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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The much-hyped Supreme Court section of the Katie Couric interview aired a few hours ago, and it's just as cringe-inducing as anticipated.

COURIC (to Palin): Why, in your view, is Roe v Wade a bad decision?

PALIN: I think it should be a states issue not a federal government -- mandated -- mandating yes or no on such an important issue. I'm in that sense a federalist, where I believe that states should have more say in the laws of their lands and individual areas. Now foundationally, also, though, it's no secret that I'm pro life that I believe in a culture of life is very important for this country. Personally that's what I would like to see further embraced by America.

COURIC (to Palin): Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?

PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.

COURIC: the cornerstone of Roe v Wade

PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.

COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?

PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, that's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are--those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know--going through the history of America, there would be others but--

COURIC: Can you think of any?

PALIN: Well, I could think of--of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
Transcendentally bad. But Matt makes the point that Palin's Couric problem has come from the fact that Couric asks follow-up questions—indeed, that she is gently insistent on getting a substantive answer to every follow-up—and that Ifill will have far less opportunity to do the same tomorrow, especially given the last-minute criticism of Ifill's long-announced book:
Meanwhile, if you watch Palin’s interviews you’ll see that she’s perfectly capable of parrying an initial question with some nonsense and then shifting to her pre-prepared talking points. What was so devastating about the Katie Couric interview is that Couric would gently — very gently — prod Palin with follow-ups that revealed she doesn’t know anything about anything. But with this cloud of suspicion hanging over her, Ifill will probably treat Palin with kid gloves and she’ll be able to turn in the sort of competent performances she offered on the Hugh Hewitt and Sean Hannity shows.
For this reason I want to remind everyone that a Palin meltdown is by no means guaranteed tomorrow—it depends on her ability to spontaneously improvise non-answers to tough questions and Ifill and Biden's willingness to let those non-answers stand. Biden in particular is in a tough spot—he can't allow himself to look like a bully, which means he'll either have to point out that she's speaking nonsense very carefully, with kid gloves, or else hope the comparison speaks for itself.

So Palin may muddle through with nonsense, or she may completely implode. We won't know till it happens.