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Old 09-13-2008, 09:36 AM   #721
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^ Not to mention Gibson COMPLETELY distorted her comment about God's will and Iraq. It's disappointing that his interview is considered good journalism.

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Old 09-13-2008, 12:11 PM   #722
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What a crap article.

Gibson had to be tough. She is an unknown who has been hiding from the media(save for her stump speeches) since being selected. This is her first interview. She couldn't be treated with kid gloves. If Gibson made it easy for her, the left would rip him apart.

She was clearly reciting 15 or 20 talking points that had been grilled to her, that she had memorized. MOST reaction I have heard since last night is that she is unprepared. I have heard multiple times liberal commentators who said stuff along the lines of 'I have even conservative friends who saw this and said she's not cutting it'.

Gibson did nothing wrong. He certainly did a much better job than anyone thinks Hannity is going to do.

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Old 09-13-2008, 02:35 PM   #723
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Why do I get the feeling that in every subsequent Palin interview someone somewhere is going to complain about grilling Palin too hard? Aren't all politicians grilled by everyone? Are we only applauding bashing now instead of questions that require a strict yes or no stance?
I saw that part of the interview (I admit, only that part) where he kept asking her to answer the Pakistan question and not once did she give a straight answer.
It's like if someone asked her if she wanted orange juice for breakfast and she said, "I love all juices equally and I must do whatever it takes to get juice."

Okay, but do you want orange juice?

I get the horrible feeling that they are going to be reaaally pushing this ~Stop "Attacking" Palin~ story in every hard hitting interview, even in the debates.
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:15 PM   #724
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Aaaaand here we go with the "why are they being so mean to Sarah Palin, mother of 5?" justification as subterfuge whenever she doesn't do well in an interview.

I wish our media was as routinely tough on its politicians as the Brits are with theirs. Instead we have politicians who throw temper tantrums and deny interviews because someone asks a tough but absolutely legitimate question.
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Old 09-13-2008, 03:18 PM   #725
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Originally Posted by Diemen View Post
Aaaaand here we go with the "why are they being so mean to Sarah Palin, mother of 5?" justification as subterfuge whenever she doesn't do well in an interview.

I wish our media was as routinely tough on its politicians as the Brits are with theirs. Instead we have politicians who throw temper tantrums and deny interviews because someone asks a tough but absolutely legitimate question.

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Old 09-13-2008, 03:33 PM   #726
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:22 PM   #727
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Originally Posted by 2861U2 View Post
^ Not to mention Gibson COMPLETELY distorted her comment about God's will and Iraq. It's disappointing that his interview is considered good journalism.
Sorry, but he's right.
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Old 09-13-2008, 07:49 PM   #728
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She did look bad in the earmark segment of the interview. In reality no sane mayor or governor are in the business of turning away ANY federal dollars. And in fact the "bridge to nowhere" funds were not spent on the famous bridge. one breath to admit she hired some high-powered lobbyist, and in the next breath to say she's gonna crack down on said doesn't look very good.
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Old 09-13-2008, 09:25 PM   #729
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anyone see this article from CNN?

Palin never in Iraq, campaign now says

(CNN) -- Sarah Palin did not visit troops in Iraq, a spokesperson for the Republican vice presidential nominee confirmed Saturday, as new details emerged about the extent of the Alaska governor's foreign travel.

Gov. Sarah Palin's aide confirmed to CNN details of her foreign travel Saturday.

In July of last year, Palin left North America for the first time to visit Alaskan troops stationed in Kuwait. Palin officials originally said her itinerary included U.S. military installations or outposts in Germany and Kuwait, and that she had visited Ireland.

A Palin aide in Alaska had said Iraq was also one of the military stops on that trip.

The Boston Globe, however, reported Saturday that in response to questions about the trip, Alaska National Guard officials and campaign aides said Palin did not go past the Kuwait-Iraq border.

In addition, campaign aides also confirmed reports to CNN Saturday that Palin's time in Ireland on that trip had actually been a refueling stop.

The Obama campaign -- which has increasingly accused the McCain campaign of deliberately lying in ads and on the stump -- was quick to highlight that story, along with a news report that explored whether the McCain campaign has been sending out wildly inflated crowd estimates.

The McCain team has twice pointed to law enforcement as the source for those estimates -- but the same officials denied to Bloomberg News that they had provided the numbers cited by the Republican nominee's campaign.

