Game Change (2012 TV Movie)
Mark Wallace: Steve, what's up?
Steve Schmidt: How many questions does Sarah Palin have to answer in the debate?
Mark Wallace: Uh... twenty-two to twenty-five.
Steve Schmidt: And how long is each answer?
Mark Wallace: Two minutes with pivots.
Steve Schmidt: So if all we have to do is get the best actress in American politics to memorize forty-five minutes' worth of answers, then why did we waste five days trying to get her to understand what any of this shit means?
Woman: I can't trust Obama. I've read about him and he's not a... he's a... he's a Arab. He's not an Americ...
John McCain: No, ma'am. No, ma'am. He's a decent family man citizen who I just happen to have some disagreements with on certain fundamental issues. And that's what this campaign is all about.
Steve Schmidt: [Palin has insisted on giving a concession speech on election night] You're not giving a speech because the Vice Presidential candidate has never given a concession speech on election night. It's not about you, it's about the country.
Sarah Palin: Yeah, well there's a lot of things never been done before.
Steve Schmidt: Governor, this country has just elected the first African American president in the history of its existence, and it is the concession speech that will legitimize his succession as Commander in Chief. It is a serious and solemn occasion, and John McCain, and only John McCain, will be giving this sacred speech. This is how it has been done in every Presidential election since the dawn of the Republic, and you, Sarah Palin, will not change the importance of this proud American tradition.
Rick Davis: Listen, I too wish that the American people would choose the future Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson, but unfortunately, that's not the way it works anymore. Now it takes movie-star charisma to get elected President, and Obama and Palin, that's what they are - they're stars.
Steve Schmidt: Primary difference being Sarah Palin can't name a Supreme Court decision, whereas Barack Obama was a constitutional law professor.
Rick Davis: Fuck you.
Mark Salter: You know what Dick Cheney said when he found out we picked her?
Rick Davis: What?
Mark Salter: He said we made a reckless choice. When you lose the moral high ground to Dick Cheney... it's time to rethink your entire life.
Steve Schmidt: Enough Cheney cracks, okay? I mean, he's very misunderstood.
Mark Salter: How does he eat when he's wearing Darth Vader's helmet, anyway?
Sarah Palin: Why'd you make me do Katie Couric? Did you see the coverage? Did you?
Sarah Palin: ARE YOU THERE? ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME?
Nicolle Wallace: Yes, Governor, I'm here. Katie was a logical choice; she's been very fair to us this entire campaign.
Sarah Palin: You call that interview fair?
Nicolle Wallace: Yes, Governor, I do.
Sarah Palin: I certainly don't, she was out to get me from the get-go!
Nicolle Wallace: No, she wasn't! The interview sucked because you didn't try!
Sarah Palin: What, what do you mean I didn't try?
Nicolle Wallace: You didn't fight back, like you did in the Charlie Gibson interview - when you didn't know the answers, you clawed your way back and it went fine! You just gave up!
Sarah Palin: [through gritted teeth] Nicolle, it wasn't my fault; I wasn't... properly... prepped!
Nicolle Wallace: [angrily] You weren't properly prepped because you wouldn't LISTEN to us! You never LISTEN to your advisers!
Sarah Palin: [heatedly] Because you're overwhelming me with TOO MUCH INFORMATION! You know, I-I don't, I don't wanna do these interviews! I want to do what I want to do!
Nicolle Wallace: [sighs] We're just trying to help you get through this, Governor. All we want is for you to succeed.
Sarah Palin: [scoffs] Yeah, you're NOT helping! You're just screwing me up! You're telling me what to say, what to wear, how to talk... I AM NOT YOUR PUPPET! NOW I understand what Hillary meant when she said she had to find her own voice!
Nicolle Wallace: [incredulously] Yeah... cause you're just like Hillary.
Sarah Palin: You have ruined me! You have ruined my reputation! I AM RUINED IN ALASKA!
[throws phone against the wall]
Nicolle Wallace: [shakes head, calls Steve Schmidt] Steve, it's Nicolle. I will gladly resign if you want to blame me for Couric, but if you want me to stay, then I'm back on McCain's bus tomorrow, as I never want to deal with that woman ever again!
John McCain: [nervous about Sarah's convention speech] I don't know. I don't know.
Steve Schmidt: Hey, she's gonna be fine.
John McCain: Really?
Steve Schmidt: Absolutely.
[Steve wanders over to Nicolle]
Steve Schmidt: Is she gonna be okay?
Nicolle Wallace: I'm more concerned about one-on-ones.
Steve Schmidt: How bad?
Nicolle Wallace: I'm not sure how much she knows about foreign policy. She didn't know why North and South Korea were different countries.
John McCain: You're one of the leaders of the party now, Sarah. Don't get co-opted by Limbaugh and the other extremists. They'll destroy the party if you let them.
Steve Schmidt: Still think she's fit for office?
