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High-flying Sarah Palin gives her first news conference, then delivers boffo debate review for John McCain

October 8, 2008 | 11:22 am

We were so busy interviewing body language experts about Tuesday night's debate between Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain that we somehow managed to miss the startling news that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had given her first impromptu news conference.

Aboard her campaign plane, en route to North Carolina from Florida on Tuesday afternoon, the Republican vice presidential nominee wandered back into the second cabin for a very casual exchange, according to Fox News producer Shushannah Walshe.

Walshe said Palin introduced herself to journalists and made a little bit of small talk before answering questions. She stood in the aisle with her hand on the back of a seat. There were no cameras, just notebooks and voice recorders.

Naturally, the first question was about Obama and '60s radical William Ayers, a connection that Palin has been playing up in the last few days. Palin's reply embodied the circumlocution-with-a-punch that has become her verbal trademark:

"Americans are caring about the problems in the economy, of course, and wanting to know what those long-term solutions are that our ticket can provide and what the other ticket is proposing, so when you talk though about what it is that we are proposing and what it is that Barack Obama is proposing, again it is relevant to connect that association that he has with Ayers -- not so much he as a person Ayers, but the whole situation and the truthfulness and the judgment there that you must question if again he’s not being forthright in all of his answers as to how did you know him, when did you know him, why would you continue to be associated with him?

It makes you wonder about the forthrightedness, the truthfulness of the plans that he is telling America in regards to the economic recovery because that is first and foremost on Americans’ minds.”

Palin watched the debate at a Greenville sports bar/pizzeria with North Carolina's senators, Elizabeth Dole and Richard Burr. "I wanted to come to Greenville so I could watch the debate from here with a whole lot of real Americans, hardworking Americans, because you guys get it,” she told a rally at East Carolina University.

  Not surprisingly, she thought her running mate did just fine. She was less impressed by "that one."

"I think Barack was even less candid than usual, which I was kinda surprised. But McCain has fought on and sounded very energized, and, and it was a good night for him, for all of us, for all of America.”

--Robin Abcarian

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