"The McCain campaign said Gov. Palin opposed the bridge to nowhere, but now we know she supported it," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor in a statement. "They said she didn't seek earmarks, but now we know she hired a lobbyist to get millions in pork for her town and her state. They said she visited Iraq, but today we learned that she only stopped at the border. Americans are starting to wonder, is there anything the McCain campaign isn't lying about?"

A Palin spokesperson also confirmed that the governor had visited Mexico on a personal vacation. She has also visited Canada.

The Palin revelations Saturday are the latest in a series of barbs between the two presidential campaigns.

McCain, appearing Friday on ABC's "The View," was aggressively pressed on Palin's qualifications to be vice president as well as his new campaign ads that several independent fact-check groups have called misleading.

Co-host Barbara Walters asked about Palin's reformist credentials, noting McCain has served in Washington for more than two decades and asking repeatedly, "Who's she going to reform, you?"

McCain answered by saying Democrats have controlled Congress for two years, but then Walters quickly interrupted: "But tell me who she is going to reform -- we aren't talking about the economy, we're not talking about housing; she was chosen to reform, who is she going to reform?"

Appearing somewhat frustrated, McCain said, "The Democrat Party, the Republican Party, even an independent. She'll reform all of Washington."

Walters, seeming somewhat exasperated, asked, "How? What will she do? What is she going to reform specifically, senator?"

McCain said Palin had a strong record on vetoing earmark spending. Watch more of McCain's appearance on "The View" »

"The fact is she was a reform governor, she took on an incumbent governor of her own party and defeated him. She sold the airplane and fired the chef," McCain said, referring to Palin's efforts to put her predecessor's state jet up for auction on eBay and her dismissal of the governor's personal chef.

"She sold the airplane at a loss," Walters interrupted.

(The jet failed to draw sufficient bids on eBay and later was sold at a loss through an ordinary aircraft brokerage.)

Also on Friday, both campaigns accused each other of engaging in lies, unfair attacks and gutter politics in a series of television ads and memos.

McCain's campaign released a television ad, titled "Disrespectful," that accuses McCain's Democratic rival of launching desperate attacks and smears against Palin.

In the McCain ad, the announcer says the Obama camp had "lashed out at Sarah Palin" and dismissed Palin as "good-looking" as the Democratic nominee's face appears on the screen. The announcer also says the Democrats had said Palin was doing "what she was told" and had "desperately" called her a liar.

"How disrespectful," the announcer says. "And how Gov. Sarah Palin proves them wrong, every day."

Obama never made any of the statements the McCain camp released to support the ad, and the comment that Palin was "good-looking" was made by the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Sen. Joe Biden, in a self-deprecating joke when he was asked what the obvious differences were between the two vice presidential nominees. Watch the McCain ad »

Biden repeatedly has said on the campaign trail that he respected Palin and that he thought she was qualified for the vice presidency. pointed out the quote from an Obama adviser that Palin was doing "what she was told" was taken out of context. The quote is taken from the response of Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, in which he said Palin had misrepresented Obama's legislative record. "Maybe that's what she was told" about his voting record, Axelrod said.

The Obama campaign, meanwhile, launched two television ads Friday. In one, the campaign paints McCain as being out of touch by showing pictures of him when he first entered the Senate in 1982 as disco music plays. The ad also highlights McCain's own admissions that he lacks computer skills and does not use e-mail. Watch the Obama ad attacking McCain »

In the second Obama ad, the candidate himself appears. "We've heard a lot of talk about change this year. The question is, change to what?" Obama asks.

The ads come as Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, issued a tough memo to reporters that accused McCain and his campaign of turning to "smears, lies and cynical attempts to distract from the issues."

Palin never in Iraq, campaign now says -
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Old 09-13-2008, 10:46 PM   #730
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Originally Posted by 2861U2 View Post
^ Not to mention Gibson COMPLETELY distorted her comment about God's will and Iraq. It's disappointing that his interview is considered good journalism.
... Not really. And if he really did, why wouldn't Palin call him on it?

Honestly, I thought he was going to tank the interview, but he did great.

Her response to the question about the proximity to Russia is the stupidest thing I've heard this week. And I know a lot of morons.
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Old 09-14-2008, 07:45 AM   #731
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Originally Posted by financeguy View Post
Most serious observers believe that Georgia was the aggressor.
Originally Posted by Strongbow View Post
Name a few who are not anti-NATO expansion, Putin Appeasers, or Russians.
Ok. Anyone who knows that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ran his campaign with a central platform of making Sout Ossetia part of Georgia once again. Does that count?

