TAMPA, Fla. – On the night that U.S. Rep Paul D. Ryan accepted his party’s nomination for vice president, the GOP’s 2008 vice presidential nominee posted a provocative message on her Facebook page: “I’m sorry Fox cancelled all my scheduled interviews tonight,” wrote Sarah Palin on Wednesday, “because I sure wanted to take the opportunity on the air to highlight Sen. John McCain’s positive contributions to America, to honor him, and to reflect on what a biased media unfairly put him through four years ago tonight.”
Was it a case of Palin trying to capture a bit of the limelight after Mitt Romney snubbed her at Republican National Convention in Tampa, declining to offer her a speaking role in prime-time, or at any other time?
Or was it, as New York magazine speculated, the first rumblings of a feisty contract renegotiation process with Fox News Channel, which pays her $1 million a year for her rotating presence on its talk shows?
Earlier this week, New York reported that both parties were disappointed in each other — Fox in Palin because her ratings are lower than expected and Palin in Fox because she does not receive top billing for her appearances.
“According to sources,” said New York, “the relationship at times has gotten so bad that much communication has been conducted via Palin’s husband Todd. One thing is clear: It’s risky for her to push the envelope too far. Fox has been a central pillar of Palin’s national reach since quitting the governorship, and without the network’s platform, it’s unclear how she could maintain even her current, much-diminished level of visibility.”
By Thursday, however, Fox executives must have had a change of heart, because shortly before Romney took the stage to accept the nomination, there she was, being interviewed from what appeared to be her home studio by Sean Hannity.
For 10 minutes, Palin held forth on several favorite topics, including the failings of the “lame-stream media.” She delivered a full-throated endorsement of the Romney-Ryan ticket and a familiar critique of the Obama administration.
“People got sucked into believing Obama’s … bogus hopey, changey stuff that was built on just this utopian idea in a fantasy land,” Palin said. “In fact Bill Clinton said it best. He said,” -- and here, she changed her voice to sound a little growly -- ‘If this ain’t the biggest fairy tale that he’d ever seen, the whole Obama campaign’ ….Now we have an opportunity to do something about it and to hire a new team of leaders to get us out of this mess.”
(In 2008 in New Hampshire, President Clinton accused Barack Obama, grammatically, of distorting Obama’s position on the Iraq war. “Give me a break,” Clinton said. “This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I’ve ever seen.”)
On Friday, after the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol excoriated Romney for failing to mention the war in Afghanistan in his speech -- or thank the nearly 70,000 troops who remain there -- Palin took to Facebook to post her own message of support for the troops in Afghanistan, which she called “something we don’t hear much about lately.”
“For all the great speeches we heard at the convention this week and those we’ll hear next week, I sincerely hope we as Americans, despite our political disagreements, will respectfully remember our brave men and women in uniform,” she wrote. “For they are still in harm’s way so that we can sleep in peace. Our troops in Afghanistan have suffered terrible casualties this year.”
About the same time she was thanking soldiers on Facebook, President Obama was on the ground at Ft. Bliss, Texas, thanking some of those very soldiers personally.
“I know that some of you recently got back,” he told soldiers at the home of the Army’s 1st Armored Division and 32nd Army Air & Missile Defense Command, who have returned from Afghanistan. “On behalf of a grateful nation, welcome home…. And our thoughts and prayers are with all the troops from Bliss deployed around the world.”