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Video: ‘Rogue’ author calls Palin ‘hypocrite, utter fraud’

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    >>> back now at 7:41 with the controversial new tell all book on former alaska governor sarah palin . it was written by long-time political author joe mcginnis, who moved right next door to the palins to do his research. we spoke to him exclusively about some of the bombshell claims he's making.

    >> reporter: from the moment she stepped on to the political stage, sarah palin has been a force.

    >> they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull , lip stick.

    >> reporter: self-styled mama grizzly.

    >> you don't want to mess with moms who are rising up.

    >> reporter: reality tv star.

    >> dang it.

    >> reporter: her large family fascinating the country with its dramas, babies, and feuds.

    >> i hear he goes by the name ricky hollywood now.

    >> reporter: but now a controversial new book takes aim at the image palin projects to the world. "the rogue" a 318-page takedown of palin by best selling author joe mcginnis paints a scathing portrait of the woman who could have been vice president.

    >> utter fraud. an absolute and utter fraud.

    >> reporter: you call her a tenth grade mean girl .

    >> oh, that's -- those are kind words compared to a lot of what you would hear in wasilla today. the thing that i found, savannah, that really surprised me, was that the people who know her best like her least.

    >> reporter: mcginnis spent four months in alaska , claims he spoke to approximately 200 people, a mix of palin 's old associates, acquaintances, and former friends. but his book was causing controversy before he wrote even one word. she had a problem with you living next door.

    >> well, she did. i don't know why she did, because --

    >> reporter: really? you don't know why?

    >> i really don't.

    >> reporter: mcginnis says it was just happenstance that the woman who owns the property next doorpalins in wasilla offered to rent his house to him for the summer. palin revealed her new neighbor on facebook writing wonder what kind of material he'll gather while overlooking piper's bedroom, my little garden, and the family swimming hole. and on her reality show.

    >> piper whispered to me as we're coming up the lawn, mom, that neighbor is out there watching us. he's watching us.

    >> reporter: an editorial in the local paper warns mcginnis alaska has a law that allows the use of deadly force in protection of life and property.

    >> has that been a problem or do you just go with the flow?

    >> like todd says, some people just need to get a life. bless his heart. he needs to get a life.

    >> i was surprised at sarah 's reaction but it taught me something very interesting. she over reacts. she has no modulation in her responses to stress. in other words, she freaks out.

    >> reporter: mcginnis insists he was not there to spy and that anything he learned about the palins from living next door did not go into the book. but the experience becomes a huge part of the story. you really became a character in the book.

    >> well, sarah made me a character. she's a phenomenon. i said that to todd when he came tropical moistue tromping across my lawn to confront me for living next door. he said why are you writing about her anyway? i said, well todd , i've been writing about politics since 1968 . your wife is a phenomenon. there's been no one like her in american politics before, no one who has come from nowhere to get so far.

    >> reporter: in a statement to nbc news, todd palin writes that mcginnis is a man who, quote, tras traffics in innuendo and falsehoods and spent the last year interviewing marginal figures with an ax to grind in order to churn out a hit piece to satisfy his own creepy obsession with my wife. mcginnis talking with those who know palin convinces him there is much less than meets the eye. he accuses the famed hockey mom of using her children as props and reports she was not much of a mother at all.

    >> people who have known that family for the entire period of time that those children were growing up told me in ways that i found very believable that sarah palin was virtually nonexistent as a mother.

    >> reporter: mcginnis describes a rocky palin marriage with todd and sarah fighting and threatening divorce, something they've denied in the past. another bombshell, mcginnis writes that both todd and sarah have used cocaine in the past, a claim that has not been verified. how do you substantiate something like that?

    >> well you talk to somebody who snorted it with her and you talk to many of todd 's friends who describe him as having been on the end of the straw frequently in his youth. i'm not saying todd and sarah palin today abuse cocaine or even use it. but there is no question that they both did at one point in their lives.

    >> reporter: mcginnis also quotes friends who speak of a sexual encounter palin had with basketball star glen rice in 1987 while she was a sports reporter for a local anchorage station prior to her narnmarriage. it is not clear from the book whether rice admits or denies the encounter but he told mcginnis in a short time we got to know a lot about one another. it was all done in a respectful way, nothing hurried. she was a gorgeous woman, super nice. i was blown away by her. afterward she was a big crush that i had. mcginnis portrays palin as hands off when it came to governing alaska but a ruthless political opportunist who crushed her enemies and rarely lived up to the fiscal conservative image she championed.

    >> hypocrite, you know, at the best. at best she's a hypocrite.

    >> reporter: and at worst?

    >> at worst she's a vindictive hypocrite.

    >> reporter: mcginnis says the palin enemy list in alaska is long, but acknowledges he talked to few friends. do you think you were fair to her in the book?

    >> i think i was as fair as i could possibly have been, given the fact that she told all the people who were closest to her not to talk to me.

    >> reporter: now as palin tantalizes supporters with travel to early primary states many wonder just what are her political intentions?

    >> polls? they're for strippers and cross country skiers .

    >> reporter: mcginnis says everything he learned about palin convinces him she won't run.

    >> i think she's going for the easy money. she's going to take the path of least resistance . i don't think that she's going to run for president.

    >> in his statement to nbc news, todd palin says that former members of sarah palin 's administration interviewed for a separate magazine story said the author joe mcginnis was, quote, the most disingenuous and intellectually dishonest writer they had ever dealt with, and palin went on to say, quote, i'd ask the fathers and husbands of america to consider our privacy when one summer day i found this guy on the deck of the rental property just 18 feet away next door to us staring like a creep at my wife while she mowed the lawn in her shorts. well, you can read todd palin 's entire statement to nbc on our website today.com.

