'Game Change' Reactions: Sarah Palin, John McCain and Pundits on HBO's New Campaign Film

6:32 PM PST 03/11/2012 by Jordan Zakarin
Jeff Fusco/Getty Images; Phillip V. Caruso/HBO

Journalists and politicos weigh in on the high profile TV movie about the 2008 presidential election.

Even before Game Change, HBO's new film that centers on Sarah Palin's tumultuous ride as John McCain's running mate during the 2008 race for the White House, hit the airwaves, the debate about its tone, accuracy and sheer legitimacy lit up cable news and awoke fierce rivalries. And like any modern political debate, once the facts were actually released, well, opinions didn't really change all that much.

Palin, who had been critical of the film and said in late February that it had "lapsed into a tired routine of manipulating facts and omitting key parts" of her story "in order to push a biased agenda and drive ratings," lambasted it again on Friday, insisting that it was "based on a false narrative" and said she was unconcerned with "being in the good graces of Hollywood's Team Obama."

The film, which paints Palin as a sympathetic character who is professionally unprepared to run in a national election, earned strong reviews; director Jay Roach and writer Danny Strong, who had already defended the film in interviews with The Hollywood Reporter, told ABC's Howard Kurtz on Sunday that they interviewed over two dozen people for the film in addition to all the information they took from the book on which it was based, by reporters Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

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Meanwhile, Nicolle Wallace, a campaign aide played by Sarah Paulson in the film, told George Stephanopolous that the film was “true enough to make me squirm."

That said, she asserted that "this isn’t a movie about campaign staff, and this isn’t really even a movie about McCain and Palin. This is a movie about the vast gray area in which 99 percent of our politics takes place. And I think what gets boiled down or sometimes the fights, the instant analysis, the black and white of who’s up and who’s down, the truth is… you’re just feeling your way through a very gray area and you’re doing your best.”

McCain, who is portrayed sympathetically by Ed Harris in the film, told Fox News' Chris Wallace that he did not use the amount of coarse language as he is portrayed using in the film, and he was upset with the way Palin was portrayed.

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"I don't understand, even in the tough world of politics, why there continues to be such an assault on a good and decent person," he said. "I admired and respect her. I'm proud of our campaign....I thought she was the most qualified person."

In the world of conservative media, BigHollywood.com released a list of the top ten lies it says HBO produced in the film, which they call "grotesque character assassination" on Palin that paints her as "egotistical, ungracious, demanding, stupid, forgetful and, cruelest of all, mentally unstable."

On the other end, Andy Samberg did an impression of Palin on Saturday Night Live that most can agree is far less flattering than Moore's, regardless of what one thinks of the film's message.

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