Another debate, another chance for John McCain to a) turn things around to win the presidential election or b) turn things around so, should he lose, people don't view him forever as the conflicted and grouchy person the 2008 race turned him into.

As for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the new conservative hero who is headed to the vice presidency or a future in national politics, she could learn a few lessons from the race. For starters, she might try a bit harder to at least appear to be telling the truth. The Troopergate report found she abused power by placing impermissible pressure on subordinates, though in her defense it also found that firing Walt Monegan was legally within her rights and authority as governor.

Why did she have to then come out to say she had been cleared of any "unlawful or unethical activity," when the opposite is true? Yes, she violated Alaska's ethics code and abused power. No, she shouldn't make it worse by smiling her way through these "Thanks but no thanks" descriptions of her past, making statements about how the report "vindicates" her. The Anchorage Daily News described the reaction yesterday as "an embarrassment to Alaskans and the nation ... Her response is either astoundingly ignorant or downright Orwellian."

The Troopergate story was drowned out by the comments made by Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia, about his concern that the McCain-Palin rallies were sowing seeds of division and hatred that reminded him of George Wallace.

I gather, however, that that wasn't the focus in Alaska this weekend. The Anchorage Daily News also reported that "The state Personnel Board investigation of Gov. Sarah Palin's firing of Walt Monegan has broadened to include other ethics complaints against the governor and examination of actions by other state employees, according to the independent counsel handling the case." (Read it here.)

If Palin doesn't make it to the White House, she may have some work to do when she settles back into the governor's mansion.

IS IT TOO LATE FOR MCCAIN TO TURN THINGS AROUND? Ask A.B. returns Monday, Oct. 20. Please join my weekly video Q & A by sending your questions and comments to Thank you.