Palin talks abortion and newspapers — sort of — in Couric interview

October 1, 2008

palin30.jpgKANSAS CITY, Missouri – Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is happy to discuss her views on social issues like abortion and homosexuality, but reluctant to list what she usually reads to keep up on world events.
That’s the takeout from a series of interviews the Alaska governor did with CBS anchor Katie Couric, which aired on Tuesday night.
Palin, whose opposition to abortion rights has ignited support among social conservatives, some of whom were wary of presidential nominee John McCain, discussed whether rape or incest victims should be allowed to have an abortion.
“Personally, I would counsel the person to choose life, despite horrific, horrific circumstances that this person would find themselves in,” she said. “If you’re asking, though, kind of foundationally here, should anyone end up in jail for having an … abortion, absolutely not.”
When asked about her views on homosexuality, Palin talked about a close friend who is gay.
“One of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay, and I love her dearly,” Palin said. “She is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn’t a choice I would have made. But I am not going to judge people.”
Palin has faced criticism for lacking experience in foreign policy. Before becoming governor some two years ago she was the mayor of a small town.
Couric asked Palin what newspapers and magazines she read regularly before becoming McCain’s running mate “to stay informed and to understand the world.”
Here is her response, according to a transcript provided by CBS:
Palin: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media. 
Couric: What, specifically?
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years. 
Couric: Can you name a few? 
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?” Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage. 

Photo credit: REUTERS/Stephen Mally


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Ok this joke’s been carried on long enough. You can stop it now McCain.

Posted by ApplyDirectlyToTheForehead | Report as abusive

This is not a suprise. What a national tradegy.

Posted by Yvetta | Report as abusive

She is s much more dangerous than the current monkey in DC.
What an idiot. But she can smile so cute and “get back to YA!”

Posted by Tbpmom | Report as abusive

Let me see, she does not understand what it means to say the name of the media you read?

Or she didn’t hear the question twice or three times?

Or she does not want to say because it would be embarrassing?

I don’t think its hard to figure out. Despite her walking around the question and saying the double speak so well. We know what she is doing.

We, unlike what she has been told by the McCainintes, are not stupid.

Posted by Paul Stewart | Report as abusive

The political theater just keeps getting richer and richer. And Palin is the comic relief in a scenario that tends toward tragedy. Don’t ever change, girl!

Posted by Jim Brown | Report as abusive

SHE’S BACK …… and just as Scarrry !!!

Posted by MichMan | Report as abusive

This is an outrage! How dare John McCain SPIT on the history of America by selecting this buffoon to be President of the United States should he die in office! She could not give Katie Couric the name of ONE newspaper? Has she ever read the CONSTITUTION? Has she heard of the BILL OF RIGHTS? Someone in the Press better start asking her some basic questions about this country. This is SHOCKING! Any Republican with an OUNCE of SELF RESPECT will NOT vote for this person. John McCain, you have LOST!

Posted by Dan Rains | Report as abusive

Oh. My. God.

She is a moron who doesn’t even read.

Posted by Matt Hummel | Report as abusive

How hard is it to answer a simple question, as to what newspapers she reads on a regular basis, and she can’t name one.

Fits the description of a true airhead.

Posted by Dale Moore | Report as abusive

My god… Sarah Palin is a mess.

If you can’t handle the “hard ball” questioning from Katie Couric, how the heck are you going to be able to deal with Islamic fundamentalist, Troopergate, the economy, and well, France?

Can you imagine Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Palin trying for common ground? Can somebody say food fight?

So she reads the National Enquirer! That is the paper/magazine that is all over America and readily available to be in front of her, all these years. Wow, what an informed woman. I may have to rethink my position about her. She is truly, innovative.

It is embarrassing to think that intelligent Americans can really take this candidate for VP seriously. Come on! There isn’t ANYONE else that would have been a better choice for the McCain ticket. You who support this ticket, have lost touch with reality. With little wonder, as most of you Voted to keep this current administration in corruption.

Now living in Australia! And still voting!

Posted by susan | Report as abusive

That’s Sarah throwing back at it at GOTCHA COURIC.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

Can someone really argue that asking someone what magazines they read is a “Got Ya” question. That is not a believable. Instead try this, “vote for McCain.”

Posted by Brad | Report as abusive

Sarah Palin could have at least said that she reads the major Alaska newspapers and cited them by name (assuming she remembers the names of those papers!) Her response — actually, the lack of one — just adds fuels to the fire that she is way out of her league here. And the whole things has gotten pretty embarrasing, to say the least.


