At least two of the real people portrayed in “Game Change” think the film is accurate.
Steve Schmidt, an adviser to Sen. John McCain during the 2008 presidential race, portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the film, said that “Game Change” was “accurate” and “true.”
“I think it was very accurate,” Schmidt said Monday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “For all of us in the campaign, it really rang true. It gave you a little bit of PTSD at times. It did for me. But, look, I think it’s a story of when cynicism and idealism collide. When you have to do things necessary to win, to try to get in office to do the great things you want to do for the country and I think it showed a process of vetting that was debilitated by secrecy, that was compartmentalized, that failed, that led to a result that was reckless for the country.”
Schmidt was one of the main players in the McCain campaign who advocated for Sarah Palin as a running mate. He is depicted in the film as excited about the prospect of Palin at first, and suggests to McCain that she will be a good choice to pander to conservatives and gain some of the spotlight that was being directed at then-Sen. Barack Obama.
During the film, Harrelson’s Schmidt goes from skeptical to anxious as Palin, depicted by Julianne Moore, is shown as unstable and unprepared.
Schmidt said Monday that he ultimately was wrong in his decision to push for Palin as a running mate.
“I think the notion of Sarah Palin being President of the United States is something that frightens me, frankly. And I played a part in that. And played a part in that because we were fueled by ambition to win.”
Nicolle Wallace, a former White House communications director during the Bush years, is shown in the film as having a difficult relationship with Palin. Wallace said Sunday that “Game Change” was “true enough to make me squirm.”
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has bashed the film as inaccurate. In February, Palin said that it “lapsed into a tired routine of manipulating facts and omitting key parts” of her story “in order to push a biased agenda and drive ratings.” Palin spoke out against the film again Friday, saying it is “based on a false narrative.”