Sunday, October 26, 2008

Will Palin Meet the Press or Face the Nation?

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol – the same man that called for Sen. John McCain to fire his campaign in a column recently – told Fox News Sunday that Gov. Sarah Palin should appear on a Sunday morning talk show next week.

"I'm told she would be happy to do a TV show, if she hasn't gotten authorization…I hope she breaks free this week," said Kristol.

So far, McCain, Obama, and Biden have all appeared on Sunday morning talk shows, including a McCain appearance on Meet the Press this morning. However, Palin has declined every offer to appear.

What Are the Costs and Benefits of Appearing?

According to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday "this has been a challenge that all serious candidates have always felt they had to meet."

But it is not typically undecided voters who watch these talk shows. There is little-to-no benefit of such an appearance if it will not help win votes.

The potential costs, however, are very real. Palin has not had an impressive record in interviews so far. As mentioned before, she failed to name a Supreme Court decision other than Roe v Wade and defended the claim that she had foreign policy expertise because of Alaska's proximity to Russia during her interview with Katie Couric.

In front of Charles Gibson she failed to give a definitive support or opposition to the Bush Doctrine – quite likely because she was unfamiliar with the term. Most recently, in an interview with a local news station, she said that the Vice President was "in charge of the Senate".

While these interviews did little good for the ticket, they damaged Palin's reputation immensely as these clips from the interviews have been replayed over and over in the media. The risk of Palin making another mistake like the ones we've seen is too great for the McCain campaign to allow a Palin appearance on a Sunday morning talk show. For once, the McCain campaign seems to be making a smart and calculated decision. Perhaps Kristol was wrong about both of his assertions.

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