“What newspapers do you read?” is not a particularly hard question. How the hell could she blow it? Even if she really doesn’t read any papers, she must have at least HEARD of some of them. She could have just named one or two of the local Anchorage papers, maybe some of the national ones like NY Times, Washington Post, WSJ, even USA Today, and that would have been the end of it.

You would think that the ability to lie convincingly is second nature to politicians, but Palin can’t even manage that.

Posted by Elitist | Report as abusive

Want to know a stunning fact about Palin? She has a degree in communications/journalism. How scary is THAT? If she sucks this bad at something she studied for five years, what the hell is she like on unfamiliar territory?

Posted by winnie47 | Report as abusive

that’s what i said to a reporter when asked if i’d read, i’d replied: i don’t read… brilliant.
this is a bit like “being there”.

Posted by chauncey gardner | Report as abusive

If McCain really wants a chance to not lose this election, he only has one option. Replace his running mate.

McCain’s political campaign has become a theatre of the absurd.

Posted by Joseph | Report as abusive

Palin has no intellectual curiosity because she clearly believes she already knows everything she needs to know.

Alaskans should be totally red-faced in having elected such a nitwit as their governor. Likewise, Republicans should be mortified that their presidential candidate picked her as his running mate. Or do I have that backwards…is he the running mate?

Posted by Roz | Report as abusive

Wow, people can be so judgemental. She likely didn’t want to get into endorsing and one periodical. She’s a modern women who gets her news from everywhere. I just had to look up now to see what site I’m on, turns out it’s reuters, linked to from Google news. Get with it people, it’s 2008.

Posted by Joe | Report as abusive

The Republicans scored bigtime by picking her…for the convention, where everyone is disillusioned that this woman will carry their ticket. They forgot one small thing though, that after the convention, she has to talk…speak…answer questions…

If, God forbids, McCain wins the election…I’m very very nervous as to who he would pick for Secretary of Defense…or National Adviser…or any other high ranking positions in the white house….VERY VERY SCARY THOUGHT!

Posted by Jay | Report as abusive

I am from an Asian country and have been watching the Palin drama unfold for the past few weeks. I am shocked that an incumbent VP of America cannot even name a few regular newspapers she reads to keep herself informed about the world, let alone about her own country! There is something seriously wrong here because some of our politicians may be young as she is but they are well seasoned and of course very well informed about our country and world affairs.We would never vote for a person so inadequately informed.

Posted by Mousumi | Report as abusive

It isn’t surprising, really, to discover she doesn’t read to inform herself. Many, many years ago, I was divorced and the single mother of 3 pre-teens, working full time as a Registered Nurse. I felt very inadequate about current affairs, “world view”, as I had been immersed in raising children, working, and engaged in a not very nice marriage. I decided to inform myself, and started reading Newsweek, Time, listening to NPR, watching CNN. It did not take long, because I also became very interested and concerned. Today, I can sipher out BS of a situation and come to conclusions that are confirmed in the next day news cycle.

This helped me to become a better parent and advocate for my children; a better professional nurse; and a fully participating citizen. I could probably be interviewed by any of the MSM and provide more informed and opinionated responses. I could certainly articulate the policies of John McCain and of Barack Obama and I could easily defend one set of policies over the other. I could define the qualities each one possesses that would make for better government. And I can tell you which one is full of BS and lying and which one is not. I can cite about 8 Supreme Court cases decided upon since the time I began to take responsibility for being informed.

Ms. Sarah has never felt the need to inform herself and that is evident. Forget experience. Her surrogates like to say she has the same experience Bill Clinton or Jimmy Carter had as governors. What they fail to see and no one has countered them with is that Clinton and Carter were informed; Sarah is not. It helps to have studied and had a formal education and law degrees, but, if one is a “self made woman” as they claim her to be, one would have informed herself.

There just is no defense in support of her candidacy for VP and for McCain’s judgement. We have seen his flawed judgement over and over again since this poor one. Day after day, they get worse and worse. Can it even be really happening? It is like one long SNL skit, between the two of them and their happy campers.

Posted by nana | Report as abusive

Misinformation/distortions/clouding/lies = McCain/Palin.
Unprepared/doesn’t know what she doesn’t know =Palin

McCain and Palin can put our country and world in further peril. We cannot vote them in office–please!

The sentinment among many Alaskans, including our local newspaper that Palin would be a very wrong choice as VP or worse yet, President!

