I figured the boss would be underwhelmed, but even Althouse thinks Maverick gave the ‘Cuda a raw deal with this exchange (not shown in the clip):

“I really believe that Sarah Palin is amongst some, like Tim Pawlenty and Bobby Jindal, the governor of Louisiana, there’s a group of young Republican governors and — mainly governors, but also some in the Senate — that I think are the next generation of leadership of our party,” he said.

Eh. He’s using national airtime to boost the party’s image as a whole instead of placing all its chips on Palin. I won’t knock him for that — but the de facto shrug at Leno’s question about the leaks is curious. Why not do a pro forma “renounce and reject”? Unless … some of the smears are true and he feels he can’t lie about it in good conscience.

One thing’s for sure: The staff party on Monday should be a humdinger. Exit statistic via a CNN press release that just landed in my inbox: Biden’s favorable rating as of this weekend was 64/25, McCain’s was 61/36, and Palin’s was … 49/43.