A notable non-answer around three minutes in to Lauer asking if she’s interested in replacing Stevens when, inevitably, he’s expelled from the chamber: “I’m not planning on that.” Alaska law requires a special election within 60-90 days to fill a vacancy; her opponent presumably would be Mark Begich, who’s on the brink of losing to ol’ Ted. She’s allegedly lost a little love in the state since becoming McCain’s attack dog, but if Alaskans prefer a convicted felon to Begich, presumably they’ll prefer her too.
I was sour on the idea at first, but: (a) The old stigma about Senators running for president is dead, thanks to The One, so serving there would be no impediment to her 2012 ambitions. (b) As governor, she’ll be stuck focusing on energy issues for the next four years, which is fine but not enough of a portfolio to rehabilitate her image as a policy novice. If she goes to the Senate, she gets a full plate and all the media opportunities she could ever want to show off what she’s learned. (c) She’d be a big fish in a small pond among the GOP’s rump Senate minority. How big? Scroll down the current list and ask yourself how many qualify as “stars.” The closest you’ll get is … John McCain. (d) If you’re looking for job security, you can’t do better outside the judicial branch than Senator from Alaska. Stevens has held his seat for 40 years and the Murkowski family’s held the other for nearly 30. Even if nothing comes of her presidential dream, she’s set for life.
Exit question: What’d I miss? While you mull, here’s the transcript from part two of her interview with Greta (note her plans to call Hillary and kibbitz about the glass ceiling) and another 15 minutes of footage from the Anchorage Daily News. And with that, I think I’m officially ‘Cuda’d out.
Update: People are arguing in the comments that going to D.C. would spoil her “outsider” image. I think she’s bulletproof on that point thanks to the vivid impression she’s already made in the public mind: Moose hunter, hockey mom, folksy to the point of exasperation. Unless she changes her accent or gives up bagging caribou, she’s got plenty of outsider cred to spare. And plenty of pols have maintained their common touch while working in D.C. See, e.g., Thompson, Fred.