My focus is on ’10, Palin tells Oprah

In an interview taped last week but broadcast on Monday, Palin said she planned to have a voice during next year’s mid-term elections, but demurred when pressed on whether she would challenge President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama to join NBA Africa as strategic partner Obama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th A path to climate, economic and environmental justice is finally on the horizon MORE in 2012.


Palin told Winfrey, one of Obama’s most prominent supporters, that she is “concentrating on 2010.”

Her initial response to Winfrey’s question about taking on Obama was that her infant son Trig will be “heading into kindergarten in 2012.”

“I’m looking forward to that,” she said.

She later told Winfrey that the 2012 election is “not on my radar screen right now.”

Palin appeared on the Winfrey show to tout her book, Going Rogue: An American Life, which is set to be released on Tuesday. Her book tour will take her to a number of states that will be key during the Republican nominating process, including a stop in the first-in-the-nation caucus state of Iowa.

Palin discussed a wide range of issues with Winfrey, from her treatment during the campaign to her much-discussed and expensive wardrobe to the father of her grandson, Levi Johnston.

Palin repeatedly criticized what she said is a “double-standard” for how the media portrayed her, taking specific aim at CBS’s Katie Couric, whom Palin called “the perky one.”

Palin’s rocky roll-out as Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' Democrats seek to counter GOP attacks on gas prices Biden nominates Jeff Flake as ambassador to Turkey MORE’s (R-Ariz.) vice presidential candidate was all but torpedoed by her interview with Couric, in which Palin appeared unable to name any specific newspapers, magazines or books she reads to stay informed.

Palin told Winfrey that she did not feel like answering that question because she thought Couric was being “badgering” and unprofessional.

“I was already so annoyed, and it was very unprofessional of me to wear that annoyance on my sleeve,” Palin said.

She also blamed the editing of the interview, saying that she did not blame the voters who watched the final interview “for thinking I was not qualified, that I was ill-prepared.”

Palin said she is “disappointed” that Johnston, who got engaged to her daughter Bristol during the campaign after it was revealed that Bristol was pregnant, is “aspiring [to] porn.”

Johnston broke off his engagement with Bristol Palin, and he recently did a photo-shoot with Playgirl magazine in addition to a full-on media blitz of his own that has been intensely critical of Palin.

“It’s kind of heartbreaking,” Palin said.

The former governor also said she resented campaign operatives who kept her boxed in and chastised her for speaking “candidly” with reporters.

Palin recalled one episode where she lamented publicly that the McCain campaign was pulling out of Michigan. Palin said she was told by campaign operatives that she should not have made the remarks. She said she replied, “I didn’t know we pulled out of Michigan.”

As for the wardrobe issues that have come to haunt Palin since the election, she insisted that the Republican National Committee (RNC) picked out her clothes, and that she never thought “it was going to be a big controversy.”

“I don’t like to shop,” Palin said.

Palin acknowledged that the loss in 2008 was a disappointment, and she has been highly critical of McCain aides she said kept her shackled to the detriment of the campaign.


“You don’t run a race to lose,” Palin said.

Though two polls released Monday showed an overwhelming number of voters do not want Palin to become president, she remains a powerful figure among conservative figures who is able to get attention and draw a crowd.

She has stayed visible in national politics, recently contributing to the intense split among Republicans in the New York 23rd congressional district special election. Palin backed the conservative candidate over the candidate endorsed by the GOP. A Democrat ended up winning the seat.

New polls — one from ABC and The Washington Post and another from CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation — showed Palin remains popular among Americans, but is a divisive figure overall.

The Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that 60 percent of Americans don’t think Palin is qualified to be president. Fifty-two percent of those polled held an unfavorable opinion of her. The same poll, however, shows that 76 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Palin.

The CNN/ORC poll shows that only 28 percent of Americans think Palin is qualified to be president, while 70 percent think she is not qualified. By contrast, 47 percent of Americans think former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is qualified, and 43 percent said the same thing about former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Wednesday was happy to take shots at Palin and fan the flames of discord between the former vice presidential candidate and former McCain aides, including some who have disputed accounts of the campaign in Palin’s book as “fiction.”

“Sarah Palin’s desire to settle old scores, while doing little to add to her credibility, does generously add to the ongoing soap opera that is the Republican Party,” DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said. “We wish her the best of luck on her tour.”

Sevugan and the DNC joked that “2012,” the disaster movie that premiered last weekend, could also be used to describe the GOP if Palin is viewed as the head of the party.