Tales from the Trail

Will she? Won’t she? Palin’s still a maybe

OBAMA/Republican celebrity, best-selling author, reality TV star and self-proclaimed mama grizzly Sarah Palin is thinking about adding another title to her ever-growing resume: U.S. president.

Not exactly news, except that the forthcoming issue of the New York Times Magazine says she’s now thinking seriously, right down to the need for new advisers and the means to prove herself on the issues.

Palin, whose titles also include 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee and former Alaska governor, acknowledges that much in an interview with the magazine, according to a preview published by Politico.

“I’m engaged in the internal deliberations candidly, and having that discussion with my family, because my family is the most important consideration here,” Palin says.

Politico says that the magazine says that Palin says there aren’t meaningful differences in policy among the field of GOP hopefuls “but that in fact there’s more to the presidency than that” (those are Palin’s words in quotation marks). Her decision would involve evaluating whether she could bring unique qualities to the table. “Yes, the organization would have to change,” Palin says. “I’d have to bring in more people — more people who are trustworthy.” 

White House spokesman’s “professional left” comment bites back

If the White House was trying to fire up its liberal base ahead of the Nov. 2 elections, this was probably not the way to go about it.

USA/White House spokesman Robert Gibbs criticized the “professional left” for criticizing his boss, President Barack Obama, but the comment came back to bite him.

He’s talking about the various liberal cable TV talking heads and bloggers who complain the president isn’t living up to his promises to them.

from Raw Japan:

Obama bowing to convention

OBAMA-JAPAN/

The depth or angle of U.S. President Barack Obama's bow -- and handshake -- with Japan's Emperor Akihito has become a heated on-line topic, with sides arching into political camps on whether the greeting went too far -- literally -- or was appropriate based on customs and culture.

I don't pretend to be an expert on bowing in Japan, but a few basic rules of thumb, or backbone, are: the more important a person you are greeting, the deeper and longer you bow, with hands generally at one's sides; and multiple purposes can be served by this act including greeting as well as displays of respect, recognition, apology or gratitude.

While no one called the president's bow an expression of apology or thanks, a number of blogs examined his and other U.S. leaders' historical bent in stooping to diplomatically conquer, with a few labelling the U.S. commander-in-chief "O-Bow-Ma".

White House takes heat over news conference question

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs took heat on Wednesday over the use of what one reporter called a “designated hitter” to ask President Barack Obama about protests in Iran.
 
“What kind of a message do you think that sends to the American people and to the world about the kind of free flow and pure questioning that’s been expected at presidential news conferences?” CBS OBAMA/White House correspondent Peter Maer asked.
 
Iran’s disputed election and the violent crackdown on the huge protests that followed dominated Obama’s fourth news conference on Tuesday.
 
But Maer and other reporters objected to Obama taking an arranged question from the Huffington Post website.
 
“What led to your decision to plant a designated hitter right here to ask the president a question,” Maer asked.
 
White House aides had arranged for Nico Pitney from the Huffington Post to attend the press conference and Obama called on him second, after answering an earlier question on Iran.
 
“I know that there may actually be questions from people in Iran who are communicating through the Internet. Do you have a question?” Obama asked.
 
Pitney then relayed a question from an Iranian who wanted to know under what conditions Obama would accept the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the disputed poll.
 
Obama dodged that but said “a sizable percentage of the Iranian people themselves, spanning Iranian society, consider this election illegitimate. It’s not an isolated instance, a little grumbling here or there. There is significant questions about the legitimacy of the election.”
 
Gibbs defended the White House’s decision to invite Pitney to the press conference to ask a question. He insisted the White House had no idea “what the exact question would be.”
 
He called the exchange a “very powerful message” of press freedoms Iranians do not currently enjoy in their own county, rather than an example of contrived newsmaking.
 
The Huffington Post and other liberal outlets often accused former President George W. Bush of planting questioners in news conferences to ask softball questions.
 
Gibbs left open the possibility that Obama could use the same tactic again, saying the president thought it was important to try to take a question indirectly from someone in Iran.
 
“I won’t make any apologies for that,” Gibbs said.
 
For more Reuters political news, click here.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Obama, Gibbs (left) at June 23 news conference)