Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Sarah Palin changes my mind about her Couric interview; she's still stuck on Ayers.


Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's Going Rogue is really two books: about half an interesting telling of growing up in Alaska, an outdoor and sport-filled life -- and a good chunk of the second half whacking her McCain campaign crew of handlers.

The rap on the book -- published Tuesday -- is its accuracy when it comes to her recounting her bad times during the campaign.

The bottom line is this: If you like or are fascinated with Palin and want to know more about one of the most outsized political figures in the nation -- who may run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012 (or, who knows, become a talk show host) -- well, this is her side of the story, shopping sprees and all.

There are good guys in the memoir of the former Republican vice presidential candidate -- her husband Todd, her family, her pals, McCain and his wife, Cindy -- and the forces of evil that dragged her down during the 2008 presidential campaign -- notably McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt and Nicolle Wallace, a campaign spokeswoman.

Schmidt has called the book fiction, and Wallace disputes a lot of stuff in it; they do come off pretty bad.

In the book -- written with Lynn Vincent -- Palin goes on at length about Wallace-engineered interviews with CBS anchor Katie Couric, which yielded the segment that made Palin seem like an idiot. She fumbled after Couric asked her what newspapers and magazines she regularly read. With other prissy pundits, I'm sure I clucked someplace about how could Palin not be able to answer such a simple question.

After reading Palin's side of this episode, I've changed my mind. By the time Couric asked the question, Palin had given her exclusive access over a period of days. She thought Couric had a "partisan agenda."

So after giving Couric a lot of time, during a walk-and-talk with Couric -- and cranked up with an "icy" diet Dr. Pepper -- she writes that the question about what she read struck her as a "heavy dose of condescension . . . as though [Couric] had suddenly stumbled on a primitive newcomer from an undiscovered tribe." She was irritated and blew the answer.

For all the brakes put on her by the campaign, Palin writes about taking relish in accusing President Obama of "palling around with terrorists."

In the book, she just won't give up on linking Obama to William Ayers, the former Weather Underground leader now living in Chicago. She continues to insist that Obama's political career was spawned in Ayers living room, when in fact it took more than one event to start Obama on the course that led him -- and not McCain -- to the White House.


I think the reason Palin would rather write than host a talk show is she is not bright enough! The only way she can do a speech is if someone else writes it for her. That's why when she did the interview with Katie Couric, her answers came out stupid is because that's who she is and that's the kind of answers she gives on her own no one could be there to answer for her. If she is even thinking about running in 2012 she better think twice she is not bright enough to run for president, well maybe dumb blonde club president or something along that line. How she ever became Gov. is beyond me. I don't have an education other than a high school but believe I'm smarter than her. Maybe her looks got her their, that's all she has going for her.

It is so sad to see women in this country (liberal ones) holding a grudge against Sara,
it is obvious and is pure envy. I know... it was supposed to be a flakey lib like Nancy P. that got this attention, but no it is a real woman who breeds children and trusts in our constitutional rights and rejects BIG GOVERNMENT. What a horrible deal huh?
Just not what the feminists are looking for...good!
Thanks for talking about ayers again and lets keep making good with every terrorist. Obama is a bad president and figure for the U.S., If you disagree give it some time and you will see the light. He is no Bill Clinton not even close.

Palin's beef with Wallace about the Couric interview is ridiculous. What man running for public office would believe that a male national network news anchor would conduct an interview for the purpose of simply comparing their experiences of being a working father with that of the candidate. Talk about sexist, that is insulting to female candidates and female reporters.

@Marty - Any grudge against Sarah Palin is rooted in the fact that people (women included) didn't want an unqualified candidate to win the election. McCain only chose her as his running mate because he was losing badly in the polls and needed to roll the dice.

If a woman is to assume such a post (i.e - vice president or president), they should be exceedingly intelligent, a deep thinker, well educated, well spoken, and politically experienced. To me, Sarah Palin appears to lack these all of these qualities.


Ms. Palin's first name is Sarah - not Sara.



So after giving Couric a lot of time, during a walk-and-talk with Couric -- and cranked up with an "icy" diet Dr. Pepper -- she writes that the question about what she read struck her as a "heavy dose of condescension . . . as though [Couric] had suddenly stumbled on a primitive newcomer from an undiscovered tribe." She was irritated and blew the answer.

Ms. Sweet, regardless if she thought the question was condescending it was her response that made her seem from an undiscovered tribe.

