Katie Couric Interview of Palin, Part I

Here is the transcript of Katie Couric’s first interview with Sarah Palin. Couric was really tough, let me tell you! Here are some quotes, along with my reaction:

1. Katie asked Palin about Rick Jones, McCain’s campaign manager whose lobbying firm received payments from Freddie Mac until last month. Palin replied: “My understanding is that Rick Davis recused himself from the dealings of the firm. I don’t know how long ago, a year or two ago that he’s not benefiting from that. And you know, I was–I would hope that’s not the case.”

Katie then asked: “But he still has a stake in the company so isn’t that a conflict of interest?”

And Palin responded: “Again, my understanding is that he recused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, any lobbying efforts on his part there.”

She’s not afraid to say that she does not know. Maybe that’s a safe answer. Or perhaps it shows she’s out-of-touch with her own campaign. But should we expect her to have encyclopedic knowledge of everyone in the McCain campaign? Maybe not. But I hope a President McCain will run a good background check on those he appoints. We don’t want another FEMA hack! Also, did Obama know about the Fannie and Freddie connections of Jim Johnson and Franklin Raines?

At first, I was disappointed when Palin simply repeated the same answer after Katie asked her follow-up question, but the answer may actually address what Katie is asking. If Rick Jones did not deal personally with Fannie and Freddie, then is it his fault that his firm received money from them? But, of course, the facts are currently under dispute.

2. Katie Couric asked Sarah Palin if there is a risk of another Great Depression. Couric was the first to mention a depression in that interview. And Palin’s answer was “yes,” assuming we do nothing. McCain said on CBS News (with a befuddled look) that he wouldn’t go so far as to say we’re headed for a depression, but we should acknowledge that there are potentially serious problems ahead. Doesn’t everyone agree on that–Republican and Democrat? (The exception would be those who think the government should stay out of the whole situation and let the market correct things.) Yet, Katie acts like Sarah Palin is undermining economic confidence by saying we should prevent a financial problem.

3. Note this exchange:

Couric: Would you support a moratorium on foreclosures to help average Americans keep their homes?

Palin: That’s something that John McCain and I have both been discussing–whether that … is part of the solution or not. You know, it’s going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here.

Couric: So you haven’t decided whether you’ll support it or not?

Palin: I have not.

Couric: What are the pros and cons of it do you think?

Palin: Oh, well, some decisions that have been made poorly should not be rewarded, of course.

Couric: By consumers, you’re saying?

Palin: Consumers–and those who were predator lenders also. That’s, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it’s got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found … for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.

My comments: Palin usually shows a grasp on nuances when she’s talking about energy or Alaska or polar bears or earmarks. I wish she’d show such a grasp in this case, so as to list the pros and cons of a moratorium on foreclosures (or any policy proposal). Her response was something I could have come up with. Bill Clinton would have given a learned answer to Katie’s question.

4. Here’s another exchange:

Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?

Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.

Couric: But he’s been in Congress for 26 years. He’s been chairman of the powerful Commerce Committee. And he has almost always sided with less regulation, not more. Palin: He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.

Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you’ve said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I’m just going to ask you one more time – not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I’ll try to find you some and I’ll bring them to you.

My comments: On some level, it’s not easy to walk into an interview with encyclopedic knowledge that prepares one for any question a reporter might ask. But the Washington Post’s article, “Always for Less Regulation?,” has been on John McCain’s web site for a while (see here), and it discusses where McCain has supported more regulation. Shouldn’t Sarah Palin be familiar with what’s on her campaign web site?

More tomorrow!

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Candidates, Current Events, Politics, Sarah Palin. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Katie Couric Interview of Palin, Part I

  1. Bryan L says:

    You are waaayyyyy too kind on Palin, James. Did you watch the interview or did you just read the transcript? Seriously she seems like an idiot to me and after each of these interviews I keep asking myself what she had to offer that made her a better choice than people like Huckabee, Romney or Lieberman. All I can come up with was that she was a woman who was staunchly pro-life and would energize a conservative evangelical base who doesn’t care about anything else. Unfortunately they were already going to vote McCain no matter what they said.

    Seriously James, she is a joke. Can you really not see it or do you just really want to like her and think the best McCain’s judgment?

    Just wondering…

    Bryan L


  2. James Pate says:

    I watched it, though I wasn’t exactly expecting it to be on today. They were scheduled for next week.

    But, seriously, did you read my third and fourth points? I was pretty hard on her there.

