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In 2008, John McCain's campaign team discussed whether they should let Sarah Palin be sworn in as vice-president if they were to win the election, according to campaign staffer Nicolle Wallace. "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 tells Time's Claire Suddath. In her new novel, It's Classified, Wallace has a character -- a mentally ill female vice-president -- which she says is based on her experience working with Palin.

The full exchange with Wallace on the McCain campaign's frustration with Palin:
Suddath: When you were working on the McCain campaign, what about Sarah Palin alarmed you so much?
 
Wallace: Well, first let me just say that the novel is by no means meant to build a case against Sarah Palin. However, to the extent that the people around [the fictional vice president] Tara watched in this troubled state of confusion, despair and helplessness as she flailed around -- that was something I experienced. Palin vacillated between extraordinary highs on the campaign stage -- she ignited more enthusiasm than our side had seen at any other point -- to debilitating lows. She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain's running mate.
 
The decision to relocate debate prep from the campaign trail, which is where McCain did his prep, to Sedona, was to isolate her and help her overcome the shock of becoming an overnight celebrity. 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 says she was inspired to write her novel after watching Palin and wondering what would happen if a mentally ill person became vice-president. Wallace says she was "consumed by this question."  Palin took a shot at Wallace in her 2009 book, Going Rogue, saying Wallace had convinced Palin to do her disastrous interview with Katie Couric because Couric had low self-esteem. Wallace denied the accusation.
 
Update: Wallace's colleague on the McCain campaign, Charlie Black, accuses her of just trying to sell her book with "bizarre" claims. He told Politico's Alexander Burns, "No such discussions ever happened and I have confirmed that with Sen. McCain ... In fact, Sen. McCain and most of his senior staff from the campaign admire Sarah Palin and appreciate her contribution to the ticket."
 

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