What to expect from the Palin interview

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE PALIN INTERVIEW…. Following up on an item from yesterday, the McCain campaign announced that Sarah Palin will sit down with ABC’s Charles Gibson for her first interview this week. The AP added a few additional details as to what viewers can expect.

Palin will sit down for multiple interviews with Gibson in Alaska over two days, most likely Thursday and Friday, said McCain adviser Mark Salter. […]

Salter said the offer was made the day after the Republican convention and that there were no ground rules on what could be asked.

It just so happens that only one network journalist got an exclusive sit-down interview with John McCain during the Republican convention, and that too was ABC’s John Gibson. McCain appeared to enjoy the discussion — he claimed that Palin opposed earmarks, Palin’s physical proximity to Russia amounts to foreign-policy experience, Obama believes Iran is a “tiny problem,” and one of Palin’s “primary responsibilities” as governor is “national security.” All of these claims are demonstrably false, but Gibson didn’t challenge McCain on any of them.

It’s not too big a surprise, then, that Gibson will be rewarded for his deference.

It’s also interesting that Gibson will travel to Alaska for the interview(s). It reminded me of then-Gov. George W. Bush’s demand to Tim Russert that he’d appear on “Meet the Press,” but only if Russert traveled to Texas for the interview.

So, what should viewers expect? From Palin, I suspect she’ll be fine. A couple of weeks of intensive prepping for a capable politician, coupled with an ability to dodge and filibuster, all on her home “turf,” should be more than enough to get through the interview without any trouble at all. Those expecting Palin to make embarrassing mistakes will likely be disappointed.

From Gibson, after watching him with McCain last week, my expectations are considerably lower. I suspect part of him realizes he earned this special opportunity because the McCain campaign expects him to ask softball and/or predictable questions, and there may be some inkling to prove them wrong, but I doubt it. Gibson no doubt knows the McCain campaign punishes networks that ask forceful and substantive questions, and he probably doesn’t want to lose his shot at the first exclusive sit-down with Todd Palin.

Given this, Josh Marshall predicted that the Gibson interview “will be unwatchable.” I’m afraid he’s probably right.