Palin Plays the Church Lady With Charlie Gibson

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"I can also make the seasons change, you know."
"I can also make the seasons change, you know." Photo: ABC News

Clips from tonight's ABC News interview with Sarah Palin are already online, and it looks like she survives the first round pretty well unscathed. In the transcript released by the network, Charles Gibson begins the interview by asking whether she could "look this country in the eye" and say she's experienced enough to one day be president of the United States. Palin didn't hesitate before saying, "I do, Charlie." She said she also had her answer ready, without hesitation, when John McCain asked her to be his running mate. She never questioned whether she was ready. "Doesn't that take a little hubris?" Gibson asked. "You can't blink," she replied.

In the rest of the interview, Gibson questioned her regarding her statements (delivered in her church) that U.S. soldiers were "on a task from God." Palin insisted she was paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, but stepped back from the sentiment when it regarded her son, Track, who decamped for Iraq today. "I don't know if it is a task from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision." She nearly sounded as if she were lecturing Gibson in Sunday School, and kept using his name as though he was a small child. (Gibson appeared unimpressed by this tactic.)

When the World News Tonight anchor began to gently press her on her foreign policy, Palin had ready answers about Georgia and the Ukraine's entries into NATO, but stopped short of saying the U.S. should go to war with Russia if, after Georgia's inclusion in the treaty, Russia once again invaded. "We have got to show support, in this case, for Georgia," she said. "The support that we can show is economic sanctions against Russia if this is what it leads to." She also said — three separate times — that we must avoid a new Cold War.

On the whole, Palin seemed a bit unsettled by the intimacy of the interview (she has spent the last week in front of screaming crowds, after all), but she handled herself well. If the rest of the interviews are this short, we're betting she will continue to come off polished and prepared. The next thing her critics will ask for, of course, is a more unscripted, hour-long appearance on a show like Meet the Press. Don't expect it anytime soon, however. We'll have to survive on these Palin bits and pieces for the foreseeable future.

Sarah Palin Defends Experience, Takes Hard Line Approach to National Security [ABC News]