BY Meena Hartenstein
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
John McCain shocked voters and pundits alike by picking Sarah Palin as a running mate in 2008, and McCain's daughter reveals the choice caused plenty of behind-the-scenes drama too.
In her new book "Dirty Sexy Politics," Meghan McCain says Palin brought "stress, drama, complications, panic and loads of uncertainty" to the campaign.
"She was not just an overnight success or even a political Cinderella story," McCain writes in an excerpt obtained by ABC News. "She was a sudden, freakishly huge, full-fledged phenomenon. It seemed too much. And it seemed too easy."
Speaking out about the former Alaska Gov. for the first time, McCain admits she once wondered if her father's loss "was Sarah Palin's fault."
She ultimately decided Palin wasn't responsible for John McCain's failure to win the presidency.
"I do clearly state at the end that we did not lose because of her, and I'm speaking out now because I do have conflicting feelings about her," McCain said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America. "She brought so much momentum and enthusiasm to the campaign."
McCain, who writes for her website McCainBlogette.com and is a columnist for The Daily Beast, describes herself as a moderate voter.
She told ABC that in the last two years she has developed a respect for Palin as a "Republican feminist," even though, "It's no secret that I'm so unlike her."
At the time, McCain says she was just as surprised as the rest of the country by her father's selection to have Palin join him on the 2008 ticket.
"In my heart of hearts, I'd always hoped my father would pick Senator Joe Lieberman as his running mate," she writes, though she remembers going to sleep the night before the announcement assuming her father would name then-Gov. of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney.
McCain also says she predicted problems on the campaign trail even before Palin joined the team.
"Drama was inevitable on a campaign and created almost out of thin air. Tempers were always flying, and feelings were always being hurt. There was no question that a running mate would add to the confusion and upset," she writes. "But I couldn't have predicted just how serious it was going to get."
One memorable stumbling block were Palin's botched interviews with CBS Anchor Katie Couric.
"Katie Couric's interview with her before the vice presidential debate had been disastrous," McCain writes. "Unhappy with her performance, Palin seemed to blame the interview on the campaign. And she continued to blame other poor interviews and snafus on the campaign too.
"Sarah Palin. She was turning out to be somebody who leaves a wake of confusion and chaos - to the point of dizziness - wherever she went."
Though McCain now says there are a lot of things she does like about Palin, she stayed cagey on where her vote would lie if the former VP candidate runs for president in 2012.
"I really don't like these hypothetical questions...It depends on the situation," McCain told ABC. "It's going to be a very interesting election, no matter what happens."