John McCain, Sarah Palin not so happy with HBO's 'Game Change'
Sen. John McCain was not pleased with the portrayal of his 2008 presidential campaign in the new HBO film "Game Change" -- and he has no interest in even watching the TV flick.
Speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, McCain (R-Ariz.) said instead of watching the glowingly reviewed drama he chose to cheer on his state's hockey team instead.
"I watched the Phoenix Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks three to nothing," McCain told Wallace. "It was a great game."
The HBO movie follows the former Republican presidential nominee's 2008 campaign and its controversial move to tap then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin for veep. Based on the book "Game Change" by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, the movie faced extreme criticism from McCain and Palin for its accuracy, though reviewers were much more kind.
"It's based on a book that’s completely biased and with unattributed quotes," McCain told Fox, adding that he doesn't use nearly as much vulgarity in real life as his character does onscreen.
Still, McCain's main complaint was the negative portrayal of Palin, saying she is a "good and decent person," "a fine family person" and was the "most qualified" for the position.
Palin wrote off the film entirely, telling ABC Sunday in an email that her family "has the right priorities and knows what really matters."
"For instance, our son called from Afghanistan yesterday and he sounded good, and that's what matters. Being in the good graces of Hollywood's 'Team Obama' isn't at the top of my list," she wrote.
Nicole Wallace, Republican strategist and senior adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign, took the time to weigh in, telling ABC that "Game Change" was "true enough to make me squirm." She added that it delved into the "gray area" where politics operates.
"This is a movie about the vast gray area where 99% of our politics actually takes place," Wallace said. "You're just feeling your way through a gray area and doing your best, and that campaign was one of those instances for me."
McCain’s former campaign manager, Steve Schmidt, recently told the Washington Post the movie is accurate and regrets "playing a part in a process that yielded someone on the ticket who was not prepared."
McCain addressed Schmidt's remarks on Fox News Sunday, telling Wallace: "I regret that he would make such a statement."
"Game Change" director Jay Roach and screenwriter Danny Strong defended their presentation of the duo.
"I wish they'd see the film because it has a very evenhanded tone to it, in trying to get the story right and allow anybody with any prejudices against the main characters to go past the media iconography and see them as human beings," Roach said.
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