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 September, 2008


 Palin's Couric Interview

Palin’s Pakistan Problem
By Al Owens

If you’ve never been called to the principal’s office with your parents at your side – that recent Katie Couric/Sarah Palin/John McCain re-do interview was just that.

For me, it was Déjà vu. For Palin, who’d failed miserably during her one-on-one with Couric last week, it must’ve felt like she’d been caught throwing water balloons on the playground, and her papa had come to school to defend water-ballooning as a healthy outlet for normal kids.

It didn’t work. It added more steam to the argument that Palin is in over her head.

Last week, CBS released the original interview between Couric and Palin in gaffe sized chunks. Palin had a hard time answering basic questions.
That launched a number calls for her removal from the presidential ticket, and even from staunch conservatives.

She’d even managed to get lead stories in news shows despite an economy in the throes of a coronary.

These days, a vice-presidential candidate can’t get away with an answer that defies credulity, so much so, that the person (Couric) who asks it – appears to be pondering if she should pick up a loaf of bread on the way home.

Palin just doesn’t seem vice-presidential.

Or vice-presidential enough to avoid colloquial phrases that make her sound – well, er, Not-Ready-For-Prime-Time.

The classic Palinism can be found in the answer to Couric’s question about that proposed $700 billion financial bail-out.
Couric asked her about the need to support taxpayers, when it looked like much of the financial relief could go to the people on Wall Street who’d “created this mess.”

Palin flew into a meandering 54 second answer that showed she knows more about how to recite her scripted talking points (she glanced at them seven times) than she does the complexities of the issue.

The McCain campaign sent her out with crib notes. A clear sign they’d thought Palin was trying to pass some kind of test. One that she’d failed a few weeks back, when ABC’s Charles Gibson had asked her why she thought she had foreign policy experience.

“You can throw water balloons from Moscow to Juneau,” may have well have been her answer.

With interviews like those, no wonder papa McCain was forced into showing his public support for his fired up, yet under fire V.P. selection.

Thus, he and Palin got a second chance to pry Couric free from her thoughts about her upcoming trip to the mall, by attempting to answer direct questions with coherent answers.

When I was ten years-old, I thought the only way you could repair a hole in a bed sheet, was to get out a pair of scissors and cut a bigger hole.

McCain and Palin brought the scissors equivalent to the latest Couric interview. And the resultant hole was much bigger than the first.

That was helped along by the aftermath of Friday night’s debate between McCain and Barack Obama.

One of the more contentious subjects of that debate, which got bogged down in semantics, was the willingness to chase Osama Bin Laden into Pakistan – if there was “actionable” intelligence.

Obama maintains he’d do that. McCain kept claiming he wouldn’t because he has the requisite national security skills.

That was Friday night. By Saturday, Palin encountered a fan at a South Philly sandwich shop, who asked her, "So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?"

Since her crib notes weren’t within reach, Palin blurted out, “If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should.”

On Sunday, McCain painted on his happy face, and tried, quite awkwardly, to explain his running mate’s obvious affinity for one of his opponent’s positions.

By Monday, when the American economy looked like it was holding a going-out-of-business sale, McCain and Palin appeared with Couric in tandem.
McCain bristled when Couric asked him about Palin’s apparent “Pakistan” gaffe. They both claimed it was “gotcha journalism.”

Well, if potential voters can’t even Palin simple questions, without them being accused of being “gotcha” journalists, then, perhaps Palin needs to be issued flash cards.

Edward A. Owens of Uniontown is Webmaster of “Red Raider Nation: Where Champions Live.” E-mail him at freedoms@bellatlantic.net