Rick Davis: Aw, who cares. In forty-eight hours no one will even remember who she is.
Anderson Cooper: If you had to do it over again, would you have her on the ticket?
Steve Schmidt: You don't get to go back in time, Anderson, and have do-overs in life.
Jack Cafferty: [news clips analyzing Sarah Palin] If John McCain wins, this woman will be one 72 year-old's heartbeat away from being President of the United States... and if that doesn't scare the hell out of you, it should.
Campbell Brown: In fairness, probably most people can't name a Supreme Court case. But most people are not campaigning to be Vice-President.
Fareed Zakaria: It's not that she doesn't know the right answer, it's that she clearly does not understand the question. This is way beyond anything we have ever seen from a national candidate.
Nicolle Wallace: [the office is applauding Sarah's convention speech] She did it without a teleprompter. It broke halfway through her speech.
John McCain: You're kidding.
Nicolle Wallace: No.
John McCain: If that happens to me tomorrow night, I'm fucked.
Steve Schmidt: What the fuck is the Alaska Independence Party and was she ever a member of it?
Tucker Eskew: The AIP is a political party whose sole platform is the secession of Alaska from the Union.
Steve Schmidt: Well ain't that a hoot.
Nicolle Wallace: Steve... there's something I have to tell you.
Steve Schmidt: Sure...
Nicolle Wallace: I didn't vote... I couldn't do it... I didn't vote
[starts to cry, moves to be hugged by Steve]
Nicolle Wallace: I couldn't do it.
Steve Schmidt: [prepping Palin for national interviews] Let's start with something simple: how do you plan on maintaining our alliance with Great Britain on Iraq even though support for the war there is at an all-time low?
Sarah Palin: I think the United States has always maintained a great relationship with the Queen, and John McCain will continue to have an open dialogue with her.
Steve Schmidt: [perplexed] Um, Governor, the Queen is not the head of government in England, she's the head of state.
Sarah Palin: Well, then who's the head of government?
Steve Schmidt: [dumbfounded] ... The Prime Minister.
[tries to laugh it off and takes a sip of his tea with a nervous look on his face]
Steve Schmidt: Governor, do you know why we're in Iraq?
Sarah Palin: Because Saddam Hussein attacked us on 9/11.
Steve Schmidt: No, no, Al Qaeda attacked us on 9/11
Sarah Palin: Not Saddam Hussein?
Steve Schmidt: No, it was Al Qaeda. That's why we're in Afghanistan.
Nicolle Wallace: Do you know the primary differences between the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq?
[Palin doesn't answer]
Steve Schmidt: It is a change year, sir. We desperately need a game change in pick, and none of these middle-aged white guys are game-changers.
John McCain: So... what? I just fuck off and die?
Steve Schmidt: Well, the data shows we have four things we have to do. We have to win back the independents, we have to excite the base, we have to distance ourselves from the Bush administration and we have to close the gender gap.
John McCain: How bad is the gap?
Bill McInturff: It's fatal. You've got a twenty-percent advantage with men, which is great, but a twenty-percent deficit with women. You've got to pick up fifteen-percent with females because if you're trailing by more than five with them, you lose.
John McCain: So find me a woman.
Steve Schmidt: [after Palin finishes an impressive debate rehearsal] That was amazing. There's just one slight adjustment I wanna give you. You need to call him Senator Biden, not Senator O'Biden.
Sarah Palin: No, that's what I called him, Senator O'Biden.
Steve Schmidt: You just said it again.
Sarah Palin: Said what?
Steve Schmidt: O'Biden.
Sarah Palin: Right. Senator Biden.
Steve Schmidt: That's it!
Sarah Palin: Oh. Biden.
Steve Schmidt: No, no, there's no "O."
Sarah Palin: No, I meant "Oh" as in "Oh, I get it," not "O" as in "O'Biden."
Steve Schmidt: Oh.
John McCain: There's a dark side to American populism. Some people win elections tapping into it. I'm not one of those people.
Dr. Ollie: Hey, how are you doing?
Steve Schmidt: That depends. How does she look?
Dr. Ollie: For a woman who's just had a baby, has a pregnant teen daughter, and a son in Iraq... I'd say not half bad.
Dr. Ollie: You, however, look like shit.
Steve Schmidt: [during the Katie Couric interview] Oh, my God. What have we done?
Mark Wallace: She constantly slips into these catatonic stupors, and then when we do finally get her to work, she writes all the information down on notecards, but she can't remember any of it. Steve, did you do an approval poll on Alaska? She keeps bringing it up.
Steve Schmidt: What the fuck? I did that stupid fucking poll a week ago. I told her she's in the seventies!
Mark Wallace: Yeah, well, I don't think she believes you. She says you made those numbers up.
Steve Schmidt: [irritated] She is becoming completely irrational.
Rick Davis: "Becoming?"
