TIME: In the book, the vice presidential character, Tara Meyers, is completely unfit for her job.
WALLACE: The idea of a mentally ill vice president who suffers in complete isolation was obviously sparked by the behaviors I witnessed by Sarah Palin.
What if somebody who was ill-equipped for the office were to ascend to the presidency or vice presidency? What would they do? How long would it take for people to figure it out? I became consumed by this question.
TIME: 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 She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain's running mate.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.
We've heard some of these accusations before and neither person is on speaking terms with the other, but wowzers.