(CBS) When CBS News anchor Katie Couric sat down for an exclusive interview with vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin Wednesday (September 24, 2008), she focused on the economy, the campaign and foreign affairs. The second part of the interview (the foreign affairs) will air September 25, 2008.
Her answers, in my view were lacking in thought and substance for someone who might lead the United States as President. I could answer these questions better than she did. Of course I’m considering myself to be an Intelligent Woman. Which got me thinking, what would I say if I was running for the position and interviewed by Couric?
Here’s the first part of the interview and the answers to Katie’s questions.
Now some of this isn’t easy for me to answer, as I don’t support McCain. But even so, there were better ways for Palin to answer these questions. Some of the questions have been deleted because they were based on the bad answers given by Palin and since I wouldn’t have answered those questions in the same way, the follow up doesn’t make sense.
Couric addressed reports that the lobbying firm of Sen. John McCain’s campaign manager received payments from the controversial mortgage giant Freddie Mac until last month. Couric asked for her reaction to that.
Sarah Palin: My understanding is that Rick Davis recused himself from the dealings of the firm. I don’t know how long ago, a year or two ago that he’s not benefiting from that. And you know, I was – I would hope that’s not the case.
Spring: Rick Davis has experience and relationships with many organizations that have utilized his talents to bring people together. And that’s what our campaign is all about. He is not responsible for the financial crisis created by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. That accountability lies with the CEOs of those corporations and the politicians who helped them deregulate the market. In addition he recused himself from dealing with and for the firm. Everyone in politics has to separate themselves from previous positions to work on campaigns or for the Federal Government. I think it’s possible for individuals to leave one position and go to another where they can implement their skills and passions for things they believe in.
Katie Couric: But he still has a stake in the company so isn’t that a conflict of interest?
Palin: Again, my understanding is that he recused himself from the dealings with Freddie and Fannie, any lobbying efforts on his part there. And I would hope that’s the case because, as John McCain has been saying, and as I’ve on a much more local level been also rallying against is the undue influence of lobbyists in public policy decisions being made.
Spring: I’m not aware of that, but if it’s true than I would have concerns.
Next, Couric asked about the $700 billion government bailout of bad debt – and whether she supports it.
Palin: I’m all about the position that America is in and that we have to look at a $700 billion bailout. And as Sen. McCain has said unless this nearly trillion dollar bailout is what it may end up to be, unless there are amendments in Paulson’s proposal, really I don’t believe that Americans are going to support this and we will not support this. The interesting thing in the last couple of days that I have seen is that Americans are waiting to see what John McCain will do on this proposal. They’re not waiting to see what Barack Obama is going to do. Is he going to do this and see what way the political wind’s blowing? They’re waiting to see if John McCain will be able to see these amendments implemented in Paulson’s proposal.
Spring: Well first I don’t like the bailout, but I don’t see a way around it. At the same time, I don’t like the proposal the way it stands because it leaves the American people holding the bag. I agree with the efforts of Congress to work out the details to ensure the money paid by the people is secure and used properly. That means adding provisions that ensure the money is not used to pay bonuses or severance packages for the executives of those failed companies. It means ensuring that Congressional oversight is put into place instead of giving the Treasury Secretary a blank check. And it means making sure we’re using the money NEEDED instead of the money asked for. Because I don’t think anyone knows for sure where the 700 billion came from How did the Treasury Secretary come up with that figure?
Couric: But polls have shown that Sen. Obama has actually gotten a boost as a result of this latest crisis, with more people feeling that he can handle the situation better than John McCain.
Palin: I’m not looking at poll numbers. What I think Americans at the end of the day are going to be able to go back and look at track records and see who’s more apt to be talking about solutions and wishing for and hoping for solutions for some opportunity to change, and who’s actually done it?
Spring: Polls change on a daily basis. You can’t set policy based on poll numbers. I think both candidates have a perspective to this situation and we need all perspectives to come to a resolution. This has to be a bipartisan effort and we’re not going to get anywhere if the day is spent pointing fingers and trying to assign blame.
Couric: If this doesn’t pass, do you think there’s a risk of another Great Depression?
