By Geneva Sands - 03/11/12 06:27 PM EDT
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) denied watching the Saturday night premiere of "Game Change," a new HBO movie about his 2008 presidential campaign and the selection of running mate Sarah Palin.
He told "Fox News Sunday" that he instead opted to watch the Phoenix Coyotes hockey game and blasted the film as being biased and untrue.
"Of course I'm not going to watch it. It's based on a book that's completely biased and with unattributable quotes, et cetera," said McCain.
"What 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," he said.
Mark Halperin, who co-authored the book with John Heilemann, defended the film last week on MSNBC. "Rather than being a divisive thing, it's going to be something that is more uniting than most things like this about Sarah Palin because it shows the entire story truthfully, the times when she struggled and the times when she excelled," Halperin said.
Both authors were consulted on the film adaptation.
McCain told "Fox News Sunday" that he admires and respects his former running mate and was proud of the campaign they ran together.
"I'm grateful that she ran with me and I'll always be proud of what we did and humbled by the fact that I was able to get the nomination of the Republican party for president of the United States," McCain said.
The Arizona lawmaker also denied having said "find me a woman," a quote that the fictional McCain, played by actor Ed Harris, says when confronted with the need for a game changing vice presidential pick during the campaign.
When asked by Fox host Chris Wallace if he had ever said that, McCain responded "of course not."
"I thought 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," he said about his decision to chose Palin.
Steve Schmidt, McCain's 2008 campaign strategist, who is portrayed by Woody Harrelson in the movie, disagreed with the former presidential contender's assessment of the events four years ago.
"It’s 10 weeks synthesized into a two-hour movie, so things are compressed, but the emotions, the spirit, the events, what happened — it’s true. It's the true story of what happened over those ten weeks," said Steve Schmidt at the Washington, D.C. premiere of the movie, reported The Washington Post Friday.
McCain had a terse response to Schmidt's comments.
"I regret that he would make such a statement," McCain said.