Mark Wallace: I don't even like to say this, but has it occurred to you guys she might be mentally unstable?
Steve Schmidt: [too exhausted to answer] Mark, look, the debate is in five days. What do you think?
Mark Wallace: ...I think this debate will be a debacle of historic and epic proportions.
Steve Schmidt: Well, that's encouraging.
John McCain: And they said we were dead. Next stop, the White House!
Steve Schmidt: There are unknowns with Palin, and, ah, certainly it could go bad. But if it were me, I'd rather lose by ten points going for the win than lose by one point and look back and say "Goddamn, we should have gone for the win".
Mark Salter: Our slogan's "Country First". Lieberman and Pawlenty are "Country First" choices. Sarah Palin will be perceived as a self-serving political maneuver.
Mark Salter: You many not only lose the election, John... you just might lose your reputation right along with it.
John McCain: I'm not running for my reputation. I'm running to be President!
Mark Salter: Yes, sir.
Steve Schmidt: [regarding "Troopergate" charges] You can't say you were cleared of all wrongdoing.
Sarah Palin: [applying lipstick] Why not?
Steve Schmidt: Because you weren't. The reports stated that you abused your power; that is the opposite of being cleared of all wrongdoing.
Sarah Palin: Then why was I told otherwise?
Steve Schmidt: You weren't told otherwise!
Sarah Palin: And why haven't you released a statement saying that Todd was never a member of the Alaskan Independence Party?
Steve Schmidt: Because that would be untrue! He WAS a member.
Sarah Palin: He checked the WRONG BOX! He registered BY ACCIDENT and rectified the error immediately!
Steve Schmidt: He was a member for SEVEN YEARS! I'm sorry, Governor, but there is only a few weeks left in this campaign and you have got to stop saying things to the press that are blatantly untrue; that is NOT the kind of campaign that we are running here!
Sarah Palin: [scornfully] Campaign? Is that what you're calling this...
[starts leaving for rally]
Steve Schmidt: Governor, I admit that this is a dysfunctional campaign, but THAT is what I inherited and I am doing my level best to help us win this election!
Sarah Palin: [turns around] And that's what I'm trying to do too, Steve, and all you're doing is screwing me up! That's all you've done this entire time is get in my way!
[starts to leave again, turns around]
Sarah Palin: Oh, OH! And I am raising millions of dollars for this campaign; hundreds of thousands of people are coming to see ME speak! Not John McCain, God bless him, they are coming to see me! SO, if I am single-handedly carrying this..."campaign"...
Sarah Palin: I'm gonna do what I want!
Chris Edwards: Steve, I'm getting a bunch of mixed messages here. Is the governor giving a concession speech or not? Because she just told me...
Steve Schmidt: I've already said this five times already. She is not giving a speech.
Chris Edwards: Well, she seems to think otherwise.
Steve Schmidt: Well, she's not.
Chris Edwards: What do you want me to tell her?
Steve Schmidt: Tell her she's not fucking speaking!
Chris Edwards: Okay, well, you both seem pretty certain...
Steve Schmidt: Well, let my certainty supersede her certainty! God damn it!
Nicolle Wallace: Do you think the Fed did the right thing in their dealing with the Bear Stearns collapse?
Sarah Palin: Our economy is hurting, and the federal government has not provided the sound oversight that we need and that we deserve. I think we need a little bit of reality from Wasilla Main Street there brought to Washington DC so that the people there can understand how the average working class family is viewing bureaucracy in the federal government.
Steve Schmidt: Governor, do you know what the Fed is?
Sarah Palin: In what respect, Charlie?
Steve Schmidt: No, no, this is me, Steve, asking do you know what the Fed is?
[Palin doesn't answer]
Steve Schmidt: Um... stands for the Federal Reserve System...
[Palin starts taking notes]
Steve Schmidt: No, please, don't write, just listen. The Fed is responsible for all monetary policy in the United States.
Rick Davis: [during the opening of the debate when Biden and Palin greet each other] Why - why is the mic on?
Steve Schmidt: No, no, no, it's cool. They're gonna think it's some kind of Machiavellian Jedi power-play.
Mark Salter: John is getting slammed for making an irresponsible choice!
Steve Schmidt: We picked her.
Mark Salter: No, *you two* picked her and then slapped her on the butt and shoved her out there under a banner saying "Country First"!
John McCain: I hate it when there's leaking and backstabbing after a campaign, let alone before it's fucking over.
Steve Schmidt: I need you to step in and talk to her.
John McCain: I don't know, Stevie-boy. I don't know.
Steve Schmidt: Sir, I can't control her anymore. I don't know if she's getting on a campaign plane in the morning or what she's gonna say at night. We need to finish this campaign with as much dignity as possible and the only way that can happen is if you get her in line.
John McCain: That's not gonna do it, Steve. She might start turning on *me*.