Oh, or this:

From wikipedia:

2008 clashes

During the 2004 clashes: men from the 113th elite batallion from the Georgian army are charging up a hill where Ossetian rebels are entrenched. They are shooting from their positions on top on that hill.On the night of June 14 into the early morning of June 15, 2008, mortar fire and an exchange of gunfire were reported between South Ossetian and Georgian forces. South Ossetia reported that mortar fire was launched from Georgian-controlled villages on Tshinkvali, the South Ossetian capital, and that their forces came under fire from Georgian forces on the outskirts of the capital. Georgia denies firing the first shot claiming instead that South Ossetia had attacked the Georgian-controlled villages.[16] Russian, Georgian, and North Ossetia peacekeepers as well as OSCE monitors went to the site of the clashes, but it was not determined who fired the first shot. One person was killed and four wounded during the violence.[17]

A South Ossetian police official was killed in a bomb attack on July 3, 2008 and this was followed by an intense exchange of gun fire. Later a convoy carrying the leader of the Tbilisi-backed South Ossetian provisional administration, Dmitry Sanakoyev, was attacked and three of his security guards injured. On July 4, 2008 two people were killed as a result of shelling and shooting in Tskhinvali and some villages in South Ossetia. The South Ossetian Press and Information Committee reported that a South Ossetian militiaman had been killed and another injured in an attack on a police post in the village of Ubia and this was followed by the shelling of Tskhinvali, which resulted in the death of one man. The shelling reportedly involved the use of mortars and grenade launchers. Georgia claimed it had opened fire in response to the shelling by South Ossetian militiamen of Georgian-controlled villages.[18] South Ossetia called up military reservists and put its security forces on alert in response to the clashes. The head of Russia's peacekeeping troops in the region was quoted as saying extra soldiers could be deployed if the stand-off worsened.[19] South Ossetia warned it would move heavy weaponry into the conflict zone with Georgia if attacks on the republic were not stopped. [20]

The Georgian Ministry of Defense said on July 7, 2008 a group of up to ten militiamen were apparently prevented from placing mines on a Georgian-controlled by-pass road linking the Georgian villages in the north of Tskhinvali with the rest of Georgia. The Georgian side opened fire and the group was forced to retreat towards the nearby South Ossetian-controlled village. On July 8, 2008 South Ossetia reported that it had detained four “officers from the artillery brigade of the Georgian Ministry of Defense” close to the village of Okona in the Znauri district at the administrative border the night before.[21] Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili told police to prepare an operation to free the four soldiers, but they were released before an operation was launched.[22]

Russian military jets flew into Georgian airspace through South Ossetia on July 9, 2008 and then returned to Russia. The next day, the Russian authorities confirmed the flight and said, in an official statement, that the fighters were sent to prevent Georgia from launching an operation to free the four soldiers detained by South Ossetia.[23] In response, Georgia recalled its ambassador to Moscow "for consultations", stating that it was "outraged by Russia's aggressive policies."[24]
Georgian–Ossetian conflict - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-14-2008, 08:26 AM   #732
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I saw nothing wrong with Charlie Gibson's interview. I saw all of the first night and some of the other-how ever many there were, it seemed as if ABC had turned into the Sarah Palin channel.

Her lack of knowledge was obvious, and troubling. Any interviewer would have, and could have, revealed that. Unless it's Sean Hannity and the rest of Fox other than Alan Colmes. And Rush Limbaugh-he must be insanely in love with her. Guess he dumped Hillary in a heartbeat. She's FOX approved, she wears skirts and not pants
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Old 09-14-2008, 09:56 AM   #733
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NY Times

September 14, 2008
Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

WASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.

So when there was a vacancy at the top of the State Division of Agriculture, she appointed a high school classmate, Franci Havemeister, to the $95,000-a-year directorship. A former real estate agent, Ms. Havemeister cited her childhood love of cows as a qualification for running the roughly $2 million agency.

Ms. Havemeister was one of at least five schoolmates Ms. Palin hired, often at salaries far exceeding their private sector wages.

When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.

And four months ago, a Wasilla blogger, Sherry Whitstine, who chronicles the governor’s career with an astringent eye, answered her phone to hear an assistant to the governor on the line, she said.

