I admit, I didn’t watch the interview live. I figured that I would see enough clips of it today that I could make some judgments.
My initial response: she had pat answers in some cases, clearly a result of her last several days of what I call party programming. But, apparently they missed a few key topics, one of them being the Bush Doctrine. What you can’t see here is the “deer in the headlights” look that came over Palin’s face. Here’s what was said:
GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
GIBSON: The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?
PALIN: His world view.
GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.
PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made. And with new leadership, and that's the beauty of American elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better.
GIBSON: The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?
PALIN: I agree that a president's job, when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America. I know that John McCain will do that and I, as his vice president, families we are blessed with that vote of the American people and are elected to serve and are sworn in on January 20, that will be our top priority is to defend the American people.
GIBSON: Do we have a right to anticipatory self-defense? Do we have a right to make a preemptive strike again another country if we feel that country might strike us?
PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.
OK, she had no clue what the Bush Doctrine was. I admit, though, that I wouldn’t have been able to explain it precisely, but then again, I’m not running for the office of Vice President with John McCain. I can’t imagine, however, someone more seasoned like Joe Biden missing this question. Frankly, I can’t see how any Republican in any key political office would have missed it. This seems to indicate that Palin is too much of a newbie to the world of big time party politics. My opinion is that one has to have a good idea of how to work the system if one plans to CHANGE the system.
Also, reflecting what I think is a very small time view of the world, and Alaska’s neighbor Russia, we heard this:
GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions particularly in the last couple weeks does the proximity of the state give you?
PALIN: They’re our next door neighbors. And you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska.
Wow. That was an incredibly shallow answer. You know, since I live a few miles from the Lake Erie shore, and sometimes, when the air temperature just right over the lake it acts as a lens and the shore of Canada can be seen, I suppose that would qualify me to be Vice President, too! OK, all sarcasm aside, I think her response shows that she has a very limited perception of the world.
I think ABC got exactly what it wanted – eyeballs watching their show. But I am not sure if the McCain/Palin and the Republican Party got what it wanted. It will be interesting to how part 2 of the interview (airing tonight) plays out.
In case you’re interested, here’s what the media had to say about the interview. I think the NY Times nailed it.
Press Reviews Palin Performance on ABC
By E&P Staff
Published: September 11, 2008 11:00 PM ET
NEW YORK Early press reactions to the much-awaited first installment of Charles Gibson's ABC interview with Sarah Palin follows.
The Associated Press: "Palin said other than a trip to visit soldiers in Kuwait and Germany last year — 'a trip of a lifetime' that 'changed my life' — her only other foreign travel was to Mexico and Canada. She also said she had never met a head of state and added: 'If you go back in history and if you ask that question of many vice presidents, they may have the same answer that I just gave you.'
"Pressed about what insights into recent Russian actions she gained by living in Alaska, Palin answered: 'They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.'
"In the interview Thursday, Palin appeared unsure of the Bush doctrine — essentially that the United States must help spread democracy to stop terrorism and that the nation will act pre-emptively to stop potential foes.
"Asked whether she agreed with that, Palin said: 'In what respect, Charlie?' Gibson pressed her for an interpretation of it. She said: 'His world view.' That prompted Gibson to say 'no, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war' and describe it to her."
The New York Times: "ABC News delivered the first glimpse of Ms. Palin without a script or a cheering audience, and it was a strained and illuminating conversation. Ms. Palin, who kept inserting Mr. Gibson’s nickname, 'Charlie,' into her answers, as if to convey an old hand’s conviviality, tried to project self-confidence, poise and even expertise: She let Mr. Gibson know that she had personally reassured the Georgian president and correctly pronounced his last name, Saakashvili. At times, her eyes looked uncertain and her voice hesitated, and she looked like a student trying to bend prepared answers to fit unexpected questions.
"Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair and wriggled his foot impatiently, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee, but doesn’t believe she merits admission."
The Daily News-Miner of Fairbanks, Alaska: "Passengers on a tour bus and two truckloads of moose hunters lucked out Thursday afternoon with an unexpected opportunity to shake hands and say hello to Gov. Sarah Palin and her husband Todd Palin.
"During her second day back in Alaska after being tapped as Sen. John McCain’s running mate, Palin met up with ABC News’ Charles Gibson at the trans Alaska oil pipeline viewing site off the Steese Highway near Fox about eight miles north of Fairbanks. With ABC film crews and the Secret Service standing by, the Palins worked a line of tourists before posing for pictures with the moose hunters in front of one of two boats the men were hauling north to the Koyukuk River.
"Headed into the Alaska wilderness for 12 days, the moose hunters probably won’t get to see the interview. But they’ve got quite a story to relive around the campfire, as well as the governor’s blessing. 'Bye, guys!' she called out before climbing into a waiting SUV. 'Get a moose!'"
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