I’m not prone to offering advice to politicians, but having see a partial transcript of Sarah Palin’s waffling style of interview I cannot hold back.
John, in preparing Sarah for interviews there’s one important point you seem to be forgetting: she will be asked for specific examples to illustrate points she’s trying to make. It looks bad when she’s asked for specific examples, waffles endlessly hoping that if she talks for long enough the interviewer will forget that he/she has asked a question, and then has to confess to ignorance.
Here’s a prime example of Sarah doing just that:
Palin: Consumers – and those who were predator lenders also. That’s, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it’s got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found … for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.
Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?
Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.
Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more.
Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.
Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?
Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.
Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.
Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.
It’s even sadder when she pretends that she hasn’t actually been asked a question, as in this example:
QUESTIONER: Governor Palin, there has been quite a bit of discussion about your perceived lack of foreign policy experience. And I want to give you your chance, if you could please respond to that criticism, and give us specific skills that you think you have to bring to the White House to rebut that or mitigate that concern.
PALIN: Well, I think because Im a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize and that they can try to beat the candidate here, who chose me as his partner, to try to tear down the ticket. But as for foreign policy, you know, I think I am prepared and I know that on January 20th, if we are so blessed to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly well be ready, Ill be ready. I have that confidence, I have that readiness, and if you want specifics with specific policies or countries, go ahead, and you can ask me and you can play stump the candidate if you want to. But we are ready to serve.
When asked to name specific skills she has (not a hard question, on would have thought) she says “feel free to ask me for specifics.” Oh wait, wasn’t that the question in the first place? And then she dismisses a legitimate and basic question as an attempt to “stump the candidate,” implying that any question asking for specific details is of necessity a trick question. How lame!
So John, when your team is rehearsing Sarah for the next interview, maybe you could go beyond having her memorize talking points and practicing ways to avoid answering questions? Maybe you could have her learn some specific examples of things like policies and positions?