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Sarah Palin had her first big interview (6 parts) this week since being selected as John McCain’s running mate.  Paul F. Villareal made the video’s available at YouTube.

Of course, ABC played it for as much air time as they could… including repeating sections of the interview on 20/20 last night.

Let’s see, Thursday “World News”, Thursday “Nightline”, Friday “World News”, Friday “20/20”, Friday “Nightline”.  I’m assuming the advertising dollars were substantial.  If the new season of “Lost” had started by now, they might have included bits of the interview there as well.  I suppose they still can.

I’ve watched all of them, and my impression is:

  1. Sarah showed she can handle herself just fine.
  2. Palin is ready to take and articulate her positions and hold firm.
  3. ABC/Gibson are desperate to trap Palin and clearly edited the interview in ways intended to make her look bad.
  4. Gibson was ridiculously and unnecessarily condescending.
  5. Gibson tried to make some of his poor interview questions look like failings on Palin’s part.
  6. Charles Gibson is no Tim Russert.  Try as he might.

The best part of the interview was when Palin responded to the question about her reaction to being asked to join McCain on the ticket: “You can’t blink!”, essentially saying that you cannot hesitate in making decisions at this level, and she’s ready to do that.  That should be a well repeated refrain for this campaign.

Now, I’ll grant there were a couple of rough spots, particularly when asked about her National Security credentials as related to Russia, which she apparently did not answer directly.  Now, it appeared that part of her answer was edited out, so it’s hard to know what really happened there.

In watching both the “Palin/Gibson” and “McCain/The View” interviews, it’s clear that the McCain campaign is working very hard to soften the Pro-life message.  In both cases, the interviewees made a very clear statement that while they had a specific position on the topic, they did not expect their position to be the basis of policy, but rather that they both desired to see the issue opened back up, presumably by filling SCOTUS with Constitutional Constructionist jurists and having them reverse Roe v. Wade, and let the states take ownership of the issue.  For this issue, that is definitely the right model, and creates the opportunity to placate both the strongly conservative and the more moderate parts of the electorate.

At the end of “20/20”, it was interesting that they brought in George Stephanopoulos, Dee Dee Myers and Torie Clark to analyze Palin’s performance.  I thought it would be hypercritical, but was surprised both at the even-handedness of the analysis, and the fact that Myers spoke positively and came to Palin’s defence at times when she could have slammed her for political points.  I was more impressed with the panel than with Gibson.

There was initial analysis early Friday from Alessandra Stanley analysis at the New York Times, and Jeff Angelo analysis at God, Politics, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.  More late Friday night from Sister Toldjah, and some analysis on comparisons to other interviews by Gibson (good stuff here) at Hot Air.  Other comments by DavidL at Bitsblog, with more to come there and elsewhere I’m sure.

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