Palin: Unfortunately, that is the road that America may find itself on. Not necessarily this, as it’s been proposed, has to pass or we’re going to find ourselves in another Great Depression. But, there has got to be action – bipartisan effort – Congress not pointing fingers at one another but finding the solution to this, taking action, and being serious about the reforms on Wall Street that are needed.
Spring: Good question. I think it’s important to listen to financial experts who are involved in the details on a daily and even hourly basis. What we hear from them is that some of these companies must be supported to ensure other companies on Main Street don’t face failure. I understand American’s concern about bailing out Wall Street and no one wants that. But at the same time, companies like AIG who provide insurance to a very large portion of American businesses on and off Wall Street cannot fail or we run the risk of a larger number of companies failing and not just on Wall Street but in your home town. So if we don’t do something, and more companies fail, more people will lose their jobs, they will not be able to pay their bills, rent or mortgage and more foreclosures will occur. All of this brings the economy down even farther and suddenly you have a snowball effect that no one may be able to stop as it rolls down hill. It’s not the greatest solution, but unfortunately we have to do something – we just need to take the time and do it right.
Couric: Would you support a moratorium on foreclosures to help average Americans keep their homes?
Palin: That’s something that John McCain and I have both been discussing – whether that … is part of the solution or not. You know, it’s going to be a multi-faceted solution that has to be found here.
Spring: That’s a tough one. And here’s why. Everyone is responsible for their own personal finances. People should be aware of their income, expenses and determining what they can afford on a monthly basis. Meaning everyone has to decide what type of house and mortgage they can afford. Those who took a chance on the value of real-estate and over extended are taking a financial risk on the volatility of the market. How is this different than the risk taken by corporations? They made a bet the value of their home would rise and they could sell it and make a profit later. Sadly the market didn’t sustain that plan and people are losing their homes. So part of me would say we can’t bail out everyone who made a bad decision. It’s not fair to those Americans who didn’t make those choices and live within their budgets. By the same token, some of these risk takers were sucked into and in some cases suckered into mortgages and homes they couldn’t afford. Some mortgage companies targeted them and set them up to fail based on bad business decisions. These are the people that we should be looking to help. I don’t know exactly how to help them, but I’m not sure a moratorium is the answer.
Couric: So you haven’t decided whether you’ll support it or not?
Palin: I have not.
Spring: No, I think it’s like everything else; the devil is in the details. Are we going to put a moratorium on all foreclosures? Or just on some? Do we want the American people to be bailing out the business man who bought 5 houses, worked on flipping them and now can’t sell them or pay the mortgages on those 5 homes? Or do we want to focus on the single family who’s struggling to keep their one and only home?
Couric: What are the pros and cons of it do you think?
Palin: Oh, well, some decisions that have been made poorly should not be rewarded, of course.
Spring: The pros of course are helping those who need it the most to keep their homes, restructure their mortgages and help them recover from the largest investment they’ll ever make. The cons are wasting money on those who own 5 or 7 houses as a business, who took a bigger risk and made bad choices. We can’t reward those who took risks and failed. That’s not what a free market society is about.
Couric: By consumers, you’re saying?
Palin: Consumers – and those who were predator lenders also. That’s, you know, that has to be considered also. But again, it’s got to be a comprehensive, long-term solution found … for this problem that America is facing today. As I say, we are getting into crisis mode here.
Spring: Everyone is a consumer; big corporations are consumers. I mean helping the individual Americans who were suckered into homes they couldn’t afford vs businesses who took risks to make a buck.
Couric: You’ve said, quote, “John McCain will reform the way Wall Street does business.” Other than supporting stricter regulations of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac two years ago, can you give us any more example of his leading the charge for more oversight?
Palin: I think that the example that you just cited, with his warnings two years ago about Fannie and Freddie – that, that’s paramount. That’s more than a heck of a lot of other senators and representatives did for us.
Spring: (I wouldn’t have said this about John McCain in the first place, so this question is somewhat pointless for me to answer. But if asked for specific examples about my running mate there was a better way to answer this question.) Well you’re putting me on the spot to come up with examples over the extended career of my running mate. I can review his record and provide specific examples for you at a later time. But I think the approach being taken by my running mate in this crisis is what America needs to show leadership and concern for the American people.
You can read the complete interview with Couric and Palin at CBS. Part 2 of “my” interview tomorrow.