Posted by Alaskan not for McCain/Palin | Report as abusive

All the anti Sarah comments are so uneducated and petty….no real substance…..just bashing…..blah, blah, blah…..why do people insist on speaking or writing when they have nothing of substance to share? Sarah Palin is smart…..and dedicated……..and here sme dumbbell calls her a moron. Like, duh!

Posted by Jackie | Report as abusive

To prevent abortion take the following steps:

* Talk to your children about where babies come from.
* Talk to your teenagers regularly about safe sex practices.
* Teach personal accountability to your children.
* Do not treat sex as a shameful or embarassing subject.
* Encourage your schools to provide sex education.
* Ensure birth control is affordable and readily available.
* Offer unconditional love and support if your child becomes pregnant.
* Expand social programs that financially assist single mothers so that they can pay their rent, continue to attend school, and provide a solid future for their child.

A lot of conservatives act like idiots in that they condemn abortion and yet lack the maturity to address its real roots. Sex is a natural part of life that should not be hidden or thought of as shameful. Do everything in your power to foster an open discussion about sex and its ramifications with your children.

Posted by leapblog | Report as abusive

My questions would also include: What is the title and author of a complete book have you read in the past year?; How many world continents are there, and name the one Alaska belongs to?; Where would you find a copy of the U.S. Constitution to read?; What is your view of college liberal arts curriculum?

Posted by Richard | Report as abusive

Misquote from above: The local newspaper has run many articles that demonstrate concerns about Palin’s state behavior as governor, but mistated that it does not support her VP candidacy.

This Alaskan does not.

Posted by Alaskan not for McCain/Palin | Report as abusive

No Brad, it was not a “Got ya” question. It was a simple question to see what sources Gov. Palin uses to familiarize herself with international events. Regretably, instead of saying Time, Newsweek, US News and World Report or Atlantic, among others. She danced around the question with a lot of obfusticating blather that illustrated a dangerous degree of ignorance. Vote for McCain? No way, Jose.

Posted by John H | Report as abusive

Katie Couric would have us believe that we can be well informed by listening to Katie Couric 22 minutes per night 5 times per week, so why do we also need to read newspapers? Most well informed people get their news on line these days. Who has time to carry dead trees around? Besides do we really want some buffoon like Joe Biden who spends 4 hours a day on an Amtrak train reading every damn last article in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Trib, L.A. Times. Enough news already, folks.

Posted by David Harlem | Report as abusive

Oh, Jackie…So uneducated and petty…no real substance? Yeh, that’s a fairly good description – oh, you weren’t describing Palin? Awww…and you were doing such a “smart…and dedicated” job of (what did you call it?) bashing.

Posted by Kat | Report as abusive

Readership of newspapers has been in a steady decline for each of the past 15 years, so it is not surprising that a busy 44-year old mother of five who is also a governor does not sit at Starbucks all afternoon examining the Book Review in the New York Times. The more shocking story is that Joe Biden thinks that home based television existed in 1929, and that Franklin Roosevelt was President.

Posted by Bill from Ohio | Report as abusive

I would say after watching this interview that nothing she said is something I don’t already know. I disagree with her on the majority of social issues, and personally, I cannot stand people like her who are as shallow as a kiddie pool. However, I’d say most of you commenters are going for the jugular on this one when it does not merit it. Just because it has been established that she may not her “shit” the way a VP ought to in previous interviews doesn’t mean that by her being vague about what she reads means she doesn’t read. The woman has a degree in journalism. That shows at least some interest in the written word, either writing it or reading it. Had I been asked that question, I probably would’ve been vague myself, in that I have read much during my life. If a politician were too specific in giving examples of what they read, it could be construed that that is ALL they read. If she had at least given some examples of the types of magazines or newspapers she reads, I would have felt better about it. However, I just don’t think you jump to the conclusion that she doesn’t read based on the vague answer she gave. She’s not stupid, but I would say she has a shallow mind good with simple concepts and go-to action, but not good at thinking through problems and taking into account many factors to reach a solution. In the end I’m not defending Sarah Palin at all, but promoting one to interpret her answers with thoughtfulness, rather than railing on her just because everyone else is doing it or you hate what she stands for. Otherwise you become just like her.

Posted by Laurel | Report as abusive

Country First? By choosing Palin as VP, not only is McCain doing a DISSERVICE to the Country he is INSULTING it.

