The morning after the premiere of HBO's "Game Change," Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said aspects of the film were flat-out inaccurate and did not depict what really happened behind the scenes of his presidential campaign.
"Game Change," based on a book about the 2008 election by the same name, follows the decision to pick Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as McCain's running mate and her subsequent role in the campaign. Even though the book tracked both the Democratic and Republican tickets, the HBO film focuses exclusively on Palin, characterizing her at one point as being on the “verge of a complete nervous breakdown.”
"I don't understand, even in the tough world of politics, why there continues to be such assaults on a good and decent person, Sarah Palin, a fine family person, a person whose nomination energized our campaign," McCain, played by actor Ed Harris in the film, said on "Fox News Sunday."
"They continue to disparage and attack her character and her person," he added.
McCain -- who said he "of course" did not watch the film -- said the prominently-featured "Then find me a woman" quote spoken by Harris absolutely did not happen.
He said the film also wrongly depicted him as a frequent user of coarse language, saying he has "a larger vocabulary than that."
"I thought that she was the best-qualified person, I thought she had the ability to excite our party and the kind of person I wanted to see succeed in the political arena," McCain said of picking Palin.
McCain's tone is markedly different from other campaign alumni who said they found the film to be an accurate portrayal.
Nicole Wallace, a former senior campaign adviser featured prominently in the film, said on ABC's "This Week" it was "true enough to make me squirm."
Fox News' Chris Wallace asked McCain about comments recently made by Steve Schmidt, who called the film "the true story of what happened over those 10 weeks" and said he regrets "playing a part in the process that yielded someone on the ticket who was not prepared to be president."
"I regret that he would make such a statement," McCain answered stiffly.
Palin herself has hit back at the film with her own video titled "Game Change We Can Believe In," meant as a takeoff on the film's trailer.
The film's premiere also earned a mention on Saturday Night Live -- though without Tina Fey's infamous Palin impersonation. Watch as Andy Samberg attempted to fill her shoes: