Grad student who schooled Sarah Palin: “I had the impression she was clueless.”
UPDATE: Video of Michael Rovito calling Palin “clueless” on Philly’s Fox news added below. Rovito will be on CNN at 2:45 PM ET today. MORE: CNN video here.
Katie Couric: 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.” 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?
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 of “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.
McCain and Palin were incorrect in referring to this as “‘gotcha’ journalism,” but it was a “gotcha” question (in that asking her anything tougher than “what color is the sky?” is a “gotcha” moment) . Sarah Palin, the woman who could potentially face down tough, experienced and wise world leaders, was totally schooled at a Philly cheesesteak joint by this twenty-something Temple University grad student (left):
Michael Rovito, who has admitted to not being a McCain/Palin supporter and is not a professional journalist (his MA is in urban studies), totally schooled Palin in front of hungry journalists and forced both her and McCain to later awkwardly backpedal on her gaffe with both Couric and George Stephanopoulos.
Rovito, who knows more about current world events than the possible next VP of the United States and—did I mention this yet?—totally schooled her, was supposed to appear on CNN yesterday but got bumped due to coverage of the bailout bill. He did make his way onto the local Fox affiliate in Philadelphia and unbossed blogged about it:
So Fox’s Terry Lee Halkett interviewed Rovito on air to ask him his impression of his discussion with Palin. Rovito said he was stunned when Palin adopted Obama’s position rather than McCain’s. Was it possible, Halkett asked, that Palin was just distracted or didn’t hear his question correctly? Rovito didn’t think so. He said he didn’t want to seem partisan, but…
“I had the impression she was clueless.”
I’m trying to track down video of the interview and also find out if Rovito was rescheduled today to appear on CNN. Check back later.
RELATED: One of Rovito’s Temple classmates has an interesting take on the “Cheesesteak Gaffe” here.
UPDATE: Rovito may have commented at this blog...
1. Michael Rovito Says:
September 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm
Palin totally blanked. You should have seen her face when I asked her that question. It was ridiculous.
Thanks for the congrats. More people need to press her on issues like this.
HERE YA GO: I just uploaded Rovito’s 9/29/08 interview on Fox 29 in Philadelphia to YouTube. Enjoy…
MORE: Should have added this in earlier… Here’s CNN’s transcript/account of the exchange between Rovito and Palin:
“How about the Pakistan situation?,” asked Rovito, who said he was not a Palin supporter. “What’s your thoughts about that?”
“In Pakistan?,” she asked, looking surprised.
“What’s going on over there, like Waziristan?”
“It’s working with [Pakistani president] Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border,” she told him. “And we’ll go from there.”
Rovito wasn’t finished. “Waziristan is blowing up!,” he said.
“Yeah it is,” Palin said, “and the economy there is blowing up too.”
“So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?,” Rovito asked.
“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should,” Palin responded, before moving on to greet other voters.