Dozens of senior staffers on McCain's presidential campaign ripped his running mate in a story in the August edition of Vanity Fair.
There were anonymous reports during the campaign of a top McCain aide calling Palin a "diva" and a "whack job," claiming she was "going rogue" when she went off-script -- and now several former staffers told Vanity Fair they feel guilty for pushing such a green candidate.
One aide said he "always wanted to tell myself the best-case story about her."
"I think, as I've evaluated it, I think some of my worst fears ... the after-election events have confirmed that her more negative aspects may have been there. ...I saw her as raw talent. Raw, but a talent. I hoped she could become better."
The relationship between Palin and McCain was strained and she had "the barest level of civil discourse" with her senior policy aide and GOP veteran, Tucker Eskew, according to the magazine.
She thought McCain's top strategist, Steve Schmidt, had lied to her about polling in Alaska after she feared her popularity was waning in her home state. It was a "belief she conveyed to anyone who would listen," according to the magazine.
"They can't quite believe that for two frantic months last fall, caught in a Bermuda Triangle of a campaign, they worked their tails off to try to elect as a vice president of the United States someone who, by mid-October, they believed for certain was nowhere near ready for the job, and might never be," according to Vanity Fair.
In an unprecedented move, Palin also tried to insist on giving her own concession speech on Election Night and spoke to McCain directly about her intentions on the walk from his hotel to the farewell rally.
She did not address the crowd that night.