By Anne E. Kornblut
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 8, 2008
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee, has agreed to her first interview since last month, with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson later this week, the network and Sen. John McCain's campaign said yesterday.
Palin's relations with the news media have gotten off to a rocky start. McCain campaign officials have complained about what they regard as the intrusively personal nature of some reporters' inquiries, and Palin mocked "all those reporters and commentators" Wednesday in her speech to the Republican National Convention.
Since being named McCain's running mate, Palin has given only one interview, to People magazine, on the day she was introduced.
She was the only member of the major parties' presidential tickets not to appear on a network talk show yesterday. Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, said on "Fox News Sunday" that she would not put herself before a "cycle of piranhas called the news media" until reporters started to treat her "with some level of respect and deference."
That drew mild criticism from Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden Jr., a veteran of the talk-show circuit. "Eventually, she's going to have to answer questions and not be sequestered," the senator said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Hours later, the McCain campaign disclosed the plans for Gibson to interview Palin this week in Alaska. The ABC anchor had the only interview with McCain during the Republican convention.
The timing of Palin's interview will coincide with the deployment of her older son, Track, with his Army unit to Iraq. The unit will depart Fort Wainwright, Alaska, on Thursday, the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
McCain advisers rebuffed interview requests for Palin last week by saying she needed all her time to prepare for her convention speech. That left campaign aides and surrogates scrambling to address questions about her political record, including policies she followed in Alaska and a state investigation into whether she improperly tried to get her former brother-in-law, a state trooper, fired after a nasty divorce from her sister.
Palin has not campaigned without McCain, joining him at events drawing ever-larger crowds.
On Fox, Davis said that Palin would agree to an interview "when we think it's time and when she feels comfortable doing it." He also said she is "not scared to answer questions."
"Why would we want to throw Sarah Palin into a cycle of piranhas called the news media that have nothing better to ask questions about than her personal life and her children?" Davis said, adding: "Until . . . we feel like the news media is going to treat her with some level of respect and deference, I think it would be foolhardy to put her out into that kind of environment."