Monday, September 08, 2008

(and that may be just what Team McCain is hoping)

Josh Marshall thinks the upcoming interview of Sarah Palin by ABC's Charlie Gibson is going to be a farce, noting, among other things, this from an AP story:

Here's some more to inspire confidence ...

The interview is a coup for Gibson, who also had the only sit-down with McCain during the Republican National Convention. During that interview, he did not question McCain about Palin's family, a decision that he fretted about for hours, Gibson said in a Web log posted last week.

"Once you know about her daughter's pregnancy, once you know about her husband's political interest in the Alaska Independent Party, once you know about the special nature of their latest child, I think that's enough," Gibson wrote.

The relevant questions about Palin all related to her experience and policy positions as a mayor and governor of Alaska....

But watch that part of the interview. (Sorry -- ABC won't let me embed it.) Gibson is a bit incredulous at McCain's claim that Palin has adequate experience, and he persists. From the transcript:

GIBSON: ...Can you honestly say you feel confident having someone who hasn't traveled outside the United States until last year, dealing with an insurgent Russia, with an Iran with nuclear ambitions, with an unstable Pakistan, not to mention the war on terror?

MCCAIN: Sure. And one of the key elements of America's national security requirements are energy. She understands the energy issues better than anybody I know in Washington, D.C., and she understands.

Alaska is right next to Russia. She understands that. Look, Sen. Obama's never visited south of our border. I mean, please.

So she is experienced. She's talented. She knows how to lead and she has been vetted by the people of the state of Alaska....

GIBSON: But you criticized, for a long time, Sen. Obama...


GIBSON: ... based on his lack of experience...


GIBSON: ... in your words...


GIBSON: ... with the foreign policy area. Jan. 6, I'm quoting you, "Sen. Obama does not have the national security experience and background to be president."

MCCAIN: I said he didn't...

GIBSON: Sarah Palin does?

(If you watch the clip you'll see that, at this moment, Gibson seems clearly incredulous.)

MCCAIN: I said that he didn't have the judgment. He doesn't have the judgment. He didn't have the judgment on Iraq. He still refuses to acknowledge that the surge has succeeded.

... I'm proud of her vision. I'm proud of her strength. And everybody knows energy is a key element in American strength and future. She knows how to address that issue.

GIBSON: You had many people to consider. Sen. Lieberman, who has spent a lifetime in government.


GIBSON: Gov. Romney, who has had large executive experience. Tom Ridge, who has served in so many different capacities.

And you feel she's more qualified than any of them.

MCCAIN: Of course, I think, overall, she's by far the best candidate....

This isn't bad -- and it got McCain to utter what were quite unconvincing bullet points (not to mention lie about what he'd said regarding Obama).

A few other questions, though they weren't broadcast:

GIBSON: Earmarks...[Palin] got $27 million in earmarks for her small town. You have talked about them in pernicious terms that you campaign. So why are they OK for them?

GIBSON: Gave a speech or spoke at a Pentecostal church not long ago, said, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers," talking about Iraq, "on a task that is from God." "From God." Do you agree?

GIBSON: She reportedly favors teaching creationism along with evolution.

Yes, if you read the transcript, you'll see he also tossed McCain quite a few softballs. Therefore, I think his interview of Palin will be a similar mix of fluff and tough.

But I think that's exactly what the McCain people are counting on. They didn't want an all-softball interview -- they wanted an interviewer (definitely a man) to be tough (though not devastatingly so) so they can attack the media, again, for meanness and unfairness (he hit a girl!) and inadequate "deference." They're counting on feigning outrage about a question or two. Or about the editing. (I'm sure Team Palin will give Gibson a lengthy tour of Palinworld, and if the interview doesn't present huge chunks of that and focuses instead on substantive questions, Republicans will scream "Bias!")

So I think we'll get an OK interview. And the McCain people will make hay of it.

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