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Palin takes readers inside ’08 campaign

Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin offers readers a front-row seat to the ups and downs of Campaign 2008 in her new book, going into detail over her continual bumping of heads with John McCain’s staff.  She also extends an offer to Hillary Clinton.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

A lot of folks would pay good money to be a fly on the wall at this coffee klatch. In her upcoming memoir “Going Rogue,” former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says she would welcome a sit-down with ex-Democratic presidential challenger Hillary Clinton.

NBC’s Mike Viqueira offered eye-opening, exclusive excerpts from Palin’s new book on TODAY Sunday, two days before the book’s official release. “Going Rogue” is already a hit out of the gate, with a massive first printing of 1.5 million copies and advance orders putting it at, or near, the top of best-seller lists.

A coffee summit?While Palin offers readers a front-row seat to the ups and downs of Campaign 2008, and goes into detail over her continual bumping of heads with John McCain’s staff, the former Alaskan governor offers an invite of sorts to Clinton in her book. Clinton lost a hard-fought battle for the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, who later named her his Secretary of State.

“Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues, but my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail,” Palin writes.

Palin then offers a nod to their political sisterhood, writing, “Compared to the guys she squared off against, a lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed, ‘If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.’ ”

Clinton herself appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, and when told of Palin’s words, she indicated Palin should start brewing the joe.

“Absolutely would look forward to having coffee,” Clinton told moderator David Gregory. “I’ve never met her. I think it would be very interesting to sit down and talk with her. I’m ready to have a cup of coffee, and maybe I can make a case on some of those issues we disagree on.”

While Palin looks forward to a meeting with Clinton, she looks back in describing the rough-and-tumble 2008 campaign with a slew of anecdotes that have raised the ire of McCain campaign staff. McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt has already derided Palin’s book, saying “it’s all fiction.”

Claims she was micromanaged Palin contends that Schmidt and other McCain staffers tried to micromanage her during the 2008 campaign, silencing her by sending her off the campaign trail for crucial days at a time. When poll numbers lagged, Palin says Schmidt’s solution was to hire a nutritionist for her.

“You’ve told me how to dress, what to say, who to talk to, a lot of people not to talk to; who my heroes are supposed to be, and we’re still losing,” Palin writes. “Now you’re going to tell me what to eat?”

Palin also offers insights into trying to give her all to a campaign when her family life was being turned upside down. She reveals that just a month after the April 2008 birth of her son Trig, who has Down syndrome, her daughter Bristol, then 17, informed her she was pregnant by boyfriend Levi Johnston.

Palin says she was just beginning to hit the campaign trail when, on Sept. 1, she received shocking news on her hotel TV. “I was standing in the bathroom, brushing my teeth and enjoying the novelty of watching the news at the same time, when a crawl scrolled across the bottom of the screen — ‘Breaking: Vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter Bristol is pregnant.’

“I nearly gagged on my toothbrush. ‘Oh, God,’ I thought. ‘Here we go.’ ”

She also writes that she was so thoroughly vetted — the McCain camp even reviewed transcripts of sermons that pastors had given at her local church — she was pleased that “they knew exactly what they’re getting.”

Sarah Palin

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Sarah Palin

View images of her rise from governor of Alaska to a potential presidential contender.

Still, she contends she was forced to zip her lip when it came to potentially explosive views that may have not jibed with the official campaign line. In a campaign session with Schmidt, Palin told him about her creationist views.

She writes: “But your dad’s a science teacher,” Schmidt objected. “Yes.” “Then you know science proves evolution,” added Schmidt. I said, “But I believe that God created us and also that He can create an evolutionary process that allows species to change and adopt.” Schmidt winced and raised his eyebrows. In the dim light, his sunglasses shifted atop his ear. I had just dared to the mention the C-word: creationism. But I felt I was on solid factual ground.”

Palin eyeing 2012?Palin hits the book-hawking circuit in earnest Wednesday, taking a weeklong promotional bus tour through nine states. It may be no coincidence those nine states are considered presidential battlegrounds in 2012, but GOP consultant Stuart Roy told NBC News he doesn’t believe Palin’s book is a prelude to a presidential run of her own.

“Given the moves she has done, I don’t believe that she’s eyeing 2012 so much as she’s eyeing being a leader of the conservative movement,” Roy said.

Speaking with Lester Holt on TODAY, Gregory added that Palin’s book provides even more evidence McCain truly went with a wild card in choosing Palin as his running mate.

“A lot of [the book] underscores how risky this decision was by John McCain to put her on the ticket,” Gregory said. “They were going for a big splash, but they also got a lot of headaches with Sarah Palin, and in the end, she proved to be a liability.”