David Brooks: Palin 'will rise to the level of mediocrity'
Published: Sunday September 28, 2008

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New York Times columnist David Brooks ripped into Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Sunday morning, describing her as unprepared for the debate with Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

NBC’s Chris Matthews played a clip of Palin citing Alaska's proximity to Russia as foreign policy experience followed by a speech where she falsely states that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were supported by taxpayers.

Matthews asked Brooks for his verdict after showing an excerpt from his recent editorial titled "Why Experience Matters."

"I admire Sarah Palin for many things... but is she ready to be vice president?" Brooks said. "Based on what we've seen with the Katie Couric interview, it's embarassing, it's painful to watch those things, you want to turn them off."

Brooks also said Palin "is smart" and could eventually "rise to the level of mediocrity."

Gwen Ifill of PBS will host the debate between Palin and Biden this week, but Matthews asked whether it should be Ifill's questions or Biden's attacks that force Palin to try to prove her readiness.

"I suspect Joe Biden is not going to be in attack mode," Robinson said. "Gwen is a skilled interviewer, I'm sure she'll ask the questions and we'll get the answers."

The McCain/Palin campaign and advisers to Biden agreed on a stricter debate format unlike that of Obama and McCain, which allowed for direct argument between the candidates. McCain advisers were concerned Palin would be left at a disadvantage because she does not enough experience with debate.

Brooks said many aides to the McCain campaign had told him off-the-record that Palin has understood the foreign policy taught to her in preparation for the debate.

But BBC correspondent Katty Kay on the show said many Republicans had become disenfranchised with Palin and mentioned a senior GOP member who told her: "We cannot say country first and have Sarah Palin up there as our vice president."

Matthews mentioned an editorial in conservative publication National Review that asked Palin to step down as Sen. John McCain's running mate so he could be saved from further embarrassment.

Yet Kay also acknowledged the impressive following Palin has garnered and cited a Florida rally that drew 60,000 people.

"She is still hugely popular with the Republican base," Kay said.

This video is from NBC's Chris Matthews Show, broadcast September 28, 2008.

Download video via RawReplay.com