After weathering a weekend of media attacks over her controversial new memoir, "Going Rogue," Sarah Palin had a lot riding on yesterday's Oprah Winfrey appearance. Many viewed the heavily promoted interview as Palin's chance to reclaim the conversation and rebuild her image — especially if she has further political aspirations. A new CNN poll shows only 28 percent of Americans think she’s qualified to be president. Did she pull it off? (Watch clips from Sarah Palin's appearance on "Oprah" here and here)
The ex-governor was impressively articulate: "Charming, articulate, unflappable and firmly in control of her material, this was the Palin the McCain campaign had no doubt dreamed of all those long months ago," says Mary McNamara at the Los Angeles Times. Though the questions were softballs, "it’s hard not to see the formidable candidate she could have been if she had been given a little (OK, a lot) more time to prep."
"Palin vs. Oprah: The anti-smackdown"
Articulate? Yes, but disturbingly so: "I'm vaguely concerned that Palin seems to have put syntax-mangling incoherence behind her," says the No More Mr. Nice Guy Blog. She almost came across as "um…intelligent." The explanation: There were no foreign policy questions. Palin was talking about the "only subject she really knows a lot about: herself…Can she talk about nothing but herself all the way through the 2012 primary season? Probably not -- but she may try."
"Be afraid, be mildly afraid"
Oprah's unconvincing empathy didn't help: For all of Palin's "aplomb and telegenic charm," says Alessandra Stanley in The New York Times, her performance was "surprisingly unsmooth…for a politician-celebrity who insists that the McCain campaign… smothered her natural talent for communication." Of course, it didn't help that Winfrey, a prominent Obama supporter, treated Palin "with guarded civility and thinly veiled skepticism."
"Palin onstage, still moving off-message"
Palin succeeded, but didn’t change anyone’s mind: Palin is probably better off "out of elective office," says Philip Klein in The American Spectator. "She seems a lot more comfortable when she’s free to say and do what she wants." So, in the end, it may not matter that "Sarah Palin came off very sympathetically on Oprah."
"Palin on Oprah"
Palin succeeded, but she's still not Presidential: The interview "should prove a plus for Palin," says Michelle Cottle in The New Republic, but it raised doubts about "the long-term prospects for her reinvention tour." Palin seemed "way too amped up, almost manic in her perkiness, and not terribly at ease…At no time did I feel we were seeing beneath the surface of Sarah Palin, Conservative Icon and Self-Styled Rogue." Her opaqueness and persistent naivety could spell trouble for a 2012 presidential bid.
"Palin came off looking pretty good"
SEE THE WEEK'S LATEST COVERAGE OF SARAH PALIN:
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