Mark Penn, a top strategist to both Clintons, told CBSNews.com in answer to whether he thinks the media is being uniquely tough on Gov. Sarah Palin: "I think that the media is doing the kinds of stories on Palin that they're not doing on the other candidates."
Penn added, "And that's going to subject them to people concluding that they're giving her a tougher time. Now, the media defense would be, 'Yeah, we looked at these other candidates who have been in public life at an earlier time.'
"What happened here very clearly is that the controversy over Palin led to 37 million Americans tuning into a vice-presidential speech, something that is unprecedented, because they wanted to see for themselves. This is an election in which the voters are going to decide for themselves. The media has lost credibility with them."
As to what the strategist thinks about the extent of Palin's appeal to a lot of swing voters, Penn noted: "I think, at the end of the day, people do vote for the top of the ticket. The question is whether or not Palin has given people a better view of the top of the ticket and more and more confidence in terms of what he would fight for.
"I think she clearly has energized the Republican Party in a way that they were not energized and that party members were very worried that McCain was going to choose somebody who wouldn't have the more conservative values that the mainstream of the Republican Party has. Whether or not she's really going to play or is playing a big role with swing voters, that remains to be seen. I think that's a lot less clear."
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