Joe McGinniss, the author of the upcoming salacious new book about Sarah Palin--"The Rogue"--that has the sent the political and sports worlds in a frenzy, appeared in a segment on the Today show on Thursday.
McGinniss, who spent four months living in Wasilla, Alaska, in a rented house next to Palin's, said he interviewed approximately 200 of Palin's former associates, acquaintances and friends for the 318 page tell-all. The book includes a number of bombshell claims that have already stirred wide attention, including a report that Palin snorted cocaine, and slept with former University of Michigan basketball star Glen Rice while she was a sports reporter at a local Alaskan television station.
"An utter fraud," McGinniss said of the former Alaskan governor. "An absolute and utter fraud."
McGinniss continued: "At best, she is a hypocrite. At worst, she is a vindictive hypocrite. The thing that I found that really surprised me was that the people who know her best like her least."
The segment comes a day after the National Enquirer published leaked excerpts from the book--and thereby sent the media world buzzing on Wednesday.
McGinniss told the Today show that the book doesn't include any revelations gleaned from his tour as a neighbor to the Palin family. He is, however, a character in the book, though McGinniss claims that was not his intent.
"Sarah made me a character," McGinniss said. "She's a phenomenon. I said that to Todd when he came tromping across my lawn to confront me for living next door. He said 'Why are you writing about her anyway?' I said, 'Well Todd, I've been writing about politics since 1968. Your wife is a phenomenon. There's been no one like her in American politics before, no one who has come from nowhere to get so far.'"
He continued: "I was surprised at Sarah's reaction but it taught me something very interesting. She overreacts. She has no modulation in her responses to stress. In other words, she freaks out."
According to McGinniss, Rice, a former NBA player, said of his encounter with Palin: "In a short time, we got to know a lot about one another. It was all done in a respectful way, nothing hurried. She was a gorgeous woman, super nice. I was blown away by her. Afterward, she was a big crush that I had."
Todd Palin released a statement on Wednesday disputing McGinniss' claims, calling him, among other things, a liar and a stalker:
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. He traffics in innuendo and falsehoods. A few years ago he interviewed members of Sarah's administration for a magazine article, and afterwards they said that he was the most disingenuous and intellectually dishonest writer they'd ever dealt with. He's spent the last year interviewing marginal figures with an axe to grind in order to churn out a hit piece to satisfy his own creepy obsession with my wife. I'd ask that people consider these facts when evaluating his latest lies. I'd ask the fathers and husbands of America to consider our privacy when one summer day I found this guy on the deck of the rental property, just 18 feet away next door to us, staring like a creep at my wife while she mowed the lawn in her shorts, unbeknownst to her that he was prying. As well as our teenage daughters while they tried to enjoy our traditional Alaskan summer days outdoors. Joe's son told the media he advised his dad not to move from the East Coast to become our next door neighbor, but said his dad 'was just waiting for Todd to be out of the picture.' Sarah has never spoken to this intruder into our lives, our friends and family don't speak to him, so we have no idea where he would come up with content for his book. He was on our doorstep one day trying to make conversation with our son until Track cut the conversation short after discerning Joe's odd behavior, and I spoke to him one time when I saw him 18 feet away, just to find out who he was. He took that conversation and reported it to the media as me 'threatening' him.
For what it's worth, McGinniss doesn't think Palin will run for president in 2012, as many have predicted.
"I think she's going for the easy money," he said. "She's going to take the path of least resistance. I don't think that she's going to run for president."
You can watch the Today Show interview below.