What America has witnessed in the last 24 hours is a president of the United States who acted like a president of the United States, a Speaker of the House who acted like a Speaker of the House — and Sarah Palin, a pretender to the presidency who acted like a divisive, selfish, small-minded self-promoter.

This is not about blaming Palin for anything, or commenting about her bizarre and typically divisive use of the phrase "blood libel.” This is about pure presidential politics and political analysis.

President Obama handled this horrible tragedy like a president, a statesman and a healer. He sought to bring the nation together and to elevate the temper of our times. He sought to address the nation as a whole and soothe our spirits at a troubled time.

By contrast, Sarah Palin handled this horrible tragedy as being all about Sarah Palin. While the nation was mourning those who have left us, she was positioning herself as a victim and merchandising herself through yet another self-indulgent video. Instead of addressing the nation as a whole, Palin was addressing her base, as though the rest of the nation does not exist.

Many Republican strategists privately agree with my point today. Sarah Palin would be the weakest candidate the Republicans could field. Her negatives are so high she cannot be elected to the presidency, and this episode only cemented her status as the most widely disapproved potential Republican nominee.

Lest anyone think I am being partisan here, let me say that House Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerDems face hard choice for State of the Union response Even some conservatives seem open to return to earmarks Overnight Finance: Trump, lawmakers take key step to immigration deal | Trump urges Congress to bring back earmarks | Tax law poised to create windfall for states | Trump to attend Davos | Dimon walks back bitcoin criticism MORE (R-Ohio) has conducted himself with dignity and honor throughout the sad affair. Boehner conducted himself as the Speaker of the House — the entire House of Representatives. Every word Boehner spoke was addressed to the nation as a whole. For this I applaud him.

Regarding the politics of the presidency, Obama towered over Palin. Obama conducted himself like a true president. Palin acted like a nasty and small-minded pretender.