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McCain adviser: Palin’s book is fiction

Nicolle Wallace, who was a senior adviser in the McCain campaign, says that Sarah Palin's depictions of her and former campaign director Steve Schmidt "took place entirely in her imagination."
/ Source: NBC News and news services

Former McCain campaign senior adviser Nicolle Wallace says Sarah Palin's book "Going Rogue" is "based on fabrications," and that the basis for Palin’s depictions of her and former McCain campaign director Steve Schmidt as villains "took place entirely in her imagination."

In a statement to The Rachel Maddow Show, the former McCain spokesperson repeatedly used the word "fiction" to describe Palin's narrative and echoed criticisms by other former McCain staffers.

"She probably has a legitimate complaint that things could have been better conceived and executed," Wallace said. "A book about that would have been painful but not entirely unfair," Wallace told an msnbc producer in an off-camera, on-the-record interview.

Wallace took particular issue with Palin's version of her Katie Couric interview, which did not cast the former vice presidential candidate in a favorable light.

‘Working mom’ interview?
Palin described thinking the Couric interview would be lighthearted and fun. "It was supposed to be ... a working mom speaking with [another] working mom and the challenges that we have with teenage daughters," she told "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in an interview broadcast Monday.

Wallace told msnbc that this is "rationalization or justification or fiction."  "We set up this interview on the day of the U.N. General Assembly, with a walk-and-talk in front of the U.N. It was never made as two working gals ... that was supposed to be to highlight her foreign policy savvy."

In this book cover image released by Harper, \"Going Rogue: An American Life,\" by Sarah Palin, is shown.Harper

In her book, Palin writes that the campaign selected Couric to interview her as a favor, to give the evening anchor "a career boost."

"She just has such low self-esteem," Palin recounts Wallace as saying.

Wallace said that was also "fiction," adding, "I am not someone who throws around the word 'self-esteem.' Katie Couric was selected because we did evening anchors ... I did not advocate an interview for anyone I am friends with."

"I think she fixated on me from very early on. She hated me from the beginning," continued Wallace.

Trying to quell feud
On Sunday, NBC News reported that McCain specifically asked his former aides not to do television interviews rebutting Palin's charges and to avoid escalating the feud. In an interview with the Hill newspaper, McCain reportedly said he enjoyed reading Palin's book.  "I hope she sells lots of them," McCain said.

Palin continues to make the rounds to promote her book. In an interview with Barbara Walters broadcast Tuesday, Palin says that a 2012 presidential bid is "not on my radar," but wouldn't rule out playing some role in the next presidential election.

"My ambition, if you will, my desire is to help our country in whatever role that may be, and I cannot predict what that will be, what doors will be open in the year 2012."

In her interview with Walters, Palin said she's received plenty of offers during the past few months, including to open up her family for a reality show. She has rejected that, but also said she wasn't sure whether a talk show would be best for her family.

"I'd probably rather write than talk," she told Walters.

The former Alaska governor also discussed David Letterman, whom she criticized for a sexually suggestive joke made at the expense of her teenage daughter in June. Palin told Walters she has ruled out an appearance on Letterman's late night TV show. "I don't think that I'd want to boost his ratings," she said.

Despite the internal squabbling and ultimate loss, Palin said she would go through the experience again. She "would do it again in a heartbeat," she told Walters.

AP Writer David Bauder and Caryn Rousseau in Chicago contributed to this report.