“You should be ashamed!” Ivy Frye, the assistant, told her. “Stop blogging. Stop blogging right now!”

Ms. Palin walks the national stage as a small-town foe of “good old boy” politics and a champion of ethics reform. The charismatic 44-year-old governor draws enthusiastic audiences and high approval ratings. And as the Republican vice-presidential nominee, she points to her management experience while deriding her Democratic rivals, Senators Barack Obama and Joseph R. Biden Jr., as speechmakers who never have run anything.

But an examination of her swift rise and record as mayor of Wasilla and then governor finds that her visceral style and penchant for attacking critics — she sometimes calls local opponents “haters” — contrasts with her carefully crafted public image.

Throughout her political career, she has pursued vendettas, fired officials who crossed her and sometimes blurred the line between government and personal grievance, according to a review of public records and interviews with 60 Republican and Democratic legislators and local officials.

Still, Ms. Palin has many supporters. As a two-term mayor she paved roads and built an ice rink, and as governor she has pushed through higher taxes on the oil companies that dominate one-third of the state’s economy. She stirs deep emotions. In Wasilla, many residents display unflagging affection, cheering “our Sarah” and hissing at her critics.

“She is bright and has unfailing political instincts,” said Steve Haycox, a history professor at the University of Alaska. “She taps very directly into anxieties about the economic future.”

“But,” he added, “her governing style raises a lot of hard questions.”

Ms. Palin declined to grant an interview for this article. The McCain-Palin campaign responded to some questions on her behalf and that of her husband, while referring others to the governor’s spokespeople, who did not respond.

Lt. Gov. Sean Parnell said Ms. Palin had conducted an accessible and effective administration in the public’s interest. “Everything she does is for the ordinary working people of Alaska,” he said.

In Wasilla, a builder said he complained to Mayor Palin when the city attorney put a stop-work order on his housing project. She responded, he said, by engineering the attorney’s firing.

Interviews show that Ms. Palin runs an administration that puts a premium on loyalty and secrecy. The governor and her top officials sometimes use personal e-mail accounts for state business; dozens of e-mail messages obtained by The New York Times show that her staff members studied whether that could allow them to circumvent subpoenas seeking public records.

Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears. (Ms. Palin said the scientists had found no ill effects, and she has sued the federal government to block the listing of the bears as endangered.) An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.

When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.

“Their secrecy is off the charts,” Mr. Steiner said.

State legislators are investigating accusations that Ms. Palin and her husband pressured officials to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce with her sister, charges that she denies. But interviews make clear that the Palins draw few distinctions between the personal and the political.

Last summer State Representative John Harris, the Republican speaker of the House, picked up his phone and heard Mr. Palin’s voice. The governor’s husband sounded edgy. He said he was unhappy that Mr. Harris had hired John Bitney as his chief of staff, the speaker recalled. Mr. Bitney was a high school classmate of the Palins and had worked for Ms. Palin. But she fired Mr. Bitney after learning that he had fallen in love with another longtime friend.

“I understood from the call that Todd wasn’t happy with me hiring John and he’d like to see him not there,” Mr. Harris said.

“The Palin family gets upset at personal issues,” he added. “And at our level, they want to strike back.”

Through a campaign spokesman, Mr. Palin said he “did not recall” referring to Mr. Bitney in the conversation.

Hometown Mayor

Laura Chase, the campaign manager during Ms. Palin’s first run for mayor in 1996, recalled the night the two women chatted about her ambitions.

“I said, ‘You know, Sarah, within 10 years you could be governor,’ ” Ms. Chase recalled. “She replied, ‘I want to be president.’ ”

Ms. Palin grew up in Wasilla, an old fur trader’s outpost and now a fast-growing exurb of Anchorage. The town sits in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley, edged by jagged mountains and birch forests. In the 1930s, the Roosevelt administration took farmers from the Dust Bowl area and resettled them here; their Democratic allegiances defined the valley for half a century.

In the past three decades, socially conservative Oklahomans and Texans have flocked north to the oil fields of Alaska. They filled evangelical churches around Wasilla and revived the Republican Party. Many of these working-class residents formed the electoral backbone for Ms. Palin, who ran for mayor on a platform of gun rights, opposition to abortion and the ouster of the “complacent” old guard.

