#10 Palin Reflects on Wonders of America as Turkey Gets Decapitated
There’s a rather large line between awkward and gruesome, but on Nov. 21, 2008, Palin managed to cross both. Irony lost on no one: Moments before this interview, Palin had just pardoned a turkey.
#9 Palin Presents Alaska’s Proximity to Russia as a Foreign-Policy Credential
What’s especially interesting in retrospect is Katie Couric’s unwillingness—out of sympathy, one could imagine—to let Palin’s bumbling of this question pass quickly. Couric takes Palin’s we’re-close-to-Russia-and-that’s-important claim seriously, following up with “have you been involved with any negotiations, for example with the Russians?” Priceless.
#8 Palin Bobs Her Head to Gangsta Beat as Dems, Independents Cringe
It’s a bit discomfiting to recall how important a late-night comedy/variety show was to the 2008 election. Or perhaps that’s part of what makes it all bearable and occasionally fun. Wanting to take control of Saturday Night Live’s pitch-perfect mockery of her, Palin decided to appear in this skit, which features a moose being shot and the governor trying to look hip while dancing in her chair. Bad idea.
#7 The Hockey Mom Gets Booed at a Hockey Game
Even with the caveat that Philadelphia sports fans would boo a cure for lymphoma, the arrival of a messiah, or a child hugging a puppy, it was a bit shocking to see the most famous hockey mom in history get the worst of a crowd at a Philadelphia Flyers game.
#6 Palin Casually Reclines Against Massive Bear Carcass
Palin, ignoring or perhaps oblivious to the precept that images are more important than, well, just about anything, decided to appear on the program American Chopper. In her office. Leaning against the body of giant dead bear.
#5 Palin Sent Reeling by Innocuous Question About Newspapers
This one had to hurt—it certainly hurt us when we saw it for the first time. In yet another moment with Katie Couric, Palin is asked which newspapers she reads, and is visibly stumped by the question.
#4 Palin Disagrees with McCain About Bombing Crap Out of Pakistan, Blames Media
Should we announce our intention to bomb Pakistan? During the 2008 campaign, John McCain’s line was that we should not, but Sarah Palin was quoted making just such an announcement. Did this mean the two disagreed? Not at all, Palin told Katie Couric, as a near-trembling McCain looked on. The media is only making it appear that way.
#3 Palin Resigns on July 3, Draws Media Ire, Confusion
Maybe it was the basketball analogy, maybe it was the slight quiver in her voice, but in week of bizarre political speeches, Palin managed to outdo Mark Sanford.
#2 Canadian Comedians Dupe Palin in “Morning Zoo”-quality Prank Call
You have to feel sorry for Palin in this one. Had the caller been Howard Stern or Imus, she’d at least have been punk’d by a top-tier shock jock. But a Quebec duo known as the Masked Avengers?
#1 Three Words: The Bush Doctrine
Is there a Bush Doctrine? Did anyone even care about such a thing the fall of 2008? It’s pointless to wonder now, because Charlie Gibson sure cared about it, looking piously over his glasses and asking Sarah Palin about it. Palin provided an answer—and body language—whose effects no post-interview damage-control team could overcome.
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