Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin intensified her war of words with comedian David Letterman on Friday, claiming his controversial joke about one of her daughters had contributed to the "acceptance of abuse of young women" and calling on people to "start really rising up."
Appearing on NBC's Today show, Palin also told host Matt Lauer that he was "extremely naive" if he believed the "Late Show" host's explanation of the joke.
When Lauer noted that Letterman had not mentioned Willow by name and later denied that he was referring to her, Palin responded, "Matt, I would say that you and anybody else are extremely naive to believe that very convenient excuse of David Letterman's the other day. He took a couple of days for him to think of that excuse that, oh, no, he wasn't talking about my daughter who was there with me at the [Yankees] game, the 14-year-old. Well, I think it's a weak excuse."
She added, "I would hope that people really start -- really rising up and deciding it's not acceptable. No wonder young girls, especially, have such low self-esteem in America." Palin said that she could "connect the dots to a degrading statement made about young women, and that does contribute to some acceptance of abuse of young women."
Later, Lauer pressed Palin to explain a line in a statement from her spokesperson that "it would be wise to keep Willow away from David Letterman." Lauer asked, "Are you suggesting that David Letterman can't be trusted around a 14-year-old girl?"
"Hey, take it however you want to take it," she said. "It is a comment that came from the heart that Willow, no doubt, would want to stay away from David Letterman after he made such a comment. And you can interpret that however you want to interpret it."
"Well is that not perhaps in bad taste also, governor?" Lauer asked.
"No, it's not in bad taste," she said. "Hey, maybe he couldn't be trusted because Willow's had enough of this type of comments and maybe Willow would want to react to him in a way that maybe would catch him off guard. That's one way to interpret such a comment."
Moving on to Republican Party politics, Lauer told Palin that "your name has been on a list with people like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh and Dick Cheney," and that she was considered a fund-raising superstar. "Does that translate to you being the future of the GOP?" he asked. Her answer: "Absolutely not necessarily."
"You know, I want to help," she explained. "I want to be able to help the cause. And the cause is to get Americans to remember that big government is not the answer. That's not the way that we're going to secure our nation and progress our nation and get our economy back on the right track."
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