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You want lotsa Sarah Palin? Here comes lotsa Sarah Palin

September 11, 2008 |  7:58 am

ABC News, which gained three exclusive interviews with America's hottest new news celebrity, Gov. Sarah Palin, is planning a prime-time special for Friday night, plus broadcasts of other segments on "Nightline," "Good Morning America" and "World News."

The first segment will appear on "World News" tonight.

Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin portrayed as Rosie the Riveter from World War II posters

Today and Friday news anchor Charles Gibson is conducting three separate interviews of the Republican Party's first-ever female vice presidential nominee, in both Fairbanks and her hometown of Wasilla, Alaska.

The prime-time special will be "20/20" on Friday night at 10.

With it will be a special biography of the 44-year-old mother of five by Kate Snow and a round-table discussion of the presidential race moderated by George Stephanopoulos.

Palin, a former city councilwoman and mayor and a self-described hockey mom, was seen as a comer for the last year or so in Republican Party circles, especially among GOP governors, who have produced two of the last three Republican presidents.

She's made quite a political name for herself in Alaska by twice challenging her own party's corrupt establishment and winning election to the governor's office as an insurgent in 2006. She then ...

... backed her own lieutenant governor as a challenger to Rep. Don Young and has maintained an approval rating around 80%.

But nationally Palin, a former high school basketball star and beauty pageant contestant, was little known. Her selection as Sen. John McCain's running mate on Aug. 29 shocked many.

But Palin's compelling personal story -- including a love of hunting and fishing and the birth in April of her fifth child, who has Down syndrome -- seems to have ignited widespread curiosity across the country, as well as enthusiasm among the party's base, a post-convention bounce for the GOP ticket and a surge in fundraising.

Her return home Wednesday night drew a crowd of 3,000 chanting "Sar-RAH! Sar-RAH!" according to The Times' Stephen Braun. So strong has been this Palinomenon that campaign officials are considering pairing McCain and Palin much more often in the eight weeks before election day.

Alaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin portrayed as a force of nature in one cartoon

Politically, Palin's presence on the GOP ticket seems to be attracting large numbers of voters, especially women, according to recent polls.

And the stir over her is causing some concern among Democrats over the fading of Obamania. A Times team report Wednesday found that Palin's presence and growing popularity have thrown the Obama-Biden campaign off stride, causing a more strident tone that some fear may be counterproductive, especially among women.

Palin's acceptance speech at last week's Republican National Convention was viewed by more than 37 million people. This and other websites report heavy traffic on almost anything Palin, such as this Sarah Palin fashion photo gallery.

News reports say women are adopting Palin's upswept hairstyle, as well as her distinctive eyeglass frames.

Posters have appeared with Palin as the determined, patriotic Rosie the Riveter of World War II fame (see photo above) and as Hurricane Sarah moving down from Alaska into the Lower 48 states; another portrays her holding a shotgun and saying, "Read My Lipstick."

Last Saturday the Fox News Channel broadcast a documentary special, "Gov. Palin: An American Woman." It drew an audience of 2.7 million viewers, largest prime-time documentary audience in the network's history.

Even without any Palin interviews, CNN is also planning a special on the governor this weekend.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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