Tags: Palin | Obama | stimulus

Palin Shuns Interviews to Focus on Alaska

By Ronald Kessler   |   Friday, 13 Feb 2009 03:27 PM

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has fielded requests for interviews from 500 news organizations, but you’re not likely to see her in the spotlight anytime soon.

Indeed, Palin won’t even be appearing at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which begins Feb. 26 in Washington.

As soon as Palin began running for vice president, critics in Alaska attacked her for allegedly not paying enough attention to state business.

“Of course, she paid attention to Alaska even while campaigning, but some people just won’t have it,” Bill McAllister, her communications director, tells Newsmax. “We’re constantly fighting that.”

Ethics complaints have been filed, and a record number of broad-based Freedom of Information requests have been made, McAllister says.

“In some cases, they want somebody’s entire e-mail account over a period of months,” McAllister says. “It’s unbelievable."

Although the public is entitled to file such requests, McAllister notes, to deal with the deluge, the state’s Department of Law has had to pull off attorneys working on issues such as those affecting the state’s production of oil and gas that are important to the public.

McAllister, a former reporter for KTUU-TV, Alaska’s top television station, says that, because he is a government employee, he cannot discuss or get involved with Palin’s political activities, such as speaking at CPAC.

“I can tell people that she’s not going,” he says. “It’s just a matter of fact in terms of what her schedule is. But she didn’t consult with me on that, appropriately so, because it’s not a government function.”

McAllister agrees that, “by default,” when it comes to national exposure, Palin is keeping a low profile.

“She’s focusing on her job as governor, and perhaps that has the effect of reducing what could be her national exposure,” he says. “We’ve got a legislative session going on with some weighty issues.”

When Palin attended the Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington Jan. 31, McAllister received calls asking for interviews from Chris Wallace of Fox News, George Stephanopoulos of ABC, John King of CNN, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, and producers of late-night shows.

Palin turned them down. Even on that Washington trip, Palin attended to state business, McAllister says.

“She met with members of the U.S. Senate on the stimulus package,” he says. “She met with her Washington staff. The Alfalfa dinner gave her the opportunity to speak with the president one-on-one. She was able to express her concerns about the stimulus package to a wide variety of people in both politics and the business community.”

An interview with Palin that appeared on YouTube was actually part of an Internet documentary meant to run at CPAC, McAllister says. John Ziegler, the producer of “How Obama Got Elected,” “told us he was doing a documentary that would premier at CPAC, and it was a critical look at the media’s role in 2008,” McAllister says. “So she agreed to be interviewed for that, not realizing that there would be an early release of her portion of the documentary.”

Another interview that appears in the March issue of Esquire was committed to before John McCain asked her to run with him on the Republican ticket. Recently, the magazine updated the article with a few follow-up questions, McAllister says.

Beyond that, Palin’s only recent national media appearance has been on Glenn Beck’s premier show on Fox News, McAllister says, pointing out that she did the show on Martin Luther King Day, a day before the Alaska legislative session started.

As for CPAC, McAllister says Palin never gave final confirmation that she would be speaking. Instead, she plans to provide a taped presentation.

Rush Limbaugh recently agreed to speak on the closing day, Feb. 28. Registration is up 40 percent over last year, when 7,000 people attended the conference at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

After a loss, “Conservatives are not prone to lie down but to reorganize, get ready for the next contest, and go forward,” Dave Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, which runs CPAC, tells Newsmax. “In the past, some of our most successful CPACs have been after we lost an election.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
e-mail. Go here now.

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