Chicago Sun-Times
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Palin flubs entitlement question in ABC interview while signaling she will not be a hot button crusader.


WASHINGTON--Sarah Palin, talking about domestic policy with ABC's Charles Gibson in his second day of exclusive access on Friday, seem confused about entitlement programs--and unaware that Congress cannot significantly cut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.

When she seemed to equate these entitlement programs to agencies "where we can find efficiencies in every department" Gibson lectured her that agencies are not involved in entitlements. Palin--who as governor of Alaska should be well versed in Medicaid--it is a joint state and federal program-- did not skip a beat, just plowed on about the growth of government.

Other points of the Palin interview--in the segment shown on the ABC Nightly News on Friday, and not including what will be on 20/20 later Friday-- suggested that a Vice President Palin was not going to crusade on the hot button social issues of abortion, embryonic stem cell research and homosexuality and would embrace John McCain's positions. She referred to the Arizona senator as "McCain" several times in the interview.

Of note:

*For someone running against Washington--an act of Congress helped define Palin's life. Palin, 44, a high school basketball player, said, "I am a product of Title 9," a reference for the section of the 1972 act of Congress to force female sports equity.

* On earmarks--McCain is on a crusade to ban them--Palin did not make full use of an opportunity by Gibson to persuasively explain why she was for the infamous Alaskan Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it--after it was dead in Congress.

She said she just read the "writing on the wall....that project is going nowhere... circumstances have so drastically changed," she said. "You call an audible, you deal with reality and you move on."

*She justified an earmark for an Alaskan study on the "mating habits of crabs" because it was done, she said, in the open.

*The anti-abortion Palin said Roe v Wade should be reversed and the question of abortion be decided by states. She said she wants to reach out to other side on this issue to work to reduce abortions and find "greater support" for adoptions. No mention in question or answer of her teen unwed pregnant daughter.

*Palin differs with McCain on abortion. John and Cindy McCain would allow abortions for victims of rape and incest. Palin would only allow an exception if the life of the mother was in danger. "This is my personal opinion," she pleaded. Would she change her position on rape and incest? "Please understand me on this. I do understand McCain's position on this. I do understand others who are passionate about this issue who have a different view."

*On stem cell research, the McCain campaign released a radio ad Friday touting his support for stem cell research the Bush White House--and Palin opposes. Palin said she "owes it to Americans" to explain her personal opinion which "may end up different than what the policy in an administration might be."

*She's not a gay basher. Gibson asked Palin if homosexuality was genetic or learned and she said it's not for her to "judge" people.

*Palin said Barack Obama may regret not tapping Hillary Clinton to be his running mate.
"I think he's regretting not picking her now, I do. What, what determination, and grit, and even grace through some tough shots that were fired her way -- she handled those well."


She doesn't know about Social Security, she doesn't know about the mortgage crisis, she doesn't know foreign policy, she isn't even consistent on the bridge to nowhere. So what is the reason for voting for her?

Not ready for prime time

Please check this out ... the most comprehensive page of information on Sarah Palin on the Internet ... including videos of her saying her proposed $30 billion pipeline is the “will of God,” her saying a month ago she doesn’t know what the vice-president does, and her recently praising the biggest pork barrel spender in Congress Ted Stevens -

Palin seemed very inexperienced in the interview. She talked like she was on a high school debate team, fast, out of breath, and rambling. There were times when it appeared she was about to make a point, thought better of it and changed topic. It was rather obvious that she was coached. I don't think we saw the real Sarah Palin in that interview.

Well charlie gibson certainly is an arragont condecending jerk, but then again he works for abc, so you can expect as much. He would not ask obama any tough questions because he is biased, but again this is abc, the Anti-American Broadcast Company.

Just give Sarah Palin enough time to talk and it won't be long before we see how ignorant she is. The positions she holds are those of the Bush administration. Can you imagine her taking the presidency if McCain takes ill? I can not fathom the possibility. That woudl surly be the end of the US of A!

I note you say "Gibson lectured". Lecture away, Chalie. Your credibility was shot in the first minute of last night's interview. Every time you show your liberal bias, you strengthen the resolve of more Americans. And it isn't the kind of resolve the liberal media wants. Watch the voters flee, Charles. Your trying to destroy someone who's popularity grows with every media smear.

Yep that our girl. We are very proud of her. We are all voiting twice so she can win. I am not sure what happened to what his name running with her. Hopefully he is still on the ticket.