After winning the mayoral election in 1996, Ms. Palin presided over a city rapidly outgrowing itself. Septic tanks had begun to pollute lakes, and residential lots were carved willy-nilly out of the woods. She passed road and sewer bonds, cut property taxes but raised the sales tax.

And, her supporters say, she cleaned out the municipal closet, firing veteran officials to make way for her own team. “She had an agenda for change and for doing things differently,” said Judy Patrick, a City Council member at the time.

But careers were turned upside down. The mayor quickly fired the town’s museum director, John Cooper. Later, she sent an aide to the museum to talk to the three remaining employees. “He told us they only wanted two,” recalled Esther West, one of the three, “and we had to pick who was going to be laid off.” The three quit as one.

Ms. Palin cited budget difficulties for the museum cuts. Mr. Cooper thought differently, saying the museum had become a microcosm of class and cultural conflicts in town. “It represented that the town was becoming more progressive, and they didn’t want that,” he said.

Days later, Mr. Cooper recalled, a vocal conservative, Steve Stoll, sidled up to him. Mr. Stoll had supported Ms. Palin and had a long-running feud with Mr. Cooper. “He said: ‘Gotcha, Cooper,’ ” Mr. Cooper said.

Mr. Stoll did not recall that conversation, although he said he supported Ms. Palin’s campaign and was pleased when she fired Mr. Cooper.

In 1997, Ms. Palin fired the longtime city attorney, Richard Deuser, after he issued the stop-work order on a home being built by Don Showers, another of her campaign supporters.

Your attorney, Mr. Showers told Ms. Palin, is costing me lots of money.

“She told me she’d like to see him fired,” Mr. Showers recalled. “But she couldn’t do it herself because the City Council hires the city attorney.” Ms. Palin told him to write the council members to complain.

Meanwhile, Ms. Palin pushed the issue from the inside. “She started the ball rolling,” said Ms. Patrick, who also favored the firing. Mr. Deuser was soon replaced by Ken Jacobus, then the State Republican Party’s general counsel.

“Professionals were either forced out or fired,” Mr. Deuser said.

Ms. Palin ordered city employees not to talk to the press. And she used city money to buy a white Suburban for the mayor’s use — employees sarcastically called it the mayor-mobile.

The new mayor also tended carefully to her evangelical base. She appointed a pastor to the town planning board. And she began to eye the library. For years, social conservatives had pressed the library director to remove books they considered immoral.

“People would bring books back censored,” recalled former Mayor John Stein, Ms. Palin’s predecessor. “Pages would get marked up or torn out.”

Witnesses and contemporary news accounts say Ms. Palin asked the librarian about removing books from the shelves. The McCain-Palin presidential campaign says Ms. Palin never advocated censorship.

But in 1995, Ms. Palin, then a city councilwoman, told colleagues that she had noticed the book “Daddy’s Roommate” on the shelves and that it did not belong there, according to Ms. Chase and Mr. Stein. Ms. Chase read the book, which helps children understand homosexuality, and said it was inoffensive; she suggested that Ms. Palin read it.

“Sarah said she didn’t need to read that stuff,” Ms. Chase said. “It was disturbing that someone would be willing to remove a book from the library and she didn’t even read it.”

“I’m still proud of Sarah,” she added, “but she scares the bejeebers out of me.”

Reform Crucible

Restless ambition defined Ms. Palin in the early years of this decade. She raised money for Senator Ted Stevens, a Republican from the state; finished second in the 2002 Republican primary for lieutenant governor; and sought to fill the seat of Senator Frank H. Murkowski when he ran for governor.

Mr. Murkowski appointed his daughter to the seat, but as a consolation prize, he gave Ms. Palin the $125,000-a-year chairmanship of a state commission overseeing oil and gas drilling.

Ms. Palin discovered that the state Republican leader, Randy Ruedrich, a commission member, was conducting party business on state time and favoring regulated companies. When Mr. Murkowski failed to act on her complaints, she quit and went public.

The Republican establishment shunned her. But her break with the gentlemen’s club of oil producers and political power catapulted her into the public eye.

“She was honest and forthright,” said Jay Kerttula, a former Democratic state senator from Palmer.

Ms. Palin entered the 2006 primary for governor as a formidable candidate.

In the middle of the primary, a conservative columnist in the state, Paul Jenkins, unearthed e-mail messages showing that Ms. Palin had conducted campaign business from the mayor’s office. Ms. Palin handled the crisis with a street fighter’s guile.

