Palin Exposed For Not Knowing Meaning of Pre-Condition on NBC

Whenever Barack Obama’s position on negotiating with enemies has been attacked by Republicans I’ve wondered to what degree they are distorting his position intentionally for political gain and to what degree they just don’t understand it. While no excuse, in Palin’s case ignorance is a plausible explanation. On several occasions, such as here, I have questioned whether McCain and Palin even understand what precondition means with regards to diplomacy. It appears Brian Williams suspected this and outright asked Sarah Palin what it means:

BRIAN WILLIAMS: Gov. Palin, yesterday, you tied this notion of an early test to the president with this notion of preconditions, that you both have been hammering the Obama campaign on. First of all what in your mind is a pre-condition?

PALIN: You have to have some diplomatic strategy going into a meeting with someone like Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il, or one of these dictators that would seek to destroy America or our allies. It is so naive and so dangerous for a presidential candidate to just proclaim that they would be willing to sit down with a leader like Ahmadinejad, and just talk about the problems, the issues that are facing them, that’s some ill-preparedness right there.

It is clear from this answer that Sarah Palin has no idea what precondition means. Instead of answering she attacked Obama and then switched the topic to Joe Biden, also distorting a statement he recently made. Obama has made it clear he has no intention of going into a meeting without a diplomatic strategy and laying out the groundwork for such talks. Preconditions refers to whether the final outcome of diplomacy is decided before even talking. In the case of Iran, McCain refuses to talk to Iran unless they agree prior to negotiating to give up their nuclear weapons program. Obama is willing to talk to Iranian leaders without such a precondition with the goal of achieving a stop to Iran’s nuclear program as a result of a process of negotiations. Which approach clearly has a better chance of success? This does not mean he will talk to Iranian leaders without talks at a lower level, or that he will agree to their anti-Israel demands as many conservatives writers have often been claiming this means.

I was happy to see Brian William ask Palin this question but disappointed that he let her get away without answering the question, or pointing out that she failed to define what a precondition actually means. Palin has avoided appearing on the Sunday morning interview shows, which typically ask the harder questions with follow up, but has been interviewed by all three broadcast network anchors. Katie Couric did by far the best job in interviewing Palin and asking follow up questions until Palin either answered or it was painfully obvious she did not have an answer.

In the distant past CBS News was by far the major television news source, being the only one which ranked on the level of top newspaper organizations. In recent years CBS News has failed to live up to this, but this year it has done better than the other networks in some aspects of election coverage. While I never watched Katie Couric much before, for now I consider her the top network anchor based upon how she interviewed Palin. In addition, CBS News was the most impressive in moderating the debates. Bob Scheiffer did the best job in moderating, while Tom Brokaw of NBC News was awful. While ABC News was not involved in the presidential debates, Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopolos did a terrible job when they moderated a debate and town hall meeting during the primaries.

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1 Comment

  1. 1
    Nina says:

    Give us all a break! What kind of precedent is the fourth estate setting by letting a VP candidate sail into Election Day without a vetting that includes solo grown-up interviews and pressers? Monday morning quarterbacking in the form of parsing words, analyzing clever squirming and non-answers, and scoring interviewers does not take the place of forceful, objective live-action journalism. Whining that “everybody knows Palin is a lightweight” the day after is not a substitute for asking that “Ms. Palin, please tell us how you’re not a lightweight!” today.

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