Total crock of sh*t to sell her book, you can’t fire a VP or even a VP-elect for that matter.

(TIME) — Nicolle Wallace knows her politics. She served as White House communications chief under George W. Bush and also worked as a senior advisor on the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign. Her second novel, It’s Classified, explores what would happen if a woman were plucked from relative obscurity and elected Vice President of the United States — only to find herself completely unprepared for the job. Wallace talked to TIME about the problem with likable politicians, why everyone in the White House eats constantly and her character’s obvious similarity to Sarah Palin.

When you were working on the McCain campaign, what about Sarah Palin alarmed you so much?

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 She was often withdrawn, uncommunicative and incapable of performing even the most basic tasks required of her job as McCain’s running mate.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.

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