“I told her it looks like she did the same thing that Randy Ruedrich did,” Mr. Jenkins recalled. “And she said, ‘Yeah, what I did was wrong.’ ”

Mr. Jenkins hung up and decided to forgo writing about it. His phone rang soon after.

Mr. Jenkins said a reporter from Fairbanks, reading from a Palin news release, demanded to know why he was “smearing” her. “Now I look at her and think: ‘Man, you’re slick,’ ” he said.

Ms. Palin won the primary, and in the general election she faced Tony Knowles, the former two-term Democratic governor, and Andrew Halcro, an independent.

Not deeply versed in policy, Ms. Palin skipped some candidate forums; at others, she flipped through hand-written, color-coded index cards strategically placed behind her nameplate.

Before one forum, Mr. Halcro said he saw aides shovel reports at Ms. Palin as she crammed. Her showman’s instincts rarely failed. She put the pile of reports on the lectern. Asked what she would do about health care policy, she patted the stack and said she would find an answer in the pile of solutions.

“She was fresh, and she was tomorrow,” said Michael Carey, a former editorial page editor for The Anchorage Daily News. “She just floated along like Mary Poppins.”


Half a century after Alaska became a state, Ms. Palin was inaugurated as governor in Fairbanks and took up the reformer’s sword.

As she assembled her cabinet and made other state appointments, those with insider credentials were now on the outs. But a new pattern became clear. She surrounded herself with people she has known since grade school and members of her church.

Mr. Parnell, the lieutenant governor, praised Ms. Palin’s appointments. “The people she hires are competent, qualified, top-notch people,” he said.

Ms. Palin chose Talis Colberg, a borough assemblyman from the Matanuska valley, as her attorney general, provoking a bewildered question from the legal community: “Who?” Mr. Colberg, who did not return calls, moved from a one-room building in the valley to one of the most powerful offices in the state, supervising some 500 people.

“I called him and asked, ‘Do you know how to supervise people?’ ” said a family friend, Kathy Wells. “He said, ‘No, but I think I’ll get some help.’ ”

The Wasilla High School yearbook archive now doubles as a veritable directory of state government. Ms. Palin appointed Mr. Bitney, her former junior high school band-mate, as her legislative director and chose another classmate, Joe Austerman, to manage the economic development office for $82,908 a year. Mr. Austerman had established an Alaska franchise for Mailboxes Etc.

To her supporters — and with an 80 percent approval rating, she has plenty — Ms. Palin has lifted Alaska out of a mire of corruption. She gained the passage of a bill that tightens the rules covering lobbyists. And she rewrote the tax code to capture a greater share of oil and gas sale proceeds.

“Does anybody doubt that she’s a tough negotiator?” said State Representative Carl Gatto, Republican of Palmer.

Yet recent controversy has marred Ms. Palin’s reform credentials. In addition to the trooper investigation, lawmakers in April accused her of improperly culling thousands of e-mail addresses from a state database for a mass mailing to rally support for a policy initiative.

While Ms. Palin took office promising a more open government, her administration has battled to keep information secret. Her inner circle discussed the benefit of using private e-mail addresses. An assistant told her it appeared that such e-mail messages sent to a private address on a “personal device” like a BlackBerry “would be confidential and not subject to subpoena.”

Ms. Palin and aides use their private e-mail addresses for state business. A campaign spokesman said the governor copied e-mail messages to her state account “when there was significant state business.”

On Feb. 7, Frank Bailey, a high-level aide, wrote to Ms. Palin’s state e-mail address to discuss appointments. Another aide fired back: “Frank, this is not the governor’s personal account.”

Mr. Bailey responded: “Whoops~!”

Mr. Bailey, a former midlevel manager at Alaska Airlines who worked on Ms. Palin’s campaign, has been placed on paid leave; he has emerged as a central figure in the trooper investigation.

Another confidante of Ms. Palin’s is Ms. Frye, 27. She worked as a receptionist for State Senator Lyda Green before she joined Ms. Palin’s campaign for governor. Now Ms. Frye earns $68,664 as a special assistant to the governor. Her frequent interactions with Ms. Palin’s children have prompted some lawmakers to refer to her as “the babysitter,” a title that Ms. Frye disavows.

Like Mr. Bailey, she is an effusive cheerleader for her boss.

