Todd Palin Speaks!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 3 2010 10:34 AM

Todd Palin Speaks!

The Palin family's week of wrestling with the media -- I think the peak of it was Palin's claim, to a receptive Sean Hannity, that the Vanity Fair reporter who profiled her was "impotent" and "limp" -- ends with a cozy interview of Todd by Robert Stacy McCain. The conditions:

Getting an interview with Sarah Palin is difficult.Getting an interview with Todd is next to impossible, and I wouldnever have gotten this far if mutual friends -- including Anchorageconservative talk-radio legend Eddie Burke -- hadn't vouched for mybona fides. So most of the conversation over the next two hours isoff-the-record, or at least on background. To breach that agreementwould be to put myself into that category of reporters whom SarahPalin recently described to Sean Hannity as " impotent,limp and gutless."

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I think we're four or five minutes away from Gawker or someone else ringing alarm bells about this interview. McCain, whom I consider a friend, is also a friend and occasional collaborator with Lynn Vincent, the woman who ghosted Palin's "Going Rogue." That fact caused a mini-scandal in 2009 because McCain is -- how do I put this? -- not politically correct when he discusses race and class issues. And while he's allowed into the Palin's home and paints an incredibly sympathetic picture of the family (" Todd can talk Alaska politics and energy issueswith such a thorough mastery of details that he could easily bemistaken for a think-tank analyst"), he's allowed to use only fractions of the interview. The first long sit-down that Todd has given in a long time is locked down like the lab in The Andromeda Strain .

The buried lede: When McCain asks Todd if Palin has political ambitions after the midterms, he says "We'll see."

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.