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FOX News Gives Palin A Do-Over

Reported by Ellen - October 4, 2008 -

“Campaign” Carl Cameron, who was famously shown in Outfoxed bragging about his wife's efforts to elect then-candidate George W. Bush president, put the same “fair and balanced” journalistic instincts to work in his post-debate interview with Sarah Palin yesterday (10/3/08) that just happened to give her the opportunity to revisit and clean up all those embarrassing moments with CBS and ABC. FOXNews.com called it a “second stab at 'gotcha' questions.” Palin was as disingenuous and unbelievable as ever. Cameron ate up every word. Any clear-thinking person would have to call it Palin Infomercial 2.0. (Hat tip to Jon Stewart). Even with all the extra help, Palin flubbed some of her answers all over again. With video.

Any doubts that the intent of the interview was anything other than a blatant effort to polish Palin's tarnished image were dispelled by Cameron's first substantive question, “Anything you want to revise from last night?”

You betcha there was. “Oh, I mispronounced General McKiernan's name, called him McClellan. I apologize for that. Other than that, nope,” Palin answered. Well, golly gee, she “forgot” that she had mischaracterized McKiernan's recommendations along with the “mispronunciation” of getting the name totally wrong.

Cameron obviously knew that that was not her only mistake because he moved on to address her misstatement that troop levels in Iraq had returned to pre-surge levels. But why embarrass the potnetial leader of the free world with any facts? So instead he asked for truthiness: “Walk us through your math and what you were thinking you were talking about.”

Golly, that was a toughie for Palin. She offered up this nonsensical answer: "Just -- well, as victory's getting closer and closer, we know that we're going to be able to draw down those troops. Send them to Afghanistan, not specifically that, those striker brigades, those troops. We'll have more resources to be able to put into Afghanistan, and start what I believe, and what I believe our commanders have referred to also as, the principles of a surge there also in Afghanistan, in a counter-insurge strategy that should work."

She seemed to be saying we're down to pre-surge levels because we're getting closer and closer to pre-surge levels.

No follow up from Cameron, natch. He went on to praise her and for all intents and purposes declare her the winner (no mention that polls found differently):

Folks said, wow, that was like Sarah barracuda out there last night. Because it was back and forth and you were taking on Joe Biden. Do you think you surprised him by the way in which you were prepared to sort of go after his record and Obama's? What was the body language and the psychology between the two of you on that? Because he was sighing a lot. And some folks thought that you kind of exasperated him.

Aw shucks, that was nothing; there just wasn't enough time to attack him as much as she had wanted to. But while Palin may be a lightweight in the facts department, she knows a political opportunity when she sees one. So she used the opening Cameron had just offered her to get in a little bit of what she had had to leave out the night before.

Cameron brought up Palin's unique “explanation” in the debate of the role of the vice president. “What do you mean by that?” he asked.

Palin replied, “That thankfully, our founders were wise enough to say, we have this position and it's Constitutional. Vice presidents will be able to be not only the position flexible, but it's going to be sort of those other duties as assigned by the president. It's a simple thing. I don't think that was a gaff at all in stating what the truth is. And that is we've got flexibility in the position. The president will be directing in a lot of respects what the vice president does. The vice president, of course, is not a member -- or a part of the legislative branch, except to oversee the Senate. That alone provides a tremendous amount of flexibility and authority if that vice president so chose to use it... As I tried to explain last night, our executive branch will know what our job is. We have the three very distinct branches of government. You know, we might be bleeding our authority over to the Legislative or Judicial branch to do our job in the Executive branch as administers.”

Gee whiz, that really clears it up, eh? Cameron evidently thought so. He didn't seem to think it worth mentioning that as recently as this summer, Palin stated she did not know what a vice president did. Nor did he go into the fact that the Founding Fathers provided quite a different role for the VP than the one we have now.

Instead of pinning her down now, Cameron said, “OK” and moved on to talk about the Katie Couric interview.

“I'll tell ya, the Sarah Palin in those interviews is a little bit annoyed,” Palin told him. Why? Because the open-ended and general questions Couric asked, about the thinking, the philosophy and the world views of a largely unknown vice presidential candidate, were gonna be used to “clobber” Palin.

Palin said she wanted to talk about “what a V.P. candidate stands for” and the values her ticket represents. But she couldn't, apparently, with all those pesky questions about foreign policy.

So what are those values and what does a V.P. Candidate stand for? Palin never got around to saying in this interview because she continued by attacking Obama.

From there, Cameron helpfully revisited the questions Palin got so disastrously wrong in the Couric interview (now that she has obviously had time to reconsider them). Sure enough, Palin was ready to rattle off the names. She claimed that the Economist is among her regular reading material and blithely recited a few Supreme Court cases she claimed to disagree with.

Palin may have been a little ticked off by ABC and NBC but doggone it, when it comes to talking directly to the American people, she promised to be right there. She said, “I look forward to speaking to the media more and more everyday and providing whatever access the media would want. My life is certainly an open book.” Sure it is. That's why she's stonewalling the Troopergate investigation she once welcomed.

And she doesn't appear to have plans for speaking to the media soon. She won't be on any of the Sunday talk shows this weekend.

Not that Cameron found any reason to doubt her newly-proclaimed spirit of accessibility. “Anybody who's spent any time with you can tell that you really enjoy this,” he said.

The video of the complete interview is below. You can read a transcript here. You can read a transcript of the debate here.