Opinion: The Sunday shows talk about -- but not to -- Sarah Palin


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We’ve made note of Sarah Palin‘s absence from the Sunday talk shows since she was selected for the No. 2 spot on the Republican ticket. But she was certainly a topic of conversation on them today.

From the Democratic presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama (making his fourth appearance on ABC’s ‘This Week’ since his election to the Senate in 2004 but who postponed an appearance on Fox News Sunday for more than two years): ‘I think she’s a skilled politician. She wouldn’t be governor of Alaska if she wasn’t a skilled politician, and I think her performance at the convention showed what a skilled politician she is.’


Asked later in the program whether he’d ‘go one on one with Sarah Palin’ on the basketball court, Obama replied: ‘You know, I would play her a game of horse. She looks like she’s got some game. She played in high school. You know, I know she’s a sharpshooter, and I know that -- I probably wouldn’t do target practice with her. I think she’d be a better shot than me. But on the basketball court, I think I’d stand up pretty well.’

From the GOP presidential nominee, Sen. John McCain (making his 65th appearance on CBS’ ‘Face the Nation,’ breaking the record previously held by former senator and 1996 GOP presidential nominee Bob Dole): ‘We’ve been campaigning together. The electricity has been incredible.

‘And I would like to say it’s all because of a charisma injection on the part of Mr. John McCain, but it’s not. They’re excited about this, this reformer, this lifetime member of the NRA, the person who was a point guard. She has -- I mean, and I’m sure that Gov. Palin has failings. And I’m sure she’s made mistakes, because she’s had a long career, from city council to mayor to governor.

‘But the fact is, she’s kind of what Americans have been looking for.’

From Palin’s Democratic counterpart, Sen. Joe Biden (making his 42nd appearance on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’): ‘Look, she’s a smart, tough politician, and so I, I think she’s going to be very formidable.

‘But you know, eventually she’s going to have to sit in front of you like I’m doing and have done. Eventually she’s going to have to answer questions and not be sequestered. Eventually she’s going to have to answer questions about her record.’

And when might that be? ...(see below)

Let’s hear from Rick Davis, the McCain-Palin campaign manager, who had this exchange with Chris Wallace of ‘Fox News Sunday’:

WALLACE: Why is she scared to answer questions? DAVIS: I don’t think our campaign is the campaign that has not given immense amount of access to the press. That’s the Obama campaign. WALLACE: Why is she scared to answer questions? DAVIS: She’s not scared to answer questions. But you know what? We run our campaign, not the news media. And we’ll do things on our timetable. And honestly, this last week was not an exemplary moment for the news media. WALLACE: I understand that. DAVIS: And so why would we want to throw Sarah Palin into a cycle of piranhas called the news media that have nothing better to ask questions about than her personal life and her children? And I think our attitude would be why don’t we let that pass until we expose her to ... WALLACE: I think there are legitimate questions that -- and it doesn’t have to be a huge news conference. I’m not telling you how to run your campaign. DAVIS: Sure. WALLACE: There are legitimate questions about is she or is she not ready to be commander in chief. If last week didn’t work, why not this week? DAVIS: Sarah Palin will have the opportunity to speak to the American people. She just gave a speech to 40 million Americans in her convention. WALLACE: But that was reading a script. She’s not answering questions. DAVIS: She’s in the process of, you know, getting to know people out on the campaign trail, and she will do interviews, but she’ll do them on the terms and conditions of which the campaign decides that it’s ready to do it. And, Chris, all due respect, I mean, you know, the information that the news media has been putting out on Sarah Palin is not what I would call objective journalism. So until at which point in time we feel like the news media is going to treat her with some level of respect and deference, I think it would be foolhardy to put her out into that kind of environment. ...


WALLACE: My only point is there are legitimate questions to ask her, whether it’s for anybody else, about what -- is she ready to be president, what does she know about foreign policy?

DAVIS: Absolutely. No question about that. And she will be available to the news media when and if we decide that that is going to be the case. WALLACE: So you’re not at this point willing to say when. DAVIS: No.

-- Leslie Hoffecker

Photo credits: Barack Obama, Saul Loeb / AFP/Getty Images; Sarah Palin and John McCain, Robyn Beck / AFP/Getty Images; Joe Biden, Brendan Smialowski / Getty Images for ‘Meet the Press’

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