“YOU ARE SO AWESOME!” Ms. Frye typed in an e-mail message to Ms. Palin in March.

Many lawmakers contend that Ms. Palin is overly reliant on a small inner circle that leaves her isolated. Democrats and Republicans alike describe her as often missing in action. Since taking office in 2007, Ms. Palin has spent 312 nights at her Wasilla home, some 600 miles to the north of the governor’s mansion in Juneau, records show.

During the last legislative session, some lawmakers became so frustrated with her absences that they took to wearing “Where’s Sarah?” pins.

Many politicians say they typically learn of her initiatives — and vetoes — from news releases.

Mayors across the state, from the larger cities to tiny municipalities along the southeastern fiords, are even more frustrated. Often, their letters go unanswered and their pleas ignored, records and interviews show.

Last summer, Mayor Mark Begich of Anchorage, a Democrat, pressed Ms. Palin to meet with him because the state had failed to deliver money needed to operate city traffic lights. At one point, records show, state officials told him to just turn off a dozen of them. Ms. Palin agreed to meet with Mr. Begich when he threatened to go public with his anger, according to city officials.

At an Alaska Municipal League gathering in Juneau in January, mayors across the political spectrum swapped stories of the governor’s remoteness. How many of you, someone asked, have tried to meet with her? Every hand went up, recalled Mayor Fred Shields of Haines Borough. And how many met with her? Just a few hands rose. Ms. Palin soon walked in, delivered a few remarks and left for an anti-abortion rally.

The administration’s e-mail correspondence reveals a siege-like atmosphere. Top aides keep score, demean enemies and gloat over successes. Even some who helped engineer her rise have felt her wrath.

Dan Fagan, a prominent conservative radio host and longtime friend of Ms. Palin, urged his listeners to vote for her in 2006. But when he took her to task for raising taxes on oil companies, he said, he found himself branded a “hater.”

It is part of a pattern, Mr. Fagan said, in which Ms. Palin characterizes critics as “bad people who are anti-Alaska.”

As Ms. Palin’s star ascends, the McCain campaign, as often happens in national races, is controlling the words of those who know her well. Her mother-in-law, Faye Palin, has been asked not to speak to reporters, and aides sit in on interviews with old friends.

At a recent lunch gathering, an official with the Wasilla Chamber of Commerce asked its members to refer all calls from reporters to the governor’s office. Dianne Woodruff, a city councilwoman, shook her head.

“I was thinking, I don’t remember giving up my First Amendment rights,” Ms. Woodruff said. “Just because you’re not going gaga over Sarah doesn’t mean you can’t speak your mind.”
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:05 AM   #734
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Old 09-14-2008, 10:06 AM   #735
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Rebecca Johnson: 'I am a liberal, but I'm blown away by Sarah Palin'
Rebecca Johnson
Last Updated: 12:01am BST 11/09/2008

As American women are drawn to the Republican vice-presidential candidate, US writer Rebecca Johnson explains her appeal

When my cell phone rang on vacation, I eyed the phone number wearily. It was my employer, Vogue, calling. My four-year-old, just out of the ocean and covered in sand, was whining for a shower. My three-year-old was thirsty. My hedge-fund husband was upstairs on his BlackBerry making plans to buy Dubai. I picked up the phone.

Northern exposure: Many Americans like Palin's work ethic and tough, can-do attitude
It was the publicist from the magazine calling to say that CNN wanted to interview me about Sarah Palin. My initial response was cool. "What do they want to talk about?"

"You're one of the few people who has interviewed her for a national publication," the publicist answered, referring to an article I had written earlier this year profiling the governor of Alaska for the magazine.

"Is she dead?" I asked worriedly. Alaska is notorious for small plane crashes - that's how the politician father of the writer and journalist Cokie Roberts died - and I knew Palin owned a float plane.

It never really occurred to me that she might be the vice-presidential candidate. With so little time in office, even Alaskans hadn't yet made up their mind about Sarah Palin's job as governor of the state.

advertisementAfter the publicist set me straight, I ran down to the beach to find my mother. A left-leaning Quaker who is president of the League of Women Voters in her Texas town, my mother is the least likely person to celebrate the election of a Republican to national office.

But as a young woman she had lived in Alaska, teaching English to natives and living on a houseboat. It was the place she had gone to escape her Southern Baptist country club-attending, bridge-playing parents and it loomed large in our family as a mythic paradise, a place where you could escape the chains of civilisation and reinvent yourself.

