Friday, October 03, 2008

Weekly newspaper in Palin's hometown covers fans and critics watching her big moment

How did Sarah Palin's hometown newspaper, the Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman, cover her biggest moment on the national stage, her debate with vice presidential opponent Joe Biden? Pretty well, in our view, by going to local gatherings on both sides of the partisan fence and adding some local insight. (Photo of Palin supporters Lynn Gattis and Pam Speer by Robert DeBerry, the Frontiersman)

The Alaska governor "brought out what appeared to be a strategy from her 2006 gubernatorial campaign by telling stories from her own life in Wasilla and relating them to the struggles of other Americans," Michael Rovito writes for the Frontiersman, a thrice-weekly. "At one point, Palin responded in part to a question by moderator Gwen Ifill of PBS by saying she may not answer questions put to her the way Ifill or Biden wanted to hear them, but she would talk to the American people. The response drew raucous applause from the crowd at Tailgaters, which also laughed every time Biden had a speech stumble as he spoke."

"Down the road at Hacienda, a decidedly different atmosphere was felt. Debate viewers there snickered as Palin answered questions, and cheered just as loud as those at Tailgaters — only for Biden. Jay Cross, a Big Lake resident, said although he supports Obama, he thought Palin held up to the pressure. 'They made expectations so low,' Cross said. 'I think she’s surviving.' However, Cross also said Palin’s answers lacked substance.'There’s a lot of babble speak here as opposed to answers,' Cross said."

Rovito also writes, "Many Mat-Su Valley locals have complained recently that the campaign has shielded Palin and coached her to act differently than Alaskans know her to be. Many have blamed the McCain camp for blunders during Palin’s interviews." For Rovito's story from the valley of the Matanuska and Susitna rivers, and comments from readers in other states, click here.

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