    Yeah, I do want to like her. I just wish she came across as more knowledgable. She has on certain topics.


  3. James Pate says:

    Here’s another point: I wonder if Huckabee would have been much better. There are many cases when he just spouts cliches, like “we don’t need more regulation.” Maybe Romney would have brought business experience to the table, so he’d know more about the economy.

    I wish Palin were a policy guru like Bill Clinton or Dick Cheney, but I guess she’s not, as least not on everything. I still like her record as a reformer, though.

    But it has more to do with her than McCain’s judgment. I’m not a fan of Mccain on everything.


  4. James Pate says:

    One more point: Of course I watched it on TV! I quoted McCain and referred to his facial expression. You don’t think I’d watch McCain and step out of the room when Governor Palin was on. You know me better than that. 😛


  5. Bryan L says:


    Comments on your first response:

    Yeah I agree your #3 and #4 points were a little harder but I wouldn’t say you were pretty hard : )

    I don’t think she has really come across as knowledgeable on any topic. Even energy, which she is supposed to be some expert on, there is that one clip fo her giving some crazy incoherent statement on. She just seems to nervous to speak clearly like she is afraid that she’s going to ruin it for McCain’s campaign, so she resorts to repeating herself when she is asked for clarification, looking like a dear caught in the head lights and not answering questions but babbling on about other stuff. For instance what was that crap about:
    “He’s also known as the maverick though, taking shots from his own party, and certainly taking shots from the other party. Trying to get people to understand what he’s been talking about – the need to reform government.”

    That was b.s. and I’m sick of them resorting to the fact that he was a veteran and he’s known as the maverick whenever they get asked tough questions. Just answer the friggin question. When she did that little lick her finger and put it in the air to see which way the wind was blowing in reference to Obama I wanted to laugh because that is what the McCain campaign has clearly been doing.

    Thoughts on your 2nd response:

    I think they would have helped his campaign a lot more. I at least think they would have been able to discuss the issues and sound half way knowledgeable. Romney would have been really helpful with the economics experience.

    I don’t think she really has a record as a reformer and if so it is small and not that significant, especially since she just went with the flow on most of the issues. Besides it’s one thing to be a reformer in Wasilla or in Alaska it’s another thing to be a reformer in a place that has cities that have a larger population than Alaska.

    I think McCain’s judgment is seriously under question here. He’s just running bad campaign and it doesn’t give me much hope for him as a president especially since this is probably the biggest and most important thing he has ever had responsibility over. I don’t want a president who is constantly throwing hail marry passes.

    Thoughts on your 3rd response:

    I saw it on Youtube so I wasn’t aware that they showed the interviews back to back. I asked if you had seen it because her reactions and the way she answered look a lot worse on video than they do when you read the transcript.

    Whew! That was a lot!

    : )

    Bryan L


  6. Anonymous says:

    I really have to compliment all of you on the fortitude and mental stamina you show by paying attention to this stuff. Many months ago I started doing everything I possibly could to insulate myself from anything to do with this campaign. Every time I hear a concerned voice coming out of my television, I know it’s a McCain ad and I just hit the mute button as fast as possible.

    It’s not that I don’t want to know about the election, but if I do everything I can to avoid listening, I still get a lot more information than I have any use for. It’s worse this time than it ever has been before, and it will be worse still four years from now and even worse the time after that.

    In Canada they called an election on September 7, which is — what? ten months after our candidates started serious campaigning, and they’re going to vote for three weeks before we do. If Canadians can do this, why are we unable to? People say this is the greatest country on earth…well, I have to believe the citizens of the greatest country on earth can make their minds about a candidate without having to be hit over the head over and over and over and over and over again with the same few simplistic commercials, sometimes 3 or 4 times in an hour.

    Whew, that felt good to get off my chest. Thanks for listening.


  7. James Pate says:


    I’ve seen her come across as more glib and knowledgeable in certain settings–such as her interview with Glenn Beck, or in local interviews. But they’re usually not as challenging.

    And I also think she does have a record as a reformer who bucks the party establishment. She passed ethics reform. She vetoed lots of pork-barrel spending. She’s reducing earmarks. And does it really matter that it’s in Wasilla or the state of Alaska? Bucking elites can sometimes be MORE challenging in a small town.


    Maybe this allows us to get to know the candidates. Then, we’re not in the same position as the Iraqis when they first voted: Who’s this guy on the ballot?


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