The Republican and running mate Sarah Palin were defeated by a wide margin. (Mike Blake / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Sarah Palin accepts the vice-presidential nomination before a packed house at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. In her speech, she criticized the “Washington elite” that had raised questions about her qualifications. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Sen. John McCain, center, greets Bristol Palin and her boyfriend Levi Johnston as running mate Sarah Palin looks on. (Charles Dharapak / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. This picture provided by John McCain's campaign shows his running mate Sarah Palin, left, meeting with first lady Laura Bush, center, and McCain's wife Cindy in Minneapolis on Sept. 2, 2008. (Johnmccain.com / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Sen. John McCain greets supporters as he arrives with running mate Sarah Palin, center, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee at a campaign rally in O'Fallon, Mo., on August 31, 2008. (Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Bristol Palin, 17, holds her brother Trig during the campaign rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her mother as his vice presidential running mate in Dayton, Ohio, on Aug. 29, 2008. (Stephan Savoia / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. An enthusiastic crowd greets Sarah Palin at the rally where Sen. John McCain introduced her as his running mate. (Matt Sullivan / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Palin and her family: son Track and husband Todd, in the back, daughters Willow and Bristol on each side and daughter Piper in the front. (Alaska Governors Office via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, seen here on Aug. 13, 2008, describes herself as a "hockey mom" and an occasional commercial fisherwoman. She oversees a state that’s hardly shy about admiring her swept-back hair and celebrated smile. Bumper stickers and blogs have proclaimed Alaska and Palin: "Coldest State, Hottest Governor." (Marc Lester / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Sarah Palin visits Army Pfc. John Kegley at a U.S. military medical center in Landstuhl, Germany, on July 26, 2007. (Airman 1st Class Kenny Holston / USAF) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Sarah Palin chats with Alaska-based troops serving at a desert camp in Kuwait on July 25, 2007. (Spc. Wesley Landrum / US Army) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Laurie Serino, left, talks about high food and energy prices with Sarah Palin in Barrow, Alaska, on June 30, 2008. Palin had proposed that state lawmakers approve $1,200 emergency payments to Alaska residents to help deal with rising costs. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd hold their baby boy, Trig, in Anchorage on April 23, 2008. Palin's fifth child was born with Down syndrome. (Al Grillo / AP ) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Appearing at the state elections office in Anchorage on March 14, 2008, Sarah Palin announces her endorsement of Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell, center, in his run for Alaska's congressional seat. Parnell had just filed to run against incumbent Republican Don Young. (Michael Dinneen / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Typically seen in black or red power suits while reading text messages on Blackberrys in each hand, Sarah Palin has appeared in Vogue, the fashion magazine. (Win McNamee / Getty Images ) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Sarah Palin is sworn in as Alaska's governor on Dec. 4, 2006, in Fairbanks. Alaska's first female governor, she took office on an ethics reform platform after defeating two former governors in the primary and general elections. Holding the Bible is her husband, Todd Palin. (Al Grillo / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Sarah Palin, along with one of her daughters, poses with the caribou she shot in Alaska. Palin grew up hunting and fishing and is a member of the National Rifle Association. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, worked as a news anchor in 1988 for KTUU-TV in Anchorage, Alaska. (KTUU-TV) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Sarah Palin poses for a photo after she won the Miss Wasilla beauty pagent in 1984 in Wasilla, Alaska. She went on to compete in the Miss Alaska competition, where she finished as a runner-up. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Sarah Palin, a star basketball player in high school, stands with her brother, Chuck Heath, and sister, Heather Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath in Alaska. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. This undated photo provided by the Heath family shows Sarah Palin, then Sarah Heath, holding shrimp her father, Chuck, caught in Skagway, Alaska, where he was a school teacher for 5 years. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. This 1964 photo shows Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin with her mother, Sally Heath, in Wasilla, Alaska. Palin was the first Alaskan to run on a national ticket. (Heath Family via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Kirsty Grant / Kirsty Grant

    See why this baby is smiling... and why his dad is cringing

    9/2/2014 5:26:01 PM +00:00 2014-09-02T17:26:01
  1. Dan Hallman / Dan Hallman/Invision/AP

    Joan Rivers remains on life support, her daughter Melissa Rivers says

    9/2/2014 5:59:58 PM +00:00 2014-09-02T17:59:58
  1. Report: ISIS kills second American journalist

    SITE Intel Group, a jihadist monitoring organization, announced on Tuesday that the Islamic militant group ISIS has killed American journalist Steven Joel Sotloff.

    9/2/2014 5:34:24 PM +00:00 2014-09-02T17:34:24
  1. Another American doctor infected with Ebola

    Another American missionary doctor has tested positive for Ebola, an aid group said Tuesday.

    9/2/2014 5:15:35 PM +00:00 2014-09-02T17:15:35