‘Game Change’ Author: ‘I Agree’ With Palin ‘That America Is a Great Country’

March 12, 2012 - 12:38 PM

(CNSNews.com) – At the red carpet premiere of the HBO movie “Game Change,” author Mark Halperin said the controversial film about Republican Sarah Palin is “faithful to history” and added that as a reporter he kept his political views to himself but that he agreed with Palin that “America is a great country.”

At the premiere in Washington, D.C. on Mar. 8, CNSNews.com asked Halperin, who works for Time magazine, if he was pleased with the adaptation of “Game Change,” the book he co-wrote with John Heilemann, and if the film is an accurate and fair portrayal of the former Alaska governor. (Heilemann is a reporter for New York magazine.)

Halperin said, “Totally pleased with it. It’s faithful to the book, which pleases us. But more importantly, it’s faithful to history, which is a big part of our motivation and our drive in working with HBO because they’ve got such a record of caring about not just entertainment -- the film’s entertaining -- but also accuracy.”

CNSNews.com then asked Halperin, “Which issues do you agree with Sarah Palin on, if any?”

He said, “On policy issues? I’m a reporter, so I think it’s my obligation to keep my positions private and to cover people without regard to whether I agree with them or not. So, I agree with her that America is a great country.”

Halperin chronicled the 2008 election race using only anonymous sources to tell the story of the heated primary between then-candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and later the selection of Sarah Palin as John McCain’s running mate.

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Former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. (AP Photo)

The book’s revelations included Bill Clinton’s remarks about then-Senator Obama that “a few years ago, this guy would have been getting us coffee”; a tense relationship between Obama and his vice presidential pick Joe Biden; John and Elizabeth Edwards’s marriage and his extramarital affair; and comments by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that Obama was a “light-skinned” African-American “with no Negro dialect, unless he wanted to have one.”

CNSNews.com asked Halperin why he thought HBO decided to make a film based on what amounts to only a short portion of his book.

“HBO saw a lot of great stories in the book that they thought had possibilities for film,” Halperin said.  “And, in fact, they thought about for a long time doing the story of President Obama and Secretary Clinton.”

“But in the end, they needed, from a production point of view, something they could tell in 2 hours,” said Halperin. “Governor Palin’s selection and her time on the ticket, 60 days, great characters, a great American story, and so they chose that as something they felt they could tell in the prescribed time.”

While those associated with the film have defended it as fair and accurate, some scenes in the movie do not appear in the book.  For example, during one scene, a marveled Palin (played by Julianne Moore) receives a history lesson on America’s World War II allies from an adviser who has to point out to her where Germany is on a map.

The real life adviser, Randy Scheunemann, said it never happened.  “The idea that at any point Gov. Palin expressed any uncertainty as to who were on the various sides in World War I or World War II … or any other war, is absolutely untrue,” Scheunemann said during a recent conference call.  “She was incredibly intelligent.”

Another line when McCain (played by Ed Harris) tells his advisers, “Okay, so find me a woman,” when searching for a candidate to help his campaign, has also been dismissed by critics and does not appear in the book.

Other Palin advisers have denounced the film as “fiction,” and McCain said last Monday, “It's based on a book that is full of unattributed quotes, things that absolutely never happened and, if it's based on that book, which I was briefed on, then, of course, it can't be accurate.”

Halperin appeared at the red carpet premiere at the Newseum to promote the film, which aired on the HBO cable channel on March 10.