Levi Johnston 'is loved,' Palin tells Oprah

A former senior advisor to Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign says that Sarah Palin's claim the campaign stuck her with the bill for vetting her for the vice-presidential nomination is "100 percent untrue."

According to a report Wednesday from the Associated Press, which revealed details of Palin's upcoming book Going Rogue, Palin was stuck with a $50,000 legal bill for the vetting process. The McCain campaign reportedly told her that they would have covered the bill had they won, but since they lost the election, Palin would have to foot the bill herself.

"That is 100 percent untrue," an unnamed McCain official told CNN on condition of anonymity. "All those bills are from her personal attorney Thomas Van Flein, mostly relating to the Troopergate investigation and other ethics investigations. It is not legal to pay for those investigations out of general election funds, even if the campaign was so inclined."

Complicating the matter is the fact that AP had initially reported that the legal bill was $500,000. The news service later updated its story to say that one-tenth of Palin's half-million-dollar bill was for the campaign vetting process. But the article maintained the claim that the McCain camp refused payment because their ticket lost.

"I can confirm that she was not billed for any vetting costs by the campaign," Trevor Potter, a lawyer for the McCain campaign, told The Atlantic's Marc Ambinder. "I do not know if she was billed by her own lawyer for his assistance to her in the vetting process, but from the excerpt that has been read to me by the AP, it sounds as if that is what she is describing."

Palin also confirmed news reports that the McCain campaign prevented her from delivering a concession speech on election night. She reportedly wrote that McCain's people kept her away from the press, creating the impression that she was avoiding the media.

Palin wrote that she agreed to the now-infamous interview with CBS's Katie Couric after learning from a McCain staffer that Couric suffered from low self-esteem, which made Palin agree to do the interview out of sympathy. But Palin claims Couric ended up editing out her more "substantive" comments in favor of "gotcha" moments that made the vice-presidential nominee look bad.


Palin has reportedly been paid $5 million for Going Rogue. She is launching a multi-city book tour to coincide with the book's release next week. Among her promotional activities was an interview with Oprah Winfrey, parts of which made it to CBS on Wednesday.

At one point, Oprah asked Palin if Levi Johnston, the 19-year-old father of Palin's daughter Bristol's baby, would be invited to Thanksgiving dinner. In a surprisingly conciliatory response, Palin said Johnston "is loved" and doesn't need to continue fanning the flames of controversy.

"It's lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing," Palin said. "Because, of course ... he is a part of the family and you want to bring him into the fold and under your wing. And he needs that, too. I think he needs to know that he is loved and he has the most beautiful child and this can all work out for good."

But, ultimately, Palin would commit to an answer to the question one way or the other.

Since the announcement early this year that Johnston and Bristol Palin would not be marrying, Johnston has given numerous media interviews in which he has cast the Palin family in a less than flattering light.

Most recently, Johnston told CBS that Palin had referred to her son Trig, who has Down Syndrome, as her "retarded baby." He added that he knew things that "could hurt" Sarah Palin, but would not reveal them.

Johnston is scheduled to appear in a nude photo spread in Playgirl magazine.

The following video was obtained by CBS and is scheduled to be broadcast on the Oprah Winfrey Show Monday, Nov. 16, 2009.