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If Sarah Palin Held a Press Conference, and Christopher Hitchens Didn't Notice, Did It Really Happen?

9:19 PM, Oct 20, 2