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Sep 30, 2008

Finally Taking His Turn, Mac Suffers Palin Too







It's one thing to watch interviewers respond to Sarah Palin's odd mixture of bravado and gibberish.  It's another to observe McCain along for the ride.  As such, I offer you a breakdown of McCain's "micro reactions" in the first first forty-four seconds of last night's interview with Katie Couric.

Off the bat, Couric asks Palin about her statement, made over the weekend, that "the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan" given McCain's admonition that you don't say that kind of thing out loud.

In the first shot, McCain McCain's eyes bulge, then he shoots a glance to someone off camera, after Palin quickly and presumptuously launches in with:  "We had a great discussion with President Zardari..."

Shots 2-4 sync with Palin finishing out the thought, as she remarkably toes the edge of recapitulating the mistake.  The specific completion went:

"... as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies.

In that stretch, McCain looks circumspectly at Palin, pulling his head down when she mentions "the terrorists." He then looks at her again, tensing his jaw two times as she finishes the sentence.

As Palin aggressively launches in to the next line:  "And we will do what we have to do..." McCain opens his mouth as if in a half-hearted gesture to intercede, then (shot 5) steals a concerned glance at Couric for her reaction.

Then, as if giving in to the inevitability of Palin picking up and rattling the saber, McCain's concern melts with (#6) a quick, sideways smile at whoever that is off-camera, the reaction immediately reeled in with one more quick, downward glance and more fiddling with whatever it is in his hands, as Palin completes the bluster: " secure the United States of America and her allies."

So is McCain, provided he wins, willing to subject himself to even, say, one private breakfast a week?

McCain/Palin/Couric transcript/video.


Too bad McCain didn't sit down with her earlier to ask that same question, like say before he selected her as VP. He could have done all that in private.

I saw the pictures before I read the play-by-play and assumed these were taken throughout the interview. But all that was done in the first question? Geez, I know Palin's answers suck, but McCain really needs to learn some acting skills. But then again, I have trouble just watching Palin's interviews, I guess it must be pretty tough to be there in person.

Maybe if the "breakfast" comes after a sleepover?

The funny thing is - she impressed me in one way, with how quick her political instincts are. They had their talking point that it was "gotcha" journalism, and when Katie called bullshit, saying, "It was a voter who asked that question," McCain just continued doggedly down the road of "gotcha journalism, questions being shouted you can't hear..."

And Palin twigged to it, say, "Yes, you're right, it was a voter," making it sound (almost!) like she cares about the voters. Then she went quite assertively about "gotcha journalism - she simultaneously took the high ground on voters, but then forcefully attacked on the media.

Palin's sharp political instincts, combined with her youth and self confidence, make McCain look old. Her ignorance and lack of polish, though make her look immature and rash.

I will borrow a comparison from Tbogg's blog - the two of them looked like a high schooler and her dad at a parent-teacher conference after little Sarah got sent to the principal's office.

At some point very soon, may be after the first VP Debate, McCain will turn on his VP, and will see her as an obstacle. I can not predict what this will lead to, but it won't be pretty.

I thought she looked miserably aware that she was being chaperoned by John, and he looked angry and nervous that he had to be there with her.

Thought experiment: Substitute Obama/Biden and try to imagine how this would play out.

For myself, I just can't picture it.

Obviously a breakfast meeting differs from a prime-time TV campaign season interview in a few significant ways. Isn't McCain's discomfort more than justified by exactly this kind of intensive body language parsing?

Wow, at least daddy cared enough to go to the principal's office to straighten the whole mess out!

What a trip on board The Maverick Express:

its 'loose lips' Sarah at the helm, while Capt. 'loose cannon' John, is temporarily tied down.


"Here, in this shattering new interview, Stephen Spoonamore goes into harrowing detail about the Bush regime's election fraud, past, present and--if we don't spread the word right now--to come. Since he's the only whistle-blower out there who knows the perps themselves, and how they operate, we have to send this new piece far and wide." (

Dad & Gidget.

Her expression and posture is eerily constant. Like she is not really present. I read that for the debate she is up til the wee hours cramming. Has anyone checked to see if the stuffing is coming out anywhere else? My guess is it's like trying to fill a bag with no bottom.

I love McCain's uncomfortable smile in the last frame. The best thing about him, visually, is his terrible poker face.

I have to admit that, prior to his decision to run, I never really studied McCain too closely. This series showing the constantly-shifting glance and the fiddling with his fingers leads me to ask: Has he always been fidgety? Or is this new?

How about Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz? Lucy was always long on enthusiasm and short on practicality. Desi was the one who, in real life, would tell her, You're not supposed to say that out loud!!

The reality is that they're not a couple. They are running mates. She's no more qualified to take over as the next president of the United States than Lucy would be to take over as leader of Desi's band. You got a lot of 'splaining to do!

John McCain give's us all the tells in his awkward and cocky behaviour.

Looking at this series several times I realize what strikes me: Palin is answering a very tricky question for her, one which she has already screwed up... and she doesn't glance at McCain! Maybe they coached her not to. Maybe she doesn't feel like she needs to defer to the old man.

Maybe she, deep in her guts, has the immeasurable contempt for McCain which anyone from her end of the spectrum must have.

"The reality is that they're not a couple." Truer words never spoken. We seem to view them that way, don't we. She's more like the wife of a president, not the next in line to be president.

All the charm, and's like we're skipping the election and talking about the first lady and what flowers she'll plant in the rose garden. Sara acted, frankly, like she'd already won, and was in the white house. It was never, "I'm going to show you why I'm qualified and what I'll do for the country," it was just her showing off her family and taking a tour like a celebrity. She didn't feel she had to prove anything. Charm, she figured, was enough.

So what I think happened, besides her shocking ignorance on important matters, is that the charm started to wear, as people got tired of hearing about Todd and the kids and her damn bridge and how wonderful americans are. A visitor is in our house, it's 9pm and they won't leave, no matter how hard we yawn.

As noted up thread, I have been watching Palin's hair for awhile, and here she is with the power twist, I wonder why? little girl here.

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