Palin's euro-centric perspective on life makes one feel "How dare you ask such a question?" President Obama was asked irritable questions as well, but he took the time to answer them tactfully. Remember each time President Obama gave a "Teachable Moment?"

She was asked several questions repeatedly, especially "What is the Bush Doctrine which Palin never answered with a concise response. She still has not done that to this day. Maybe that was a condescending question as well, but a reasonable answer would have easily made her seem on point on these topics. Instead she preferred to become belligerent which made her seem extremely unintelligent. - I am being nice in stating her refusal to answer concisely the questions which made her look silly instead of simply stating she is unqualified to be President of the United States.

By Marty on November 18, 2009 9:14 AM

it is a real woman who breeds children and trusts in our constitutional rights and rejects BIG GOVERNMENT. What a horrible deal huh?
Just not what the feminists are looking for...good!

Marty, I feel for any woman you have come in contact in the past and any that you presently associate with. Human beings DO NOT BREED!! Unless you have your Hitler skull cap on you should refrain from making such a statement. Maybe there should be more feminists in your life, then you will comprehend women are not breeders.

I am a man knucklehead and know that is insensitive, are you one or a clone of some breed you speak of? Maybe that is the cause of your stunted gene for intellectual acumen on sensitivity.

I feel bad for Palin if for only everybody seems to think it is perfectly fine to take shots at her. Pat above has decided she is isn't bright enough to be President. How so? Because she is pretty? Conservative? From Alaska?

It's embarrassing to read comments like she could run for "dumb blonde club president or something". Hilarious. This woman continues to take a beating in the media from coward blog commentators to lame stream media neckties. And funny thing is she just gets stronger despite it.

It's disgraceful to think that the former VP would even consider interjecting race into the political landscape. However, considering her level of competence; one would expect that from someone without substance, family values, or intelligence. Who picked this woman that could have possibly had to run the country, war, and economy? America knows where she stands (GOP wardrobe during a recession). Many Americans have lost jobs and she still doesn't have a clue. Tea Party organizer or KKK??? Is there a difference? Doesn't seem so to many of the Americans I hear, speak, or listen to.

A grudge against Palin?

A sigh of relief, but not a grudge.

Marty - Don't assume.

I can't stand this women, and she's an insult to any educated, intelligent woman out there!

I already saw the light before you posted!

America’s elite and Palin-haters worldwide should not be so quick to dismiss or disregard the future of Sarah Palin. No other national political figure so completely fills Middle America’s vacuum of frustration and hate for the Left and Right as Sarah Palin.

Middle America has been abandoned by the Left and Right, who have saddled it with a $700 billion taxpayer bailout, an unnecessary and costly war, a soaring deficit, and an overall neglect of the pocketbook issues that impact Middle America every day. Where are job creation, quality public education, affordable healthcare, and fiscal responsibility, to name a few?

Middle America is mad as hell at the Left and Right and they just might be willing to roll the dice on someone like Palin, who lacks an Ivy League education, is a working class hockey-mom with a disabled child, and who has blue-collar roots like many of the folks in Middle America. The status quo on the Left and Right have produced nothing material for Middle America, which may toss conventional wisdom into the toilet and throw the lever for Palin, figuring it has nothing to lose, and it may be right.

The Ivy League educated on the Left and Right have delivered little to nothing for Middle America, perhaps precisely because they are out of touch with the issues that someone like Palin understands personally.

However, to say that Palin is a salmon swimming upstream is an understatement. The results of a CBS News survey released Monday indicate that 66 percent of respondents do not want her to run for the White House in 2012. Seventy percent of respondents to a CNN/Opinion Research poll said she is not qualified to be president.

More difficult for Palin is the fact that the trend is not her friend—public opinion is moving in the wrong direction right now.

In the CBS survey, 43 percent of GOP respondents said Palin would have the ability to be an effective president. Only 11 percent of Democrats and 29 percent of independents agreed.

However, there is an opportunity for Palin among independents, where Palin’s rating is 41 percent favorable, and 48 percent unfavorable, according to Gallup.

These numbers are not great, but there is plenty of time if she can move the needle by appealing to Middle America and independents, which is where elections are won or lost.

Clearly, Palin has put the monkey on her back, especially with her resignation from Alaska’s governorship in July, a self-inflicted wound that will be difficult to explain away. However, don’t put it past Palin to put lipstick on this pig and paint herself as a victim of politically motivated and baseless ethics charges that prevented her from successfully serving the people of Alaska, forcing her to do the noble thing and take the bullet by resigning.

