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The highs and lows of Sarah Palin's first interview

By Jimmy Orr / September 12, 2008

If the scrutiny in front of 37 million Americans last week wasn't enough for Sarah Palin, she's under the microscope again, and this time the reviews aren't as glowing. Or are they?

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The Alaska Governor did her first serious one-on-one interview yesterday with ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson. Gibson was under scrutiny as well. He appears to have passed the "I'm not People magazine" test and removed himself from any hot-seat.

So that leaves the moose-shooting hockey mom - Sarah Palin.

The feedback from her interview is mixed. There seems to be a consensus that when questioned about the Bush Doctrine, she whiffed. But how much of a whiff it was is the question. Was it a foul ball? A foul tip? A complete strikeout?

Keeping the baseball analogies up, there were no Bill Buckner or Steve Bartman moments. There wasn't a Kirk Gibson either.

The New York Times's Alessandra Stanley called it an "unnerving first interview." She said Palin looked good but seemed a bit programmed.

"Ms. Palin didn’t look rattled or lose her cool in her first interview with Mr. Gibson, the network anchor, on Thursday night, but she skittered through with general answers, sticking to talking points that flowed out quickly and spiritedly, a little too much by rote to satisfy her interviewer that she was giving his questions serious consideration," Stanley wrote.

The Washington Post's Howard Kurtz appears to agree, saying that she looked fine but was short on substance.

"Even Palin's critics should admit that, in terms of demeanor, she handled herself well for someone who three years ago was worried about the books in the Wasilla library. She projected confidence and was not openly rattled."

UPI's Martin Sieff was more gracious, saying she may have stumbled but got up quick.

"Palin's assessment of foreign policy was competent and not embarrassing. Although she initially exhibited ignorance of the Bush Doctrine on pre-emptive strikes that has been a central pillar of U.S. foreign policy after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she recovered quickly and then made the case clearly."

The review from Bloomberg's Jeremy Gerard is like that one guy at the barbecue who speculates about carbon sequestration when the conversation is about the Pittsburgh Steelers game.

"Palin may not have blinked when John McCain asked her to be his running mate. Last night, however, found her frozen in the Klieg lights as the dogged interlocutor set his sights on his visitor."

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