Palin’s sex and drugs past rocksTea Party

REPUBLICAN presidential hope Sarah Palin snorted cocaine off an oil drum, slept with a black basketball star and cheated on her husband with his business partner – so claims a bombshell-laden biography of the rightwing Tea Party favourite.

Snippets leaked ahead of the book’s official release next week paint a picture of a vengeful politician and an adulterous occasional drug-user who neglected her children when her husband wasn’t around.

Unsurprisingly, the Palin camp has hit back aggressively. In a statement yesterday, the former Alaska governor’s husband, Todd, slammed the book as “disgusting lies, innuendo and smears”.

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And he said of author Joe McGinniss: “This is a man who has been relentlessly stalking my family to the point of moving in right next door to us to harass us and spy on us to satisfy his creepy obsession with my wife.”

Much of the salacious detail contained in The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin, appears to come from unnamed sources. But even if some may “tut tut” at the tactics employed by Mr McGinnis, it is likely the book will shoot up the bestsellers’ list on its 20 September release.

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It has been eagerly anticipated among politicos looking for a juicy read. And judging by the excerpts leaked to parts of the US media, those looking for dirt won’t be disappointed.

One of the claims is that Ms Palin had a one-night stand with a basketball player, the now retired NBA star Glen Rice. Mr McGinnis claims the tryst took place in 1987, nine months before Ms Palin married.

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A friend told the biographer that Ms Palin “had a fetish for black guys for a while”, according to the New York Times, one of the few newspapers to have seen the book.

Other passages obtained by the media suggest Ms Palin has an issue with race. Another source is said to have told Mr McGinnis that Ms Palin “isn’t comfortable in the presence of dark-skinned people”.

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The Rogue also repeats claims first published in the National Enquirer that the former governor slept with husband’s business partner in the mid-1990s, leading to Todd pulling the plug on the snowmobile dealership.

Equally damaging to Ms Palin is the allegations in the book about her alleged drug use. Mr McGinnis claims she snorted cocaine off a 55-gallon oil drum during a snowmobiling holiday. She also smoked pot while in college, it is alleged. The book also disparages Ms Palin’s parenting skills. Excerpts reprinted by the National Enquirer paint a picture of a woman who would let her children fend for themselves when her husband was away.

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Some have suggested that the research undertaken by Mr McGinniss amount to an invasion of privacy, claims undermined by the Palins’ love affair with the media.

Ms Palin has developed a lucrative career as a TV pundit and writer since the 2008 election, when she ran on the vice-presidential ticket with John McCain.

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Of late, she has been pushing her profile by means of a “will she, won’t she” media tease over a potential presidential campaign next year.

Meanwhile daughter Bristol participated in last year’s US equivalent to Strictly Come Dancing.

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The Rogue has already caused controversy in the US. Garry Trudeau’s widely syndicated Doonesbury cartoon strip was pulled this week from the Chicago Tribune, after it included snippets.

Many of the allegations included in the book have been printed before – and denied by Ms Palin herself.