America's most famous hockey mom told Charles Gibson she "didn't blink" when John McCain asked her to be his running mate in her first interview with the press since her introduction as the Republican vice-presidential candidate.
Asked about her preparedness in the event that McCain --a 72-year-old, two-time cancer survivor -- couldn't finish his term, Palin was unequivocal.
"You can't blink. You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on. ... So I didn't blink then, even when asked to run as his running mate," Palin told Gibson.
Asked if she believed, as she had stated months ago, that war in Iraq is "God's plan," the candidate relented a touch, saying she "didn't know if the task is from God," but she was nonetheless proud of her son Track for enlisting to join the fight today.
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After a media blackout atypical of a veep candidate, tonight's interview -- an unscripted event -- was seen as Palin's first test. Thus far in the campaign, Palin had not had to answer any difficult questions and media access to the VP candidate had been nil.
The campaign hired a "squad" of aides to help her prep, The New York Times reported. They sifting through tapes of old Gibson interviews, posing fake questions, briefing her on topics and staging mock-interviews.
"She'll have crammed like a Ph.D. candidate preparing for an oral examination, and her expert coaches will have prepared her on how to slip out of questions for which she doesn't have answers," writes Jack Shafer in Slate.
Since Palin was vaulted into the spotlight when McCain introduced her as his running mate, the self-proclaimed Alaskan hockey mom and virtual unknown has become a celebrity in her own right -- facing intense media scrutiny, gobbling up all the airtime and even serving as the inspiration for a doll. She's faced an audience of thousands at the convention and rallied the base at campaign stops.