“Palin” is factual evidence of McCain’s bad judgement which propels him undeserving of the office of the President. Not dissing the man per se – the key phrase here is “bad judgement” – selfish, reckless, absolutely unpresidential.

Posted by chad | Report as abusive

I don’t know, sometimes I feel like McBush keeps her so locked up, that the real Sarah won’t come out. True, she probably have some smarts and whit about her but to what degree? I mean, when you say things like because Russia is across the way you have foreign experience. It’s like, did you look in the mirror and bother asking yourself what that sounds like. And that other question about the $700B rescue effort, it was like, what the hell. I know she’s going to make gaffes, it’s expected and but I feel her communication skills have been lacking. I don’t know if it’s because she unscripted and gets nervous, but she needs to work on it. True, I’m still not voting for that ticket, but I will give her the benefit of a doubt, including McBush even though he says things of late that have been conflicting.

Posted by Trasa | Report as abusive

Absoluty great; another (vice) president who doesn’t/can’t read ! Maybe she can manage to get the country in even a bigger mess than it is after 8 years with a president who also admitted that he doesn’t ready newspapers.

Posted by melanie | Report as abusive

OH, but I do wan to add, that if she has to keep Todd around to govern in Alaska, it does make me wonder who the brains of their operation truly is. I mean, the more and more I hear her answers with the interview from Katie, it doesn’t look to good and makes me wonder how she managed to run Alaska. But you know, my mom used to work for people in charge that didn’t have no sense and wonder how they would get into the position they were in, but if you surround yourself with people who can, it makes you look good.

Posted by Trasa | Report as abusive

Are you nuts. I bet you know what newspaper you have read. And can answer using words in a sentence or at least in order. No substance? This person speaks worse than a 2-year old. If you don’t hear that you must be as unintelligable. Give me a break.

What do you think this is, a half hour cartoon or something? We should play games with the country because Know-Nothings like you may prove to have become the maajority and would vote for the megalomaniac and his airhead check-out clerk for president and vice president? Like it is a reality TV show? What is wrong with you people. Substance is not Vote McCain as the other bozo above stated. Where’s the substance in such a dumb action like that?

Why should such fools get power, are you nuts? Who will you blame when they prove a disaster?

If Obama wins your world view of him will be so unbelievably wrong that you might not be able to function anymore, but need to go into therapy

Posted by fred fep | Report as abusive

She apparently won’t put the women in jail who have aboritons — just the doctors.

Evolution should be taught as an “accepted” principle in the science class – with discussions in Other classes about creationism.

This woman is careful, and tricky in all her responses. They are cleverly planned to appear straightforward and honest, but my oh my, what a world of subterfuge lies behind!

Posted by frank burns | Report as abusive

This woman is a pure mediocrity. The more she opens her mouth, the more clear it becomes. Who on earth would not be able to answer Couric’s softball question? Couldn’t she just make something up? Obviously, she is scared to say anything, and has lost her confidence, and now is reduced to clumsy evasions in even the most innocent questioning. Unfortunately, a considerable minority of Americans would prefer that we have a mediocrity in the highest office, simply so they can feel better about being mediocrities themselves. But not enough to win the election this.

Obama/Biden ’08

Posted by dsw | Report as abusive

several things come to mind including the movie “idiocracy”, the old fable “the emperors new clothes” (based on the reluctance of the media pundits to just come out and call this idiot ant idiot.) and last but not least are we in an episode of the twilight zone??? most people in our country that are still capable of intelligent rational thought realize that we should elect the best and brightest, educated, qualified individuals to lead our country. not just any moron (that some of you might want to have a beer with) that comes down the pike… p.s. that goes for john (manchurian candidate) mcshame too.

I appollgize for any corrections my phone makes that are confusing…ok guys I agree that Palin Is not a qualified runningmate but at Lear the one who is running is qualified unlike obama… I have nothing against obama and I am a democrat but I will be voting for mcain…when obama representative from Chicago was asked to namejust one of obmas accomplishments 6 times could only answer by saying what he’s Shure obama will accomplish and four years ago obama said himself that he wouldn’t run for office for at least twelve years and it would be iresponsible for him to run with such little experience

Posted by Cody Arnold | Report as abusive

How many reporters do you think were just sent to Alaska to find Sarah’s friend so that they can ask her: A) Is homosexuality choice? B) How good of a friend are you to Sarah Palin? C) Do you think Palin is qualified to be VP?

The list could go on and on.

Schadenfreude all around kiddies.

