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Shep's solo path

As 'GMA' turns

George Stephanopoulos, the leading candidate for co-host of "Good Morning America," has let it be known that he is not willing to join the program unless it is significantly changed to suit him.

Recognizing that his strengths are in politics and hard news, Stephanopoulos has communicated to ABC that he would not want to spend considerable time doing fluffy features, network sources say. If the show cannot be reshaped to suit his interviewing talents, Stephanopoulos has argued, the move would be risky and he would prefer to remain as host of "This Week."

But another ABC insider says any new anchor would require adjustments and the program's essential DNA will not change.

There also are growing questions whether the other candidate, Chris Cuomo, would stay as "GMA" news anchor if Stephanopoulos is tapped to succeed Diane Sawyer. In a meeting last week with ABC News President David Westin, Cuomo, who is being courted by other networks, indicated he wanted the option to remain on the morning show if he is passed over, the sources say. ABC executives told Cuomo they will make him a strong offer to keep him at the network but made no commitment about "GMA." The network plans to make a decision by mid-December.

Palin media blitz

As the buzz grows deafening, Politico has the McCain pushback. Palin says Steve Schmidt began telling her what to eat and summoned a nutritionist; Schmidt calls "Going Rogue" "fiction." Palin also says she was physically prevented from talking to reporters on her plane.

The Weekly Standard's Matthew Continetti, author of a sympathetic book about Palin, assesses her obstacles:

"Ms. Palin has two problems. The first is that she's become one of the most polarizing figures in the country. The second is that voters continue to worry about her qualifications for the presidency, a concern that her abrupt resignation from office last July intensified.

"Lucky for her, both problems are solvable. Since Ms. Palin appeared on the national stage, the left has unfairly demonized her. Blockbuster interviews and book tours will humanize her.

"More important than these public appearances is Ms. Palin's message. She needs to adopt a market-friendly populist agenda to strengthen her policy credentials and make her seem less partisan to independent voters. A bipartisan, center-right approach should come easily to her. That's how she won her race for governor in 2006."

And that would be the job she. . . . quit before the end of her term, right?

Ann Althouse focuses on Palin's account of how senior McCain strategist Nicolle Wallace, a former CBS contributor, helped arrange the famous Couric interview:

"Katie really likes you," she said to me one day. "She's a working mom and admires you as a working mom. She has teenage daughter like you. She just relates to you," Nicolle said. "believe me, I know her very well. I've worked with her."

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