Everything was better tonight: The setting, Gibson’s demeanor, and of course her comfort with the subject matter, as most of these are gimmes. His question about whether homosexuality is genetic or learned is a stupid gotcha, which she handles reasonably well — although I would have savored a barb at The One about how the matter is above her pay grade. As it is, her response ought to mellow out centrists worried that the “Christianist” menace is descending. If she’s a fundie at heart, as governor she’s kept that heart pretty well concealed.

Her best moment thus far comes at the end, when she refuses to take the bait and whine about sexism. Hillary feminists won’t like that, everyone else in America will. Exit question one: What little matter of domestic policy did Gibson conspicuously neglect to ask about? Maybe Hannity will get to it next week amid tough questions like, “How hard is it to be you?” Exit question two: How’s the abortion answer going to play? Opposing exceptions even in the case of rape and incest is, needless to say, emphatically not a centrist position, but stressing that she wants to leave the matter to the states and bending over backwards to express her respect for other opinions might be enough to defuse it.

Don’t forget: The rest, including an exchange on book-burning, will air on 20/20 at 10 p.m. ET.

Tags: Sarah Palin