This lady is so ill equipped to take over as vice president that it is scary. This is more about how bad John McCain's judgement really is. It's obvious he is willing to do or say anything to become President. If could could tell the American people with a straight face this was the best number two i could come up with i have a bridge to nowhere to sell you.

Lynn Sweet's report of the Palin interview is somewhat subjective. I saw the interview and had a different take of it. The use of the term "confused" as related to entitlement programs and reference to her daughter who was not mentioned in the interview were pejorative and inappropriate.

There appears to me there is significant waste in entitlement programs from mis-administration and fraud that can be reduced. The discusion about about abortion was on a belief and policy level. The reference to Palin's daughter in that discussion was off-topic and unnecessary.

a reminder to everyone on Obama's choice of Joe Biden

1- everyone, including Bill said Joe was the best pick. They looked good together, and really people felt assured after Joe's pick.

2- Obama was applaused by everyone for making the decision of VP and how he needed to choose someone, apart from steping in to be a president, he needed to consider someone that he gets along with, the Bill Clinton effect, etc.

3- For the McCain camp, everything is a reaction to Obama's action including VP pick and now stealing the Change banner. (No strategy of their own)Is this how a country will be run????

I wonder what the outcome would be had the democratic convention was after the Republicans?

Was Governor Palin reading her answers or was she actually thinking on the spot? What were the ground rules for the interview? Was it extemporaneous or did she have the questions prior to the interview? The way they were sitting, it didn't look like she wasn't looking in Gibson's eyes, she looked like she was reading her answers.

What were the ground rules for this interview? Was she reading her answers?

Here's my thought on the whole election thing. I don't particularly want a President who can pass a pop quiz or multiple choice test.I want someone capable of digesting information provided by numerous sound sources in an analytical manner and then is capable of making a decision that has at its core the best interests of the American population. Thus, my vote will be based on who I believe is capable of that task. A President simply cannot "know" everything. If that is the criterion, why not elect a professor from some university? Clinton was extremely intelligent but his ability to make decisions was an atrocity. A prime example is his having done absolutely nothing when the USS Cole was struck by terrorists. Say what you will about George W. but at least he made a decision within hours of 9/11 to get into Afganistan and kick some perverbial ass.

Sarah Palin is an amazing piece of work; McCain has shown his insanity side in selecting her. There is no way a thinking person can consider her qualified for the VP position.

As a 60 year old Vietnam combat veteran, I admire and respect John McCain's service for our country, but I cannot understand his pick of Sarah Palin as his running mate. She is not qualified to be a heart beat away form the presidency. I want smart, experienced and well educated people in government. Sarah Palin scares me!

Several days back David Gregory interviewed a fact-checker on his program.
This individual stated he had researched Palin's background and while she was personally believed in "right-to-life" and personally practiced her beliefs she proposed no legislative or executive actions in Alaska to further her beliefs.
This individual indicated that members of the Alaska legislature had requested on several occasions that she call the legislature into special session to address "right-to-life" issues and she refused. It should be noted that Alaska has some of the most permissive laws regarding abortion rights.
It appears that she can seperate her personal beliefs from governmental actions.
I was relieved.

It's a distinction without a difference to nitpick whether or not Social Security is an agency. There's a bureacracy involved. The program is continuously expanded. Billions get added on to the entitlements obligation then we're supposed to shrug our shoulders and say there's nothing we can do about that.

Gibson acted like he was giving a wait-'till-your-father-gets-home talk to his teenage daughter. They even went to her high school. I'll have to assume that was ABC's idea. Sarah was enjoying herself, energetic, smiling, saying hi to everyone and then Gibson turns around with a stern, impatient look on his face and says let's get serious. What a setup.

When will we see Obama sit down for a real interview? Never. He has to stand behind the podium pontificating.
Even the 'town hall' meeting on 9/11 he followed McCain. The media is softballing him, yet they grill Palin. Discerning 1 got it right. We don't need 'know it alls' attempting to show us how smart they are. The rest of you need to get a clue. You are being spoon fed by the libs.


What the hell does her daughter being pregnant have to do with her stand on abortion? Other than it's obvious that she, having a child with Downs, and her daughter, decided it wasn't the right option.

For anyone complaining that Gibson was 'too tough' on Palin, maybe you weren't aware that they picked him. They could have gone to O'Reilly, like Bush and Cheney have done so often. They, obviously, thought it would be the easiest of all the more credible interviewers.

