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Posted at 04:20 PM ET, 04/03/2012

Sarah Palin v. Katie Couric: ‘Game on’ and game over

Sarah Palin came, saw and conquered 30 Rock.

As a special guest host on NBC’s “Today Show,” Palin talked politics this morning with Matt Lauer, exchanged witty banter with Tori Spelling and discussed teenaged daughters with a panel of experts.

Meanwhile, on competitor ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Katie Couric subbed for Robin Roberts with co-host George Stephanopoulos. Couric, the former “Today Show” host, famously interviewed Palin during the 2008 presidential race during her stint as anchor on “CBS Evening News.” The series of interviews proved detrimental to Palin’s image.

If anything, Couric knows morning television better than anyone. She can bounce from serious news to laughing at a video of a fat cat squeezing through a doggy door. While Couric made no mention of Palin hosting with her old colleagues at NBC, Palin sent a not-so-subliminal shout-out to Couric when she opened the show reading a newspaper.

“She’s doing her homework,” Lauer said.

Couric, in turn, simply posed with a wax figure of Lauer – the only hint of her former job.

Palin did not host a segment solo, while Couric interviewed several guests on her own – just like she did so well on the “Today Show” for 15 years. Palin kicked off the morning by giving Lauer an exclusive one-on-one interview about politics in which she never answered one of his questions directly.

Palin certainly reigns as queen of indirect answers.

While Palin didn’t seem gung-ho about Romney as the GOP’s nominee, she said anybody “would be infinitely better than what we have today.”

“Anybody but Obama,” she said more than once.

But few were probably listening to Palin discuss politics. They were probably more fascinated with the former Alaska governor’s mile-high heels and her blingy American flag pin on a silky black blouse. She wore tight black pants and a silver western belt with an oversized red buckle. Not the wardrobe usually seen on morning television.

In one segment titled “Today’s Professional,” Palin joined Star Jones, Dr. Nancy Snyderman and TV personality Donny Deutsch. They discussed Jessica Simpson’s pregnancy weight and her nude cover on “Elle,” a Facebook app that allows friends to see common enemies, Oprah’s network OWN and Ashton Kutcher’s upcoming portrayal of Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Palin hinted to Oprah that OWN needed more conservatives on it. (Like perhaps a show for herself?) She said America needs to leave Simpson alone. She was against the mean Facebook app, although Deutsch called foul, saying that since politicians are negative, why couldn’t an app be the same?

On the topic of Kutcher, Palin asked the panel whether anyone had ever had a Hollywood star play them – a direct shot at Julianne Moore’s recent portrayal of Palin in HBO’s “Game Change.”

When asked if she watched it, she motioned with thumbs down and said she didn’t watch Moore.

“I didn’t see the movie … not waste my time on it,” she said.

But Palin added that “Tina Fey has been pretty clever” when acting like Palin.

If anyone seemed uncomfortable with Palin, it was Ann Curry.

While Tori explained that carnations got a bad rap in 1980s decorating, Palin listened intently and asked questions about throwing a party. Palin appeared more at ease as her hosting duties progressed, loosening up to discuss motherhood with Spelling and explaining how she preferred hosting potlucks to catered affairs.

Palin told Spelling, who is expecting her fourth child, she didn’t plan on having any more children.

“The grandkids will be coming next,” Palin said.

Curry looked on edge, eyeing Palin cautiously, unsure of what she might say. Near the segment’s end, Curry had to interrupt the pair, saying the conversation would have to continue during the break.

The same thing occurred during a panel discussion about teenage girls. Palin seemed to want the last word. Curry appeared exasperated as she looked off-camera, most likely getting a signal to wrap up the segment.

Palin could be a real gabber if she loosened up a bit and took a few lessons from Mike Huckabee. She discovered her groove – albeit not as well as Couric, by a long shot – as her television time expired. That’s really too bad.

Sarah, go ahead and embrace “lame stream media.” We’ll watch.

By  |  04:20 PM ET, 04/03/2012

Tags:  Sarah Palin, Katie Couric, Today Show, morning television, lamestream media

 
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