Politics

Nicolle Wallace: Mentally ill VP character inspired by Sarah Palin

J. Arthur Bloom Deputy Editor
Font Size:

There are striking similarities between the fictional vice president in Nicolle Wallace’s new book, and Sarah Palin, the vice presidential candidate whose campaign she once worked for. Both were catapulted from relative obscurity to the national spotlight. And both are women.

But a more controversial trait of the fictional character is likely to raise hackles among Palin supporters: Wallace’s fictional politician is neurotic and habitually unprepared.

“The idea of a mentally ill vice president who suffers in complete isolation was obviously sparked by the behaviors I witnessed by Sarah Palin,” Wallace said in an interview with Time.

“She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain’s running mate.”

“There certainly were discussions — not for long because of the arc the campaign took — but certainly there were discussions about whether, if they were to win, it would be appropriate for her to be sworn in.”

Wallace served as senior advisor to the 2008 McCain-Palin campaign, after a stint as communications chief in the Bush administration. A 2008 interview in The Daily Beast described her as “Palin’s chaperone.”

Wallace admits that many situations and characters in her second novel bear some resemblance to the real thing. “If they do seem realistic, it’s by design,” she said.

In 2009 Wallace sniped at Palin for statements in her memoir “Going Rogue.” Palin described a situation where Wallace cajoled her into doing an interview with Katie Couric by citing the anchor’s low self-esteem.

Wallace later released a statement to MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow saying the passage was “a fictional description.” The two are not on speaking terms.