It’s become common wisdom that Sarah Palin doesn’t make herself available to the national news media, while Barack Obama and Joe Biden have confidence in their experience and gravitas. Unfortunately for those who buy into that meme, CBS News has discovered the opposite. Palin now meets with the press on a regular basis, while Obama continues to snub the press and Biden has fully retreated into his own Cone of Silence:
It was less than two weeks ago when Sarah Palin astonished her traveling press corps by lifting the curtain (literally) and journeying to the back of her campaign plane to answer reporters’ questions for the first time after 40 days on the campaign trail. But the candidate who has been criticized for having a bunker mentality when it came to the national media can now lay legitimate claim to being more accessible than either Joe Biden or Barack Obama.
In the past two days alone, Palin has answered questions from her national press corps on three separate occasions. On Saturday, she held another plane availability, and on Sunday, she offered an impromptu press conference on the tarmac upon landing in Colorado Springs. A few minutes later, she answered even more questions from reporters during an off-the-record stop at a local ice cream shop.
By contrast, Biden hasn’t held a press conference in more than a month, and Obama hasn’t taken questions from his full traveling press corps since the end of September.
Remember when press availability meant the measure of a candidate? That would have been in September, when Democrats jeered at Palin for living in a bubble. She can’t handle the press, they said — how can she handle the job of a VP, or President, if necessary?
That smirking was entirely hypocritical at the time, and is even more so now. Obama has been famously resistant to media scrutiny. In one Texas appearance, he proclaimed frustration over having to answer more than eight questions. Biden, meanwhile, has disappeared after a series of gaffes that make Dan Quayle look like William F. Buckley. Do you suppose he’s afraid to answer questions on math?
Palin, meanwhile, has begun to charm the media. Scott Conroy reports that Palin has improved substantially over her poor performance in the Katie Couric interview on his network, both in poise and detail. Palin has no hesitation in answering nuanced questions on policy, especially on economics. She’s enjoying it so much that Palin’s press secretary now has to intervene to pull the candidate away from the press, rather than the other way around.
So which ticket can handle media scrutiny — and which ticket runs from it? Conroy has the answer, but apparently the Tanning Bed Media doesn’t want to report it … now.