Earlier today, Katie Couric caught up with Senator John McCain and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who were campaigning in Ohio.
At one point during the interview, Ms. Couric asked about an apparent difference in positions between the two politicians on the same ticket.
“Over the weekend, Gov. Palin, you said the U.S. should absolutely launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan to, quote, ‘stop the terrorists from coming any further in,” said Ms. Couric. “Now, that’s almost the exact position that Barack Obama has taken and that you, Sen. McCain, have criticized as something you do not say out loud. So, Gov. Palin, are you two on the same page on this?”
The candidates’ answers eventually devolved into a discourse on “gotcha journalism.”
Here’s the relevant part of the transcript:
Sarah Palin: We had a great discussion with President Zardari as we talked about what it is that America can and should be doing together to make sure that the terrorists do not cross borders and do not ultimately put themselves in a position of attacking America again or her allies. And we will do what we have to do to secure the United States of America and her allies.
Couric: Is that something you shouldn’t say out loud, Sen. McCain?
John McCain: Of course not. But, look, I understand this day and age “gotcha” journalism. Is that a pizza place? In a conversation with someone who you didn’t hear … the question very well, you don’t know the context of the conversation. Grab a phrase. Gov. Palin and I agree that you don’t announce that you’re going to attack another country.
Couric: Are you sorry you said it …
McCain: …And the fact …
McCain: Wait a minute. Before you say, “is she sorry she said it,” this was a “gotcha” sound bite that, look …
Couric: It wasn’t a “gotcha.” She was talking to a voter.
McCain: No, she was in a conversation with a group of people and talking back and forth. And … I’ll let Gov. Palin speak for herself.
Palin: Well, it … in fact, you’re absolutely right on. In the context, this was a voter, a constituent, hollering out a question from across an area asking, “What are you gonna do about Pakistan? You better have an answer to Pakistan.” I said we’re gonna do what we have to do to protect the United States of America.
Couric: But you were pretty specific about what you wanted to do, cross-border …
Palin: Well, as Sen. McCain is suggesting here, also, never would our administration get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was, not when that could ultimately adversely affect a plan to keep America secure.
Couric: What did you learn from that experience?
Palin: That this is all about “gotcha” journalism. A lot of it is. But that’s okay, too.