Gibson went easy on her compared to the thrashing she would have received from real liberal interviewers like Rachel Maddow or Thom Hartmann.

What's obvious is that you can not 'cram' for an interview. She got McCain some attention, and she got him a post-convention bounce among likely Republican voters. But that's where it ends. The 'hockey mom' is obviously ill-prepared to work in the pit that is Washington DC, she doesn't know the issues or nuances of international politics and has only the most rudimentary understanding of our own nation's political infrastructure.

And, to quote John McCain, "that's not change you can believe in."

I really wanted Gibson to nail her on the earmarks but he mostly let it slide. OK, so Palin's position on the 'bridge to nowhere' 'evolved'. Why didn't she send the money back? What the heck did she mean by 'it was out in the open' when it came to all the other earmarks she got?

If Gibson was playing hardball with her, he would have asked why, if she's for 'change' and 'against earmarks', did she hire a lobbyist to go get her those earmarks? But he didn't.

Sorry, Palin supporters, this was not that tough an interview. If she can't handle this, how can she handle being VP or, God forbid, President?

She is likable and talented, but she is not ready to be Vice President or President. Let's quit bashing her. It was a judgment call on McCain's part to choose someone in the event that he dies. He did not choose someone who could jump right in. He chose someone who would serve his own self interests. Let's place the outrage where it belongs--on McCain.

You headline for this article smacks (to me) of sensationalism. You state in your header that Palin "flubs" the question on entitlement, but you then proceed to say that "it seems" she doesn't understand. So, did she flub it or does it "just seem like" she did?

No matter what your political affiliation, you've got to appreciate the drama in this campaign. Sarah Palin got in under the radar and now the liberal MSM is sh&%$#tting bricks to recoup. I'm lovin' it!!!!!!!!!!

The only person who came off badly in the Palin interview was Charles Gibson. He was condescending and hostile, and I commend Palin for not punching him in the nose. In the face of his determination to "get her," she was poised and confident. Has the media's darling, Obama, ever faced such tough scutiny and been asked such pointed questions? When have you questioned all his past controversial ties or asked him extremely detailed questions on his plans, then nitpicked his answers? It is clear that the media is solidly on Obama's side and are furious that the Republican conservative base is excited and energized. Gibson came off as a sour-puss.

I also saw the David Gregory interview and Gregory seemed very disappointed when the gentleman informed him that he could find nothing that showed Sarah Palin attempted to limit a woman's right to choose during her years in elected office.

If this is factual it would go along way in-making Sarah Palin acceptable to many other women.

well obama would never get an entitlement question wrong, because he wants to raise our taxes higher than a giraffes nuts to put more of reverend wrights flock on the entitlement rolls.

If you looked at most of the congregation at Rev. Wright's church, you would have seen highly educated, affluent people, and not welfare seeking vessels. Stop the hate! You can support the Palin/ McSame ticket without detesting African Americans.
Charlie Gibson did his job. He was prepared. Unfortunately, Sarah was not.

The honeymoon is almost over for Sarah Palin and family. They seemed to enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.

I'm not sure who I'm voting for first of all...

But I had to laugh at some of these comments. Palin came across poised and confident? Seriously? Were we watching the same interview?

I'm not a big Obama fan, but lordy Palin was completely unprepared for that interview. She had to know the kinds of questions that would be asked. If she can't prepare for an interview could she lead this country if she had to?

Why on Earth couldn't McCain have picked another running mate that doesn't scare the heck out of people.

Are McCain supporters REALLY not worried about having her in the White House? REALLY?

Sarah Palin may be good at being a governor in Alaska, but she is decidedly NOT VP material. She has shown a disquieting lack of knowledge of or interest in national affairs outside of Alaska or international affairs. So far, all of her interviews have been terrible. She should have told McCain: "Thanks but no thanks" when he offered her the position.

In addition, I noticed that she is good at taking verbal potshots at Biden and Obama. But sooner or later, she will have to articulate her own vision of where she would like to help McCain take this country.

When someone makes snarky remarks but can't say anything substantial or of consequence, it's called writing a check with your mouth that your behind can't cash.

Regardless of how many other hockey moms can relate to her, it's a bad idea to vote for someone mainly on the basis of their similarities to you. That's why we've had 8 bad years of GW Bush.

For those of you who wonder about Sarah Palin.I have but one name to evoke, Dan (potatoe) Quayle.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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