For days, word has been spreading that CBS Evening News was sitting on an embarrassing clip of Sarah Palin not being able to name a Supreme Court case other than Roe v. Wade. On Wednesday night, it was aired. And it could be just as devastating as imagined.
Interviewed by Katie Couric for the station's vice presidential question series, the Alaska Governor does, indeed, draw a blank. The topic was a bit more complex than simply naming another case. Asked which decisions, other that Roe, she disagreed with, her responses went as follows:
PALIN: Well, let's see. There's --of course --in the great history of America rulings there have been rulings, there's never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are -- those issues, again, like Roe v Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know -- going through the history of America, there would be others but--"
COURIC: Can you think of any?
PALIN: Well, I could think of -- of any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a Vice President, if I'm so privileged to serve, wouldn't be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
WATCH: (Palin starts 2 minutes in, after Biden)
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Several days ago, the McCain campaign leaked word to Jonathan Martin of Politico that this segment was going to become public, topping off a series of shaky segments that the Republican vice presidential nominee had taped with Couric. And while Palin's answer certainly doesn't help her standing among voters already worried about her capacity to take over the job at a moment's notice, it's hard to imagine that the bar can move much lower than it already is.
The expectations are at a minimum for the vice presidential debate on Thursday night. Palin should be able to do better in Missouri than she has done on CBS.
UPDATE: Several readers have pointed out an equally telling statement Palin made during Wednesday night's Couric interview. Asked specifically if she believed the Constitution afforded a right to privacy, the Alaska Governor responded in the affirmative, even after reminded that it was the legal basis for Roe.
COURIC (to Palin): Do you think there's an inherent right to privacy in the Constitution?
PALIN: I do. Yeah, I do.
COURIC: The cornerstone of Roe v Wade.
PALIN: I do. And I believe that --individual states can handle what the people within the different constituencies in the 50 states would like to see their will ushered in in an issue like that.