Palin is ready for her close-up: We watch so you don't have to
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin continues campaigning for her new book, "Going Rogue: An American Life," but today is the start of an epic five, six, or seven-part series -- depending on how you slice it - with Barbara Walters of ABC News. This morning: parts 1 and 2, on the morning infotainment show, "Good Morning America."
Though morning infotainment shows traditionally open up with hard news, "GMA" tosses tradition to the wind and dives right into the pre-taped Palin chat, after a brief mention of a new ABC News/Washington Post poll showing President Obama's job approval rating at 56 percent, and 52 percent of the public saying they trust Obama more than Republicans in congress to handle "the economy."
Because Oprah had Palin on her show Monday to woo back conservative viewers who'd been annoyed when Oprah endorsed and campaigned for President Obama, she feared to tread into Obama territory on Monday. Tuesday, Babs rushed in:
"Barack Obama: On a scale of one to 10 - 10 being the best, how do you rate Barack Obama?" Babs wonders - only she says the president's name like he's some cheap Argentinian hooker Palin's husband, Todd got caught visiting.
Palin gives Obama a four because, she says "our economy is not being put on the right track" and he's been "dithering" over "some of our national security questions that have go to be answered for our country."
Unlike the previous day's Oprah interview, today's ABC's Palin interview is a sort consome of heavily edited Q&A, featuring loads of dizzy-making close-up shots of Palin's face.
Babs wonders whether Palin thinks Obama deserved to win the Nobel Peace Prize. This is like asking Kim Basinger whether Alec Baldwin deserves the Emmy for best comedy actor.
"Maybe some day there will be some deserved event and issues that he tackles that will allow that presentation of the Nobel Peace Prize - and I'll be the first to applaud," Palin responds. Raise your hand if you believe that - I want to play poker with you.
"But two weeks into office and he's already nominated? That's premature," Palin observes - an opinion shared by many.
Babs can't resist pushing Palin's David Letterman Button - Oprah had also resisted that urge.
Letterman, remember, is the guy who apologized - twice - over the summer for a joke he told on his CBS late-night show about Palin's daughter getting "knocked up" at a Yankees game. Letterman said he thought it was Palin's daughter Bristol who had gone to the game when the Palins were in New York. Turns out, it was younger daughter, Willow. And, of course, it was a really lame, lousy joke.
Dave's now got a segment on his CBS late night show that's called Things More Fun Than Reading the Sarah Palin Memoir. No 14: driving a jeep into a tree.
"Can you just shrug this kind of things off?" Babs wonders rhetorically.
"Well, I can cause those aren't even funny," she said. This is undeniably true.
Babs wonders whether Palin would like to go on Letterman's show.
"I don't think that I'd want to boost his ratings. I do want him to sell my book though, so I hope he keeps it up," Palin responds.
Which, Babs tells "GMA's Princess Di, just goes to show what a bright gal Palin is.
Here's something else Oprah neglected to ask Palin about: The Newsweek cover photo in which Palin is seen in black shorts, holding what appear to be two crackberries, her arm leaning on an American flag that has been draped over the back of a chair. The photo was taken from a profile of her that appeared in Runner's World magazine.
(Full Disclosure: The Washington Post Company owns Newsweek.)
"I think it so cheesy," Palin sniffs, adding that had she known the picture would end up on the cover of Newsweek "I would not have allowed Runners World to profile me."
Yes, it's Runners World's fault.
"For me, personally, it's a wee bit degrading," Palin continues. "Newsweek should be more policy-oriented, more substance-oriented, than showing some gal in shorts on the cover."
Clearly Palin has not been keeping abreast of what is going on in the magazine industry.
(FYI, Runner's World has issued the following statement, defending itself in re that Newsweek cover photo: On the cover of this week's issue of Newsweek is a photo that was shot for the August 2009 issue of Runner's World, in which Sarah Palin was featured on the monthly "I'm a Runner" back page. Runner's World did not provide Newsweek with the image. Instead, it was provided to Newsweek by the photographer's agent, without Runner's World's knowledge or permission.)
Oprah, in her effort to placate conservative viewers, had also steered clear of some of the juicier bits that have come out lately in the war of words between Palin and her near-son-in-law Levi Johnston, who is the father of daughter Bristol's baby Tripp.
Here too, Babs leads the charge:
"Levi has said you called Trig "The Retarded Baby," Babs says of Palin's youngest child, who has Down syndrome.
"It's heartbreaking to know he would say such a thing and that's not true," Palin shot back.
Johnston also claims Palin's marriage is "terrible and you're on the verge of divorce," Babs continues.
Palin insists she and Todd are a "solidly, happy, blessed couple."
Johnston says Palin was wise not to speak ill of him in the book because "she knows what I've got on her," Babs continues to grind down.
"He doesn't have anything on me," Palin snaps.
And, finally, Babs notes Johnston says he's going to sue for joint custody of his baby.
"It will be nice to see, even in legal proceedings, a desire to be part of the baby's life. That is a good sign," Palin says, scoring one on Levi.
Lisa de Moraes
November 17, 2009; 2:18 PM ET
Categories: TV News
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