ABC's Charlie Gibson is drawing positive reviews for his interview of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Ms. Palin didn't look rattled or lose her cool in her first interview with Mr. Gibson, the network anchor, on Thursday night, but she skittered through with general answers, sticking to talking points that flowed out quickly and spiritedly, a little too much by rote to satisfy her interviewer that she was giving his questions serious consideration. When Ms. Palin seemed not to know exactly what the Bush doctrine is, Mr. Gibson made a point of explaining it -- pre-emptive self-defense -- and demanded that she tell him whether she agreed with it.
ABC News delivered the first glimpse of Ms. Palin without a script or a cheering audience, and it was a strained and illuminating conversation. Ms. Palin, who kept inserting Mr. Gibson's nickname, Charlie, into her answers, as if to convey an old hand's conviviality, tried to project self-confidence, poise and even expertise: She let Mr. Gibson know that she had personally reassured the Georgian president and correctly pronounced his last name, Saakashvili. At times, her eyes looked uncertain and her voice hesitated, and she looked like a student trying to bend prepared answers to fit unexpected questions.
Mr. Gibson, who sat back in his chair, impatiently wriggling his foot, had the skeptical, annoyed tone of a university president who agrees to interview the daughter of a trustee but doesn't believe she merits admission.
Anyone who said that Charlie Gibson might go easy on Sarah Palin might want to quickly delete those comments.
What the ABC newsman conducted yesterday was a serious, professional interview that went right at the heart of what we want and need to know about the governor: Could she be president? Does she understand the nuances of international affairs? Does she have a world view?
He was all business, respectful but persistent.
ABC anchorman Charles Gibson came across as a stern, no-nonsense senior professor putting a graduate student through a tough exam in the first part of his interview with Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
It was round one of a three-part interview that will air on the network through tomorrow night, and you had to give it as a split decision to Gibson. But he was far from perfect, and he clearly received a lot of help from the way the interview was edited.
The usually genial Gibson was firm and authoritative without being hectoring as he and the Republican vice presidential candidate sat stiffly knees to knees in leather chairs discussing God, national security and the possibility of military action against Russia if it invades Georgia again. Gibson wasted no time in the excerpted portion of the interview that aired on ABC World News in asking about her qualifications.