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Sarah Palin chances another interview with Katie Couric

September 29, 2008 |  3:58 pm

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Despite the critical pummeling that she received for her last interview, Gov. Sarah Palin is risking another sit-down with CBS anchor Katie Couric.

Couric spent today with Palin on the campaign trail in Ohio, speaking to the GOP vice presidential nominee for the second time in less than a week. She also scored a joint sit-down with Palin and Sen. John McCain.

Excerpts will air on the "CBS Evening News" tonight and Tuesday.

Today's interview was promised to Couric two weeks ago by the McCain-Palin campaign, which has rigorously guarded the Alaska governor's media appearances. (Her only other major interviews have been with ABC's Charles Gibson and Fox News' Sean Hannity.) Last week, amid a mounting backlash from reporters about their lack of access to Palin, Couric was offered the chance to interview the Republican running mate while she was in New York to meet with leaders at the United Nations.

The 35-minute interview, broadcast by CBS over two days, prompted mockery by liberals and drew winces from conservatives. In it, Palin offered rambling and often disjointed explanations to Couric's questions about McCain's credentials as a Wall Street reformer and why Russia's proximity to Alaska gave her foreign policy experience. ("As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go?" she said. "It's Alaska.") "Saturday Night Live"  even brought back Tina Fey this weekend to portray Palin in a send-up of the interview.

Palin's father doesn't think she's been ruffled by the poor reviews. "She's a very, very strong person, a thick skin," he told Fox News' Neil Cavuto today. "Throughout her career, she's held up on a lot of criticism. I know she's holding up here real well.... She knows honestly always prevails. So she's hanging in there."

It remains to be seen whether the Alaska governor will fare better tonight. Coming just three days before her debate with Sen. Joe Biden, the pressure is on. We'll have the excerpts here, as soon as they're released.

UPDATE: CBS News just released one early excerpt from today's interview.

Katie Couric: Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, "stop the terrorists from coming any further in." Now, that's almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud.  So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this? 

Sarah Palin: We had a great discussion with President Zardari 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.  And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies. 

More Couric-Palin interview excerpts after the jump...

Couric: Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Sen. McCain? 

John McCain: Of course not.  But, look, I understand this day and age "gotcha" journalism.  Is that a pizza place?  In a conversation with someone who you didn't hear … the question very well, you don't know the context of the conversation. Grab a phrase.  Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country.

Couric: Are you sorry you said it …

McCain: …And the fact …

Couric: Governor? 

McCain: Wait a minute.  Before you say, "is she sorry she said it," this was a "gotcha" sound bite that, look …

Couric: It wasn't a "gotcha."  She was talking to a voter. 

McCain: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth.  And …I'll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.

Palin: Well, it … in fact, you're absolutely right on.  In the context, this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, "What are you gonna do about Pakistan?  You better have an answer to Pakistan."  I said we're gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America. 

Couric: But you were pretty specific about what you wanted to do, cross-border …

Palin: Well, as Sen. McCain is suggesting here, also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure. 

Couric: What did you learn from that experience? 

Palin: That this is all about "gotcha" journalism.  A lot of it is. But that's okay, too. 

Couric: Gov. Palin, since our last interview, you've gotten a lot of flak. Some Republicans have said you're not prepared; you're not ready for prime time. People have questioned your readiness since that interview.  And I'm curious ...

Palin: Yeah. 

Couric: ... to hear your reaction. 

Palin: Well, not only am I ready but willing and able to serve as vice president with Sen. McCain if Americans so bless us and privilege us with the opportunity of serving them, ready with my executive experience as a city mayor and manager, as a governor, as a commissioner, a regulator of oil and gas.

-- Matea Gold

Photo: CBS

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