Posted by Andrew | Report as abusive

Sarah has no experience??? Look at the mess we are in with the leaders that have all the so called experience!!! I say give her a chance….anyone who can manage a family of five children and run a state as Governor has better qualifications than any slick politician in Washington!

Posted by Drew | Report as abusive

anti-sarah comment coming, i guess, but beyond everything that has been said, her inability to cite one news source that she regularly reads to keep abreast of u.s. and international news is troubling. the problem is that the office she aspires to requires at least a working knowledge of the world, its leaders, and history. she appears to possess very little interest in or knowledge of these topics as evidenced by her obvious discomfort in discussing fairly general international relations and diplomacy issues in two (real) limited interviews. palin is at best not ready to be v.p. and at worst not equipped to be v.p. sorry.

Posted by joe blow | Report as abusive

I am not uneducated as Jackie suggests. I have a Ph.D., and I find Sarah Palin’s answer profoundly disturbing. I understand that Palin does not want to reveal that she is either a) reading “liberal media” publications or b)reading evangelical tracts written by her deranged pastor. What I don’t understand is why conservatives are so willing to defend Palin’s anti-intellectualism and her refusal to reveal herself. Knowing what people read gives us important information about who they are, how they think, what they believe. Palin knows this. Therefore, by refusing to answer the question, she reveals that she doesn’t want us to know who she is. What is she hiding? Why are conservatives so proud of her contempt for knowledge and ideas? Why do they share it? We’ve had 8 years of a president who does not read or think. Why are so many people eager for more?

Posted by PhDiva | Report as abusive

Don’t order off the menu America!
This women in the real “emtpy suit”. She is scripted, coached, and controlled by the McCain Campaign.

Ask he the hot-button issues and she spews forth slogans and talking points. Go off the script and she had NOTHING. She could not even answer what newspaper she reads. Come on, can someone cut her loose now please?

Now the question and answer is harmless in and of itself, but this is a distinct pattern and it is very disturbing.

Posted by Chris | Report as abusive

I will vote for the McCain/Palin ticket. John McCain has the experience and intelligence to guide the USA. Sarah Palin understand “us”. She’s not on the outside looking in at our dilemas. She’s living our issues. Who’s better to work for us?? Mr. Obama: Exxon/Mobil does not owe the USA one thin dime. No one forces people to buy product from them. Their money is not ours. If you want to profit from them, buy their stock AND SHARE THE RISK. Otherwise, STFU about their profits. You’re not Robinhood and this the Socialist Republic of the United States. Mr Biden: Men are not guilty until proven innocent as you implied in your VAWA. The Democrats had their chance to fix regulations to prevent the Freddie MAC and Fannie MAE issues four years ago when they were caught cooking the books. THANKS TO THE Democrats, we now have a mess on our hands and an expensive bail-out. The USA is not about ENTITLEMENTS, it is about OPPORTUNITY and hard work. The USA is not about “FREE” healthcare. Health insurance is not about paying your bills for you, rather, protecting you from catastrophic expenses. Wrap you’re donkey brain around it. I hear Obama speak and I hear a lack of experience and the promise of change without a PLAN. We already experimented with Jimmy Carter in the White House. IT DIDN’T WORK. It seems to me that Democrats are absolute worst at understanding why history is significant. This guy in Iran that Obama wants rhetoric with is another Hitler. Why can’t you see this?? The man tells us one thing and does another and yet Obama thinks he’s going to get the terrorist to understand reason. WHAT?!? This makes no sense.

Posted by Smarter than you | Report as abusive

Even if she had just lied and said Wall Street Journal, it would have been better than her rambling vaguely. I’m in no position to be near politics yet I read the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, and random newspapers/magazines that friends send me from London and Japan.

Maybe I could replace her =P haha

Posted by Nichole | Report as abusive

Perhaps this comment will be considered “petty” by the Palinites, but I found her statement that “Alaska is a microcosm of America” laughable. I grew up in one of the few states with LESS racial diversity than Alaska (that would be Maine) and as much as I love my home state, in no way would I ever describe it to anyone as a “microcosm of America.” Alaska is probably a lot more like Maine than it is like where 80% of Americans live, which is in large and small cities characterized by racial, religious, social, ethnic and economic diversity.

I think Sarah Palin made that comment about Alaska being a microcosm of America because she doesn’t know any better. Why would we want to be represented by someone so oblivious? Americans need to get over the romanticization of “small town life/values” and recognize that we are an increasingly urban, pluralistic society.

Posted by lagata | Report as abusive