Again, via Breitbart. This clip got some buzz this morning because he appears to say at one point that he didn’t know how well Palin had been vetted. I don’t think that’s what he meant, though; he’s simply issuing blanket I-don’t-knows in response to questions about dirt in “Game Change,” but the testiness shines through when Lauer presses him. Is he just bored with the subject, or is there … something more?

The picture presented in Game Change of Palin’s emergence as national phenomenon — and the real Palin behind her public persona — is often startling and sometimes shocking. The scantness of the vetting she received before being placed on the Republican ticket. Her substantive deficiencies, even more dramatic than those that had previously been reported: her lack of understanding about why there are two Koreas, her ignorance about the function of the Federal Reserve, her belief that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11. The fact that, at her lowest moments during preparation for her debate against Joe Biden, some senior McCain aides worried that she was mentally unstable. And, ultimately, their fears that she wasn’t up to the job of being Vice President…

[T]he second reason [the McCain camp has kept silent about her] is equally significant: the fear of the Palin forces. Intimidated by the rabidness of her supporters, believing that they can’t be swayed by facts and worried about getting crosswise with the most highly energized part of the Republican base, McCainworld has shied away from fighting for the soul of the party, instead allowing her version of reality to go largely unchallenged — and her rise to continue unchecked. There was perhaps a related factor: a recent ABC–Washington Post poll found that Republicans regard Palin as the 2012 front runner for their party’s nomination and that she best represents the GOP’s values — besting McCain himself on that score, 18% to 5%.

That’s from Halperin and Heilemann, who showed up on “Hardball” tonight too to dish with Matthews about how she supposedly went “catatonic” during the campaign or something. Exit question one: Why hasn’t McCain been more confrontational with her? Is it because he can’t afford to alienate grassroots conservatives before his election campaign? Surely a guy who’s credibly alleged to have said this isn’t bubbling over with joy at right-wing Palinmania. Exit question two: Why, there are no “rabid” Palin supporters out there, are there?

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