Palin on 2012: I ain't bailin', but the media is failin'

Jake Turcotte

If you really twisted and contorted it, you could say Sarah Palin kind of talked about her intentions for 2012.  But you really had to stretch it.

It's not like, in her interview with ABC's Elizabeth Vargas, she got all Bruce Willis-like and said, "If I lose on Tuesday, I'm comin' back - and comin' back with a vengeance.  Yippee-kai-yay."

Although that would be a great interview.

Spin job

But that's how it got spun.  And spun hard.

If you read the transcript, or better yet watch the video (below), you'll see that reports of Palin announcing her candidacy for 2012 just don't add up.


ELIZABETH VARGAS: If it doesn't go your way on Tuesday ... 2012?

GOV SARAH PALIN: I'm just ... thinkin' that it's gonna go our way on Tuesday, November 4. I truly believe that the wisdom of ... of the people will be revealed on that day. As they enter that voting booth, they will understand the stark contrast between the two tickets. ...

VARGAS: But the point being that you haven't been so bruised by some of the double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, "I've had it. I'm going back to Alaska."

PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that, if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of the political shots that we've taken, that ... that would ... bring this whole ... I'm not doin' this for naught.  No, we're going to progress and keep going forward .  It is all worth it.  And I'm not complaining about any of it."

Headline gone bad

The whole "I'm not doin' this for naught" thing got people thinking she was planning ahead.  Out of context, sure you can see it.

ABC News wrote the headline, "Palin has an Eye on 2012" and - BOOM - news outlets around the globe followed suit.

Check out these headlines:

Palin mulling 2012?, Wall Street Journal
Off-the-leash Palin, keen to win, now or in 2012 -Sydney Morning Herald
Palin in 2012?, Forbes
Palin hints at 2012 election involvement, The Guardian
Sarah Palin in 2012? Oh boy., LA Times

But the best headline comes from  It reads, "Palin/Wurzelbacher 2012!"


Politico notes that ABC News has since retracted the headline.  What was once:

Palin Has an Eye on 2012
Palin says she didn't run for 'naught' and plans to stay in national politics

Turned into

Sarah Palin: 'Not Doing This For Naught'
John McCain's Vice Presidential Running Mate Remains Focused on Election Day Win


Tucker Eskew, a senior aide to Governor Palin, spoke to reporters last night to explain, from his point of view, what went down.

He said the network admitted they made a mistake and apologized.  His take on Palin's rambling answer about her future?

“In that interview Gov. Palin was asked ... about her intentions for 2012. She deflected those intentions and answered the question that she was planning to win. Deflecting isn’t probably the right word. She rejected that contention."

What about Vargas's question about heading back to Alaska?

"...She said I’m not going to wave the white flag of surrender and I’m not doing this for naught. She had talked extensively in this interview about what her reasons what motivated her in this campaign as a governor, a candidate, a mother and a woman. proceeded to write a terrifically misleading headline that confused–it’s a much better word that conflated–her answers to those two separate questions.”

CNN reports...

How blown out of proportion did it get?  CNN's Wolf Blitzer just may win that contest.

"And this just coming into the "Situation Room," the Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin now speaking out openly about her intentions in 2012 if, if she and John McCain were to lose this contest next Tuesday," Blitzer announced.

"In an interview with ABC News, Sarah Palin is now saying, she would be interested in remaining a serious national political figure, going ahead to 2012," he added.


CNN's Dana Bash, who has been the recipient of many-an-inside-scoop of late, was on the air with Blitzer and announced she had a conversation with a campaign worker who was left dumbfounded by Bash's news.

"I just got off of the phone, Wolf, with a senior McCain adviser and I read this person the quote and I think it is fair to say that this person was speechless," she said.  "There was a long pause and I just heard a huh on the other end of the phone."

As for 2012

Since this time things have settled down.  Palin is in Missouri and Pennsylvania - campaigning for 2008.  No reports of any on-the-side activity in Iowa although we will monitor the situation closely.

What will Palin be doing in 2012 anyway?  Someone asked Eskew that question.  A veteran of many campaign battles, he knows how to answer a question.

"Helping John McCain in his re-election," he said.

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