Game Change (TV Movie 2012) - Plot Summary Poster

(2012 TV Movie)


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  • Summer, 2008: John McCain secures the nomination, but polls behind Barack Obama. Strategist Steve Schmidt suggests a game changer: picking a conservative female with media savvy, unknown Alaska governor Sarah Palin, as vice president. She's an immediate hit and a quick study - the gap closes. Then, Tina Fey's impersonation, a raft of criticism, and missing her family send Palin into a near-catatonic state: she doesn't prepare for her Katie Couric interview and bombs. Schmidt searches for an answer: don't expect her to learn the issues, but give her a script. Palin does well in the debate with Biden; she finds her voice, goes off script, and goes rogue. A mistake?

  • Told by his senior advisors that he cannot win the 2008 Presidential election with any of the Vice Presidential candidates currently under consideration, Senator John McCain agrees that they need to make a bold move and come up with a real game changer - a female running mate. They think Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, might fit the bill. They have only 5 days to vet her, a process that would normally take up to 8 weeks. She is soon introduced and is found to be an excellent public speaker, giving the campaign a major boost. The rapid vetting failed to measure her knowledge on policy issues - particularly international affairs - and after several serious and embarrassing fumbles it becomes obvious that she knows very little. She becomes the butt of late night comedians and a consensus develops in the media that she is not fit to be president. As the situation deteriorates, Palin hardens her position and refuses to be briefed. Altogether, it spells the end of any hope of winning.

  • Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska becomes Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential election.


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