Sunday, September 28, 2008

Calls rise among Republicans for Sarah Palin to step down from GOP ticket

Saturday, September 27th 2008, 7:59 PM

Sarah Palin faces the biggest test of her month-old candidacy with this Thursday's vice presidential debate, but many Republicans are already convinced the Alaska governor is not ready for prime time - and may never be.

"It was fun while it lasted," conservative National Review columnist Kathleen Parker regretfully concluded last week. "But circumstances have changed since Palin was introduced as just a hockey mom with lipstick."

Those "circumstances," Parker and others are now saying, include not just the Wall Street meltdown - a crisis that seems to cry out for seasoned leadership - but also Palin's choppy, tenuous, even unintelligible answers to the few questions she has fielded on her own.

Palin's interview last week with CBS' Katie Couric is Exhibit A - a frightening glimpse, say fans and critics alike, into what happens when Palin is allowed to speak without a script.

"It's very important when you consider even national-security issues with Russia," she told Couric in explaining why being able to see Russia from Alaska should count as foreign policy experience on her résumé. "It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right next to, they are right next to our state."

On the Wall Street meltdown and polls showing Republican nominee John McCain slipping, she added, "What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who's more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who's actually done it."

It made some GOP veterans yearn for Dan Quayle.

"You needed the Jaws of Life to pry a coherent sentence out," moaned one Republican operative.

Palin's uneven answers may help to explain why her handlers have let her grant only a handful of media interviews so far.

It may also explain why her poll numbers have started to slip, as in a Fox News poll last week that showed her favorable ratings dipping to 47% from 54%.

Republican guru Ed Rollins believes Team McCain did Palin a disservice by keeping her so walled off from the press.

Palin was thrust straight into the big leagues with ABC's Charlie Gibson and Couric (and a softball toss with conservative Fox News host Sean Hannity).

"They put her in storage," said Rollins, "and it broke her confidence."

dsaltonstall@nydailynews.com

Post a Comment