Sarah Palin is stirring controversy with her new book even before it is on shelves, complaining she was all bottled up by advisers to Republican presidential candidate John McCain last year.
But several former campaign advisers to McCain on Friday disputed his running mate's charge that she was mishandled, with one calling it another instance of her resorting to exaggerations or fiction.
The former governor of Alaska has become a popular conservative firebrand and her book, Going Rogue: An American Life, is to hit bookshelves with great fanfare on Tuesday as she embarks on a campaign-style book tour through a dozen states.
The Drudgereport website provided some excerpts that point to oft-reported strains within the McCain-Palin campaign.
The extended review of last year's loss to Barack Obama and Joe Biden threatens to become a distraction from Republican Party efforts to stay focused and make inroads on Democratic majorities in the U.S. Congress in next year's elections.
According to the excerpts, Palin writes that within weeks of becoming the vice presidential nominee, a 'Free Sarah' campaign was underway and the press at large was growing increasingly critical of the McCain camp's decision to keep me, my family and friends back home, and my governor's staff all bottled up.
A former senior McCain campaign adviser, speaking on condition of anonymity, took issue with her accusation that she was fenced off from the news media.
Apparently the excerpts from the book are a continuation of a well-established and documented pattern where she makes representations that are exaggerations or fiction, the official said.
Separately, long-time McCain aide Mark Salter said the campaign decided to use more message discipline by arranging interviews in advance with her and McCain instead of allowing them to conduct unscripted sessions with reporters, which had often knocked McCain off-message.
'KEEP YOUR POWDER DRY'
Within a week of her introduction at the Republican national convention, Palin had conducted an interview with ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson and would soon have sessions with Fox News' Sean Hannity and CBS' Katie Couric.
Approximately one week elapsed from Governor Palin's nomination to her first major press interview, the first in a series of major interviews Governor Palin did. Those interviews were discussed and agreed to by senior members of the campaign staff in consultation with the candidates, Salter said.
Palin starts her big week with an interview to air on Monday on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
In a segment released by the Winfrey show, Palin admitted that her Couric interview did not go well. In the interview, she was unable to name a single newspaper that she read.
Palin writes in the excerpt of being persuaded to speak with Couric by McCain adviser Nicolle Wallace. This was denied by the McCain camp.
She (Wallace) did not decide which interview requests the candidates would accept. Nor was she tasked with securing the candidates' agreement. Those decisions were made by campaign management in consultation with the candidates, Salter said.
Palin, in an entry on her Facebook page written after the book's contents were described by the news media, urged her supporters to wait until the official release of the book and accused the media of erroneously reporting its contents.
Keep your powder dry, read the book, and enjoy it! Lots of great stories about my family, Alaska, and the incredible honor it was to run alongside Senator John McCain, she wrote.
McCain himself was concentrating on his Senate business. Senator McCain has moved on from the campaign, a former campaign adviser said.
(Editing by Xavier Briand)