As soon as my mother retired from her job as a professor at a community college, we drove the Alaska-Canada highway together, revisiting the site of her early bliss. During that month-long trip, I glimpsed what she saw in the state.

A whole day could go by without us seeing another soul: a solitude that complete could scrub the worst personality clean. The people we met were prickly, opinionated and original. Gore Vidal once famously said that California was so full of oddballs it was as if somebody had picked up the country and shook it so that all the loose pieces landed in the west. These days, the pieces are landing in the north.

With so few people around, conventional wisdom seems irrelevant and laws have a way of seeming arbitrary. When we were ready to sleep, we'd pull off the road and pitch a tent. But the harsh calculus of wilderness also reveals what is essential.

You don't plan well, you don't make it through the winter. The wood pile outside Sarah Palin's parents' house is half a city block long for a reason. Forget New York City. If you can make it in Alaska, you can make it anywhere. When Sarah Palin says she doesn't care what we east coast liberals think about her, she means it.

"Sarah Palin is the vice-presidential candidate," I told my mother when I found her under a beach umbrella.

We hugged each other joyfully. Politics be damned, Palin was a woman and she was an Alaskan! Moreover, I had been impressed with her when I interviewed her - not for her politics (I'm one of those east coast liberals she doesn't care about) but for the other things that people across the country are responding to right now:her warmth, her work ethic, her "can-do" attitude.

If life is simply a reprise of high school, Palin was the jock who attended church faithfully, ran the soup kitchen, and organised the bake sale. If her paper on the Lincoln-Douglas debate wasn't the most nuanced, so be it. Something has to give.

In my article, I wrote about how hard it is for Palin not to smile. The American media has been dismissive of that beauty-queen smile, but Palin really did enter the Miss Wasilla contest for the scholarship money. (To make extra money, her retired parents currently shoo the birds off the runway at the Anchorage airport so the birds' bodies don't muck up the engines' turbine.) Even then, Palin didn't like the pageant and was appalled when they asked her to turn around and show the judges her behind.

Once upon a time, I also would have been contemptuous of Palin's incurable optimism but, having been knocked around by life a bit, I now understand what a gift chronically happy people are given.

Life hands them difficulties -a Down's syndrome baby, a 17-year-old daughter pregnant before her life as an adult has even begun, a much-needed job on the oil and gas commission that comes with too many strings - and she is not flummoxed or depressed or angry or self-pitying. She endures.

My liberal friends were outraged when rumours about Barack Obama attending a Madrassa or being a Muslim surfaced on the internet, but all week they have been gleefully trading emails of Sarah Palin distortions.

There was the doctored picture of her carrying a rifle, wearing a stars-and-stripes bikini while a man in the background drank Schlitz beer. Or dopey quotes about God, creationism and moose, all of which have been subsequently debunked.

There have also been snide remarks about Wal-Mart and K-Mart, as if there is something shameful about trying to save money. The week before Palin's nomination was announced, people were talking about John McCain's inability to remember precisely how many houses he and his gazillionaire wife own. A few weeks before that, the news was Cindy McCain's $250,000 American Express bill (those lime-green shifts aren't free).

Todd Palin earns an hourly wage at his job on the North Slope oil field; Sarah Palin makes $125,000 a year as governor of Alaska. They're not poor, but Alaska, where most things have to be flown or shipped in, is an expensive state and they have five mouths to feed.

Palin isn't shooting moose for sport; her family eats what she kills. If she shops at Wal-Mart for diapers, the vast majority of American women can relate.

It's no wonder the latest Washington Post poll shows an unprecedented shift of 20 points among white women towards McCain since he announced Palin as his running mate. Times are hard and getting harder.

In a perfect world, people would vote based on issues. Care about a woman's right to choose her own biological destiny? Vote pro-choice. Unfortunately, life is still a lot like high school. We vote for people we like, people who make us feel comfortable and heard.

Having watched folksy George W trounce the patrician Al Gore and John Kerry, you'd think the Democrats would have learned this.

Deriding Palin's modest background and lack of Ivy League credentials will only turn voters off. We should celebrate what is groundbreaking about Sarah Palin: a card-carrying member of Feminists for Life is a big step forward from Housewives for Life. And then we should talk about the issues.

Rebecca Johnson: 'I am a liberal, but I'm blown away by Sarah Palin' - Telegraph

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