Gotcha? Palin's encore performance with Couric

Jake Turcotte

Anyone complaining about Sarah Palin being inaccessible to the media is just looking in the wrong place. She's plenty available, as long as you're Katie Couric.

The Republican nominee for vice president did an encore with the CBS News anchor Monday night.  As an added bonus this time, Palin brought along running mate John McCain.

The three chatted about Pakistan, "gotcha journalism," and her previous interview. Well, in reality the interview was all about Palin. Palin's comment on Pakistan, whether Couric was engaging in gotcha' journalism with Palin, and the YouTube extravaganza which resulted from the prior interview.


Last week Palin appeared to tell a voter that she would support a US-led attack on Pakistan to, in her words, "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." Couric asked her if she should have said that and noted that the position sounded similar to Barack Obama's.

"We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies," she said.  "And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies.


Couric then asked McCain if she should have said that out loud.  McCain heavily criticized Obama last week in the debate for as McCain put it, "[Obama] said he would launch military strikes into Pakistan. Now, you don't do that. You don't say that out loud."

McCain decried gotcha journalism. Couric disagreed with him which led the Republican to say, "No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth."

Enter Sarah

Palin then jumped in with,"You're absolutely right on. In the context, this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, 'What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan.' I said we're gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America."

What did Palin learn from the experience, asked Couric.

"That this is all about 'gotcha' journalism," Palin said.  "A lot of it is. But that's okay, too."

There it is

Note this part in the video (see below).  Because this is where Palin expressed some confidence, some feistiness.  This is where her supporters say the true Sarah Palin resides.  As many conservatives have said, if the McCain campaign lets "Sarah be Sarah," we're going to see a different person emerge.

As we discussed earlier, the drum beat for "liberating Sarah from the campaign" got louder yesterday when conservative New York Times columnist Bill Kristol said such an action would be pivotal.

McCain needs to liberate his running mate from the former Bush aides brought in to handle her — aides who seem to have succeeded in importing to the Palin campaign the trademark defensive crouch of the Bush White House. McCain picked Sarah Palin in part because she’s a talented politician and communicator. He needs to free her to use her political talents and to communicate in her own voice.

A tough couple weeks

If what Kristol and others are suggesting is true, it would be quite a change from the last couple weeks.  She's had a rough outing with the press. What little exposure she's had with the media since being named McCain's co-pilot has been occasionally wince-inducing. Not appearing overly confident, her answers have been a jumble of McCain campaign talking points.

A scrambled Scrabble game

Her quotes come out like a completed Scrabble game. There are plenty words on the board, but few coherent sentences.

Unfair?  Make sense of this answer from last week's interview on whether Palin supported the now-failed $700 billion financial sector bailout.

"That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, we’re ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out," she explained. "But ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy. Helping the — it’s got to be all about job creation too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans and trade — we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today — we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity."

Palin random quotes generator

Now, compare this to a quote you would get from a new website that one of our readers alerted us to: the Palin random quotes generator.

"What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at also bipartisan effort those terrorists who would seek to destroy America and our allies"

Or this one:

And as Ronald Reagan believed that that has to be considered also, not as competitive, scary thing, but one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today.

Or even this one:

Senator McCain also showed great appreciation for what America a multi-faceted solution and we've got to keep an eye on Russia.

Sure, this could be a little unfair. After all, she appeared more confident in yesterday's outing with Couric.

Tin Foil

As to whether we'll see a confident Palin emerge for Thursday night's debate is another question.  It's all going to be rigged anyway, according to another one of our readers.

He was able to remove the tin foil from his head for just long enough to send us this email.

"Sarah Palin is preparing for the Debate alright," writes Jim. "Everything has already been written down for her. To be sure, her handlers plan to answer the questions for her. She will wear a transmitter, possibly an earpiece so as to repeat whatever she is being told.

"To be fair and balanced, the moderator should have a means of jamming all noises," he offered. "For the debate she will purposefully have her hair down to hide any listening device. The moderator and the debate commission should take the necessary steps to prevent any CHEATING."

Good tip. Thanks, Jim.

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