Video: Palin on Today

posted at 10:06 am on June 12, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Sarah Palin turned in an impressive performance in an 11-minute appearance on the Today show with Matt Lauer this morning. She deftly handled both politics and economics when it came to the new natural-gas pipeline accord Palin reached, parrying tough but fair questions from Lauer. She also rose to the occasion when Lauer inevitably asked her about David Letterman (via The Right Scoop):

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This interview shows both the potential and the peril of Sarah Palin. She has improved considerably in handling the national media. On both economics and politics, Lauer couldn’t dent her (and just to emphasize, Lauer was treating her fairly), and had the Letterman controversy not existed, that aspect of her performance would have been the headline here. Instead, the three minutes or so in the middle of this 11-minute interview that has nothing to do with governing or policy will be all that the public will remember or want to see.

That could be the overall aim of Palin’s opponents. If David Letterman has to eat some crow every few months for his personal attacks on Palin, does that really matter to him? He has a contract with CBS for the next three years, at which point he’d probably retire anyway. Letterman and his ilk can continue to make all of the coverage about Palin revolve around her daughters, forcing her to respond and to look less serious as a politician, in a way that the media would never do to a man or to a liberal – as Palin said, no one did it to Obama, nor should they.

If enough of them do it, the downside for her attackers will be small, and the upside will be to kneecap Palin before she can threaten Democrats in a future election.

Update: Just to make clear, I’m not suggesting at all that Republicans distance themselves from Palin. At some point, we will need to let the Letterman-like provocations go and have her focus on national politics, where she has clearly improved. Promoting Palin as a victim (although entirely justified) won’t make her a compelling force in politics.


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Comments

She still sounds a little stilted in the beginning of the interview, as if she were recalling talking points from note cards she had just looked over prior to the interview. after the first couple of minutes she seemed to hit a flow though and her words were much more lucid.

Lauer was fair in the interview but his peculiar line of questioning about Palin wanting to keep Willow away from Letterman seemed to try to portray Letterman as the victim was absurd. Palin kept falling back on the treatment of women talking points when she should have jsut said that yes she wants to keep Willow away from Letterman because he victimized her on Natonal Television. Letterman is not the victim.

I still don’t think she is ready for prime time when it comes to these interviews but improvement has been made.

Daemonocracy on June 14, 2009 at 3:38 PM

If enough of them do it, the downside for her attackers will be small, and the upside will be to kneecap Palin before she can threaten Democrats in a future election.

A bit off on your analysis here AP. First Palin has to get away from the “National Joke” image that the media has painted. The Letterman Joke over-reach has done that. Palin shouldn’t overplay her hand here but getting sympathy is a step in the right direction. It gives people a chance to realize that maybe the caricatures and the attacks have been a bit too much and unfair. It’s easier from that point to become a more seriously respected candidate. Of course she can’t overplay the sympathy angle and I see no signs that she’s going to do so.

PackerBronco on June 14, 2009 at 3:53 PM

Palin should go on Conan, just to spike his ratings even higher.

ErinF on June 12, 2009 at 10:47 AM

You better believe that Conan’s people are trying to get that to happen right now. I think she should do it, but with the stipulation that she’ll talk about Letterman for only a very short time with most of time devoted to the natural gas pipeline and her critique of the current political climate.

PackerBronco on June 14, 2009 at 4:11 PM

“(and just to emphasize, Lauer was treating her fairly)”

Not really, unless you accept the notion that Lauer is a brain dead moron who has no idea what his own station had reported along with CBS, ABC, CNN, FNC, AP, and thee list goes on.

‘From the heart’
Letterman did give an apology of sorts later in the week when it became clear that it was Palin’s younger daughter, Willow, 14, who had come to town

“later in the week when it became clear, it was Willow, 14, who had come to town”

Keep in mind Letterman made his “joke” about rapping 14 year-old Willow on June 9th.

Try this, put

“attending a New York Yankees game. She was joined by her husband, daughter Willow and a sister”

Into your search engine and you get more than 3K hits like this

Alaska Gov. Palin Talks About Special Needs In NY – wcbstv.com
Jun 7, 2009 … NEW YORK (CBS) ―. attending a Yankees game. She was joined by her husband, daughter Willow and a sister. …
wcbstv.com/topstories/palin.special.needs.2.1034707.html
Jun 7, NEW YORK (CBS), topstories, daughter Willow

“later in the week (June 11th) when it became clear, it was Willow, 14, who had come to town”

It wasn’t clear on Jun 7th?

Palin Pals Around With Rudy During N.Y. Visit | NBC New York
Jun 8, 2009 … In Photos: Yankee game over the weekend in New York. … Home Living Inc. She was joined by her husband, daughter Willow and a sister. … http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Sarah-Palin-Visits-New-York-Yankee-Game-Rudy-

Jun 8 nbc newyork daughter Willow

“later in the week (June 11th) when it became clear, it was Willow, 14, who had come to town”
It wasn’t clear on Jun 8th?

AP, June 7th

“Palin was being honored Sunday at an anniversary celebration for the Long Island-based Independent Group Home Living Inc. after attending a New York Yankees game. She was joined by her husband, daughter Willow and a sister.”

June 7th AP daughter Willow

“later in the week (June 11th) when it became clear, it was Willow, 14, who had come to town”

It wasn’t clear on Jun 7th?

DSchoen on June 14, 2009 at 4:35 PM

Letterman made vile and disgusting comments do not call them a joke. If he had stuck to attacking Gov. Palin then there would be no big controversy, however, dragging the child into the fray as he did was despicable.

Kissmygrits on June 14, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Does anyone have any empathy for the flight attendants in this Letterman fiasco? Did he attempt to demean all flight attendants as slutty? Does this guy like or have any respect for women at all? I doubt it.

Kissmygrits on June 14, 2009 at 7:25 PM

Sarah Palin has made her point very well. I suggest after the protest in front of Letterman’s studio tommorrow that the ‘outraged’ drop the subject and move on. Really, do we want to make Letterman a martyr to the Left by getting him fired? Let’s not overplay our hand.

Instead let’s keep our eye on the ball for the next 3 and 1/2 years to do everything we can to defeat Obama in 2012.

And for millions of Palin supporters that also means rallying behind Sarah including the Webathon on C4P this week.

technopeasant on June 15, 2009 at 7:39 AM

When Sarah is on, she’s on. She may be a wee bit over-folksy at times BUT she still beats the heck out of Joe Biden in my opinion. And besides, if we take out the part of her that will always be tied to the what’s-her-name SNL goof, then we lose who she is. America will get beyond her accent that belies her brains, just as we did for Clinton and W and Reagan … all of whom had the folksy thing going on too (poor Hillary needs it and doesn’t have an iota). Sarah may not be “polished,” but she’s sincere and smart and real, unlike most “polished” politicians.

At any rate, Sarah Palin already IS a face of the GOP. If she ever gets a friendly media and a glowing family article in a national magazine, watch out, because the rest of the country will fall in love with her too.

eucher on June 15, 2009 at 3:56 PM

Sarah wins the Repub primary on a voice vote.

Sarah faces Hillary in 2012.

Sarah takes 3 out of 3 debates.

Sarah takes 33 states in the general, including California.

Popular vote Electoral vote
60 million Sarah 320
54 million Hillary 215

platypus on October 21, 2009 at 2:02 AM