Palin says voter question is 'gotcha journalism'
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Monday September 29, 2008

Print This  Email This

On Monday night, CBS' Katie Couric talked to John McCain and Sarah Palin about their apparent disagreement on attacking terrorists within Pakistan. Echoing the words of a voter who asked Palin a similar question, the VP candidate turned the question on end, equating questions from the public to "gotcha journalism."

Couric, referring to Palin's support for attacking Pakistan, which is similar to Democratic nominee Barack Obama, asked whether she and McCain are on the same page. During the first presidential debate, McCain chastised Obama for stating the plan out loud. Playing off his running-mate's seeming strategic slip, Couric asked McCain if she had made the right move.

"We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies," said Palin. "And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies."

"Is that something you shouldn't say out loud, Sen. McCain?" asked Couric.

"Of course not," replied McCain. "But, look, I understand this day and age of 'gotcha' journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn't hear ... the question very well, you don't know the context of the conversation, grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don't announce that you're going to attack another country ..."

"Are you sorry you said it?" questioned Couric.

"... and the fact ..." trailed McCain.

"Governor?" asked Couric.

"Wait a minute," interrupted McCain. "Before you say, 'is she sorry she said it,' this was a 'gotcha' sound bite that, look ...

"It wasn't a 'gotcha,'" said Couric. "She was talking to a voter."

After some further wrangling, Palin finally capitulated to McCain's defense of her. "... this is all about 'gotcha' journalism," she said. "A lot of it is. But that's okay, too."

But while gaffes on journalistic styles may be the least of Palin's concerns at the moment, it may yet get worse for the Alaska Republican. According to Politico, CBS is holding back a clip of the VP candidate flummoxed when asked to name key Supreme Court decisions apart from Roe vs. Wade.

Of concern to McCain's campaign, however, is a remaining and still-undisclosed clip from Palin's interview with Couric last week that has the political world buzzing.

The Palin aide, after first noting how "infuriating" it was for CBS to purportedly leak word about the gaffe, revealed that it came in response to a question about Supreme Court decisions.

After noting Roe vs. Wade, Palin was apparently unable to discuss any major court cases.

There was no verbal fumbling with this particular question as there was with some others, the aide said, but rather silence.

This video is from CBS' Evening News, broadcast September 29, 2008.

Download video via