We can say what we want about Palin, but no Republican in recent history has created such frenzied excitement across the country as she has. Just take a look at the fervor she stirs as she wheels across Middle America on her book tour.

Perhaps this is a misreading of the tea leaves, but one could argue that she creates a wee bit more excitement than Mitt Romney or Mike Huckabee, the two Republican front-runners for president in 2012. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed woman just may be queen.

A. Muser

Pat Friebe:

If I were you, I wouldn't be calling anyone else stupid.


Why don't you enlighten us as to just what the "Bush Doctrine" is? In fact, it was a moving target over the course of the years and went through several transformations. Sarah Palin got it right in her confusion over just what was being referred to. Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

hunter - You feel sorry for her because people feel free to take shots at her? You have got to be kidding. This is the same woman who told Hillary to stop whining and buck up for saying the media was often sexist and slanted and who never misses a chance to equate Barack Obama with terrorists. Noting that she does not appear to be intelligent or thoughtful enough to be President is a far cry from saying Obama pals around with terrorists, that he doesn't see this country the way real Americans do or that he is trying to weaken our country. She can dish it out but she can't take it.

Not to mention the fact that after supporting the bank bail-outs during the campaign and crediting McCain with getting it passed in Congress she now pretends that she is against it. She calls Obama a Socialist for supporting rolling back taxes to the level that we had under Reagan while she completely supported "spreading the wealth around" with windfall profits tax on oil in Alaska. She quit her job saying that lame duck Governors just jet around the country reveling in their last days in office and then what does she do but jet around the country reveling in the media attention that she supposedly hates so much?! Her utter lack of integrity and depth is the reason that we are appalled at the idea of her becoming President or VP of this country. Envy is the last thing in the world that I feel towards her.

Palin is in this thing for the money period. After being in this past election and saw all the money she could make,she quickly quit on the people whom elected her with some lame excuse, and now playing the victim card.She could never be nominated by the GOP. However as usual she will be the last to know that fact.

Due to sexism in our society, all women in the public eye are judged by harsher criteria than their male equivalents. They are often judged on their appearance, their parenting skills, their work-life balance, their morality and more to a far more exacting standard than men.

However, this was not Sarah Palin's biggest problem. She may have got on the ticket because of her political achievements in Alaska, popularity, diligence and 'common-sense' appeal, but she was otherwise clearly unsuited to be a VP candidate. I suspect the McCain team knew the risks and tried to minimise the car-crash potential while still making Palin visible.

If she managed to misjudge the intentions of a serious player like Katie Couric so badly (during an election race interview!), then it appears that her handlers should have had her on a still tighter leash. By not preparing adequately she offered up her neck. Couric's questions were not in fact taxing for a presidential-level interview. I don't believe that Ms Palin answered badly because of her irritation with the tone and angle. A realistic candidate would in fact be able to answer a question about say, reading matter, off the cuff with no preparation.

If you flaunt your anti-intellectualism as a badge of honor, it can only take you so far, and only impress a certain constituency. At first I admired Sarah Palin's disdain of the Capitol Hill snake-pit, but then I started to notice that she couldn't survive there even if she tried. I would love to see Sarah Palin run in 2012. But then I don't like the Republican party. Unfortunately, I have to regretfully conclude that the GOP is nowhere near stupid enough to fall for Palin twice. No matter her popularity in the run up, the party strategists know that in the blast-furnace of the press glare, Sarah Palin is a wax figurine. If only they were all as reactionary and purblind as Marty here.

Millie, the gist of the Bush Doctrine was about preemptive war on Muslim(s) and/or third world countries where the Bush administration believe terrorists cells were located.

The doctrine was about America's security after 9/11 which included the monitoring of American civilians.

Even if the doctrine was a moving target and modified from time to time, Sarah Palin did NOT come forth with an answer that simple.

Heck, I am not a Republican and can state that much without going into critique mode about George W. Bush!

Get it?

Oh Marty, why is it so hard for the GOP to believe extreme dislike of Palin is not related to her having kids, being a pretty woman or being a conservative? Olly hit the nail on the head, but if you still don't understand why liberals don't like her, Jon Stewart did a pretty good job of explaining it here:

The one thing I do like about Palin is how she exercised her right to choose when she said she considered ending her last pregnancy. How nice for Palin that she lives in a country where she can make that choice.

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

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

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 18, 2009 5:26 AM.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Nov. 18, 2009. To Seoul, Korea was the previous entry in this blog.

Obama approval below 50 per cent for first time: Quinnipiac poll is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.