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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

How Palin is Playing in the Supermarket Aisles

Rick Klein, from ABC’s The Note, reports: Let’s say you don’t read The New York Times or The Washington Post (or The Note, for that matter). Let’s say you don’t follow the big political blogs and you’re not obsessed with every turn of the screw of this fascinating presidential race.

Cover_2Let’s say, instead, like millions of working-class Americans, you get your “news” on the political race from the supermarket aisle. Let’s say you’re -- I don’t know, a “hockey mom” -- and you’re intrigued by this Sarah Palin person you’ve been hearing so much about since Friday.

So you’re shopping this week -- and what do you see on the cover of US Weekly? That esteemed journalistic institution is taking it right to John McCain’s running mate -- with a hard-hitting piece that details the “scandal” involving her daughter’s pregnancy.

“BABIES, LIES & SCANDAL,” screams the headline on the cover, with a picture of a smiling Palin holding her fifth child, 4-month-old Trig.

Inside is a collection of Palin lowlights -- from her daughter’s now well-known pregnancy; to Internet rumors that the governor pretended to be pregnant to cover for her daughter; to “troopergate”; to her onetime support for the “bridge to nowhere”; to a radio appearance where she giggled while shock jocks called a political rival a “bitch” and a “cancer.”

“Within hours of McCain’s surprise introduction of the little-known, charismatic mother of five as his running mate, the scandals began to emerge as quickly as flies at a Labor Day picnic,” Mara Reinstein writes for the magazine.

“While putting to rest one scandal, Palin appeared to have opened another of even greater significance. Staunchly antiabortion (even in cases of rape) and opposed to sex-education classes (she believes in abstinence instruction for teens), ques­tions began to arise about not just her judg­ment, but that of McCain’s as well,” Reinstein writes.

It should be noted that there is no new reporting here that I can discern -- just a greatest hits from what’s out there.

But this, to me, is the clearest evidence yet that the McCain-Palin campaign is losing the battle over Palin’s image. US Weekly readers are the voters her selection was designed to attract. There’s not much to like in this early take -- and not much to indicate that the next round will be much better.

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