Chatting with Bill O'Reilly on FOX News Channel's The O'Reilly Factor on Tuesday was a chance for former Alaska governor Sarah Palin to adjust her chair and pick out her coffee mug: It was her debut as correspondent with the network. And in true FOX News fashion, Palin's interview with O'Reilly was so generous as to swing into granny-pitch territory, in which the often bombastic host let her, unchallenged, "set the record straight" following a critical look at Palin on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday.%%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%% Well...perhaps a better description of the record, as described by Palin's interview, is straight-ish. Political strategist Steve Schmidt, who worked on the McCain campaign, came at the former vice presidential candidate hard in the 60 Minutes interview. He said she'd been selected by looking at clips of potential female running mates on Google and YouTube, and that once rushed into the campaign, she quickly became overwhelmed. In prep sessions, Palin's prospects were, he said, promising to be "a debacle of historic and epic proportions."
Palin shot back at Schmidt, though she hadn't actually seen the interview. "I hadn't seen the 60 Minutes thing," she said. "I had been warned, you know, don't watch. It's a bunch of B.S. from Schmidt and from some of those guys."
Was it a lie, asked O'Reilly, if she hadn't known the difference between North and South Korea? "Yeah, that is a lie," Palin said, suggesting that the authors of the book Game Change, who made the claim, were "the same people who come up with the conspiracy theories... with the tin foil hats and all that."
Asked to comment on a variety of recent news clips, Palin used her trademark circular reasoning, occasionally peppered with confusing personal details. Regarding recent statements from U.S. Sen Majority Leader Harry Reid, for instance, called racist by most political analysts, Palin began to talk about her own background.
"I come from a diverse state," Palin said. "And I married a native Alaskan." She said Democrats were letting Reid's comments "slide" while they had no problem "crucifying" Trent Lott for his own racist statements. "I don't believe that he's a racist. But I don't believe that Trent Lott was a racist, either," she said.
But in the end, what does she think about all the criticism directed at her? "The rest of America doesn't care about that crap." Tuesday night proved that Palin's "straight" talk will fit nicely into the FOX News puzzle.
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