We're learning what really was going on behind the scenes as Sarah Palin prepared for her now famous Vice Presidential debate
In an interview airing Sunday on 60 minutes, John McCain's former chief campaign strategist Steve Schmidt reveals Palin was "overwhelmed" and "ill prepared" for the debate.
"She was not focused, she was not engaged, she was really not participating in the prep," said Schmidt.
The campaign honcho in charge of prepping Palin called him in a panic.
Schmidt says, "He told us that the debate is going to be a debacle of historic and epic proportions."
That's when Schmidt says he and campaign manager Rick Davis stepped in.
"We had a conversation with her. I said to her, 'Governor, this doesn't seem to be going very well to me,' and essentially she agreed. She said 'I think that's right.' "
The startling revelations are detailed in the new book Game Change, written by political reporters John Heilemann and Mark Halperin. Schmidt cooperated with the book's authors.
Schmidt also claims Palin was so flustered she kept referring to Joe Biden as "O'Biden." Schmidt says Palin was advised to just call him Joe, which she did in what became the memorable greeting from the debate where Palin opened with, "Can I call you Joe?"
The moment led to the classic Tina Fey send-up on Saturday Night Live.
Tina Fey: "Can I call you Joe?"
Jason Sudeikis: "Of course."
Tina Fey: "Ok, 'cause I practiced a couple of zingers where I call you Joe."
But Palin did slip up once during the nationally televised debate, when she said, "Barack Obama and Senator O'Biden, you've said no to everything..."
Biden's reaction? A broad smile.