John Feehery: Speaking Engagements


The Problem With Charlie

Posted on September 12, 2008



            I like Charlie Gibson.  I have met him a few times, and he is pretty genial guy in person.  His nightly news broadcast is the best of the bunch.  He is a pretty straight shooter, generally.


            But in his interview with Sarah Palin, he was overbearing, condescending, smug and uptight. 


His questions about Palin’s belief in God were downright offensive. 


            He asked about the “Bush Doctrine” as if we all know what the “Bush Doctrine” is.  Bush has a lot of doctrines.


            Charlie’s attitude towards Palin was easy to detect:  You don’t deserve to be Vice President and I am going to try to embarrass you with my superior questions that you will not be able to answer because I am so much smarter than you on so many issues.


            Gibson has a lot of pressure on him.  The rest of the media world would kill to be in his place.  His immediate bosses are so completely


 in the tank for Obama that Gibson had to play the tough guy just to keep his job.  And he must have wondered why the McCain campaign selected him to do this interview.  Do they think I am pushover?  Do they think I will be fair?  Do they think that I will be so happy to get this once in a lifetime interview that I will take it easy on them?  Ha!  I will show them.


            Well, Charlie showed them all right.  He showed the American people how the East Coast establishment views the credentials of the most popular governor in America.  He showed them how superior the establishment is to the hoi polloi.  He showed them how incapable anybody out there who doesn’t understand immediately what the Bush doctrine is to be President.


            I can’t imagine Gibson asking these types of condescending questions of Barack Obama, although he did ask him some tough ones during a debate with Hillary.


            Tough questions are good.  Tough questions asked with condescension and arrogance are not so good.


            The Obama campaign does not know how to handle the Palin phenomenon.  They have tried to belittle her experience.  They have tried to attack her family.  They have thrown the kitchen sink at her and nothing has stuck. 


            Like the media, they are “flummoxed” as the New York Times put it, about how to deal with the Alaskan barracuda. 


            I would counsel that they don’t take the Gibson approach.  Condescension, arrogance and smugness is no way for the Obama campaign to attract the voters they have lost to the Wonder from the Great North.