Part 1 of Fox on “First Dude?” Meatless

Turns out, Part 2 of what Fox News’s on-screen graphic promised would be “Greta Goes to Alaska to Discover the Real Todd Palin,” contained all the meat (and by that I mean Van Susteren’s reference to caribou and moose meat).

Part 1? No meat. Although openings were there…

Was, Van Susteren wondered early in the interview, Todd Palin surprised when his wife was picked as McCain’s running-mate?

He was not, he said, because “I knew that she was destined for higher positions…maybe not as soon but that’s just the way she is…”

Which practically begged Van Susteren to ask, “maybe not as soon,” you say? How so? Is your wife ready, today, this “soon,” now, to be a heartbeat away from the presidency?

Instead, Van Susteren went with, “Take me back to the first time you met her…” which, if it’s any consolation, came with a candid photo of Sarah Palin circa 1981, all feathered hair and leather jacket and Tina-Fey-doing-Sarah-Palin modeling pose, and the answer from Mr. Palin, “Uh, very attractive.” Van Susteren then wanted to know, “How’d you get her to talk to you? I mean, someone had to pick up somebody…”

And later, this exchange:

VAN SUSTEREN: How good was she at basketball?

PALIN: She was good, she was instrumental to a championship-winning team…

VAN SUSTEREN: How many points did she average per game?

PALIN: She wasn’t one who scored a lot of points. She wasn’t a player you would see in all the stats, but she was a valuable part of the team…

Not someone with a lot of stats and yet still valuable, instrumental for the team…. an apt description, perhaps, of Palin’s place on Team McCain? Your thoughts, Todd Palin?


VAN SUSTEREN: When Sarah went off to college, were you still boyfriend-girlfriend?

Yes. Yes, they were.

And, for the final (non)question:

VAN SUSTEREN: Politicians have their public face but when the media leave when we get out of here you guys must think, ‘Wow, this is pretty exciting.’

No. No, they don’t. Mostly they think about “kids” and “life schedules” and “work,” and not so much, Wow, shooting the breeze with Greta Van Susteren is “pretty exciting.”

UPDATE: Before mounting the but-he’s-merely-the-candidate’s-spouse defense of Van Susteren’s easy touch, think of this:

When Ms. Palin had to cut her first state budget, she avoided the legion of frustrated legislators and mayors. Instead, she huddled with her budget director and her husband, Todd, an oil field worker who is not a state employee, and vetoed millions of dollars of legislative projects.


State legislators are investigating accusations that Ms. Palin and her husband pressured officials to fire a state trooper who had gone through a messy divorce with her sister, charges that she denies.

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.