By
TODAY contributor
updated 9/15/2011 8:41:33 AM ET 2011-09-15T12:41:33

Before he even wrote a word about Sarah Palin, best-selling author Joe McGinniss was generating headlines just for being her next-door neighbor in Alaska.

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Video: ‘Rogue’ author calls Palin ‘hypocrite, utter fraud’ (on this page)


Turns out that having an inquisitive neighbor was just the tip of the iceberg for Palin now that details from McGinniss’s bombshell-filled book, “The Rogue,’’ have been released. The best-selling political author did not mince words in an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie on Thursday about his 318-page takedown of the former vice presidential candidate in which he interviewed approximately 200 of Palin’s former acquaintances, associates and friends during his four months renting the house next door to Palin in Wasilla, Alaska.

Slideshow: Sarah Palin: Her life in pictures (on this page)

In the book, McGinniss intimates that Palin’s marriage may not be on solid ground, depicts her as using her children as props for her political and reality television career, writes of a salacious encounter with a former professional basketball star, and claims that she and her husband have snorted cocaine. That’s in addition to dismissing her as a politician.

Story: Levi Johnston: Bristol Palin got pregnant to get back at mom

“An utter fraud,’’ McGinniss said of the former governor. “An absolute and utter fraud.’’

As for his calling Palin a “tenth-grade mean girl,’’ McGinniss said that was practically high praise compared to how those in Wasilla described the Fox News pundit.

“Those were kind words compared to a lot of what you would hear in Wasilla today,’’ McGinniss said. “The thing that I found, Savannah, that really surprised me was that the people who know her best like her least.’’

Her political career is not depicted in a much more flattering light, either, as she is portrayed as a hands-off governor and a ruthless political opportunist who did not live up to her “fiscal conservative’’ billing.

“At best, she is a hypocrite,’’ McGinniss said. “At worst, she is a vindictive hypocrite.’’

He does not believe Palin will enter the Republican fray in a bid to run for President, even as she makes the rounds for appearances in early primary states.

“I think she is going for the easy money,’’ McGinniss said. “She is going to take the path of least resistance. I don't think that she is going to run for President.’’

McGinniss, a best-selling author who has been writing about politics since 1968, drew Palin’s ire almost immediately upon moving in next to the self-proclaimed “mama grizzly’’ and her cubs. He said it was merely happenstance that the woman who lived next door to the Palin family happened to be renting her house to him. He claims that he was not there to spy on the Palins and that nothing he gathered by living next door was included in the book, yet makes himself a character in the narrative when he describes Palin’s husband, Todd, stomping across his lawn to confront him.

The Palins felt that McGinniss’s presence was creepy and let the world know about it.

“You know, like Todd says, some people just need to get a life,’’ Sarah Palin told Fox News when asked about McGinniss. “Well, bless his heart. He needs to get a life.’’

Story: Cheney: I don't think Iraq war hurt U.S. reputation

“I was surprised at Sarah's reaction, but it taught me something very interesting — she overreacts,’’ McGinniss said. “She has no modulation in her responses to stress. In other words, she freaks out.’’

It gets personal

“People who've known that family for the entire period of time that those children were growing up told me in ways that I found very believable that Sarah Palin was virtually nonexistent as a mother,’’ McGinniss said.
He also alleges a sexual encounter between Palin and former NBA star Glen Rice in 1987 when she was a sports reporter for a television station in Anchorage before she was married to Todd.

“In a short time, we got to know a lot about one another,’’ Rice told McGinniss. “It was all done in a respectful way, nothing hurried. She was a gorgeous woman, super nice. I was blown away by her. Afterward, she was a big crush that I had.’’

McGinniss also writes that Todd and Sarah Palin used cocaine in their youth, claims he heard from people who said they were “on the end of the straw’’ right next to the couple in their younger days.

“I'm not saying that Todd and Sarah Palin today abuse cocaine or even use it, but there's no question that they both did at one point in their lives,’’ he said.

Story: Statement from Todd Palin regarding Joe McGinniss' ‘The Rogue’

Yesterday, Todd Palin released an official statement to NBC:

“This is a man who has been relentlessly stalking my family to the point of moving in right next door to us to harass us and spy on us. He traffics in innuendo and falsehoods. A few years ago he interviewed members of Sarah's administration for a magazine article, and afterwards they said that he was the most disingenuous and intellectual dishonest writer they'd ever dealt with. He's spent the last year interviewing marginal figures with an axe to grind in order to churn out a hit piece to satisfy his own creepy obsession with my wife. I'd ask that people consider these facts when evaluating his latest lies.

"I'd ask the fathers and husbands of America to consider our privacy when one summer day I found this guy on the deck of the rental property, just 18 feet away next door to us, staring like a creep at my wife while she mowed the lawn in her shorts, unbeknownst to her that he was prying. As well as our teenage daughters while they tried to enjoy our traditional Alaskan summer days outdoors. Joe's son told the media he advised his dad not to move from the East Coast to become our next door neighbor, but said his dad 'was just waiting for Todd to be out of the picture.' Sarah has never spoken to this intruder into our lives, our friends and family don't speak to him, so we have no idea where he would come up with content for his book. He was on our doorstep one day trying to make conversation with our son until Track cut the conversation short after discerning Joe's odd behavior, and I spoke to him one time when I saw him 18 feet away, just to find out who he was. He took that conversation and reported it to the media as me 'threatening' him."

McGinniss admitted that he did not gain access to Palin's inner circle, but feels he presented the facts evenly.

“I think I was as fair as I could possibly have been given the fact that she told all the people who were closest to her not to talk to me,’’ he said.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints

Photos: Sarah Palin

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  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
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