Surprised (and upset) we missed this one. On Monday, Michael Smerconish, the never under-stated radio talk show host, had on his program the Temple Grad student who got Sarah Palin to say that she supported cross border raids into Pakistan even without that country's consent.
Palin's statement drew a lot of buzz, not simply because it mirrored the position of Barack Obama, but because it flew in the face of the alleged caution that John McCain preaches when it comes to talking about Pakistan. As such, the McCain campaign was quick to denounce the whole episode as "gotcha journalism."
Asked about it all, the student, Michael Rovito, was nearly apoplectic at the notion that questions for a vice presidential candidate were somehow inherently unfair.
"My dad and my uncle are kind of mocking me," he recalled. "My dad is saying 'Shut up, shut up.' I was like, 'No, I'm not going to shut up. If she is the vice presidential candidate I'm going to be paying her salary with my taxes. She needs to answer this question... It wasn't until she pulled away that I was like 'God, she just said what Obama says.'"
At this point, Smerconish jumped in, airing his own displeasure with how the McCain campaign has handled Palin's roll out, vis a vis the media: "This idea that she shouldn't be out there answering questions is insane... they are putting her in such short pants, they are not doing her any favor, meaning the advisers."
"It is tyrannical," replied Rovito. "It is bordering on tyranny, where we can't have these presidential and vice presidential ... candidates now, they aren't accountable, they aren't answering any questions. I think it is tyrannical ... they can't be shielding her, shifting her off to Arizona and some desert just to coach her on what to say on Thursday."
Tyranny may be a bit of an overstatement. In fact, in the end, McCain's sheltering could help Palin during the debate. As Smerconish noted, "The perception is only enhanced that she can't handle it... the expectations will be so low that if she simply hangs in there, people will say: 'Hey not as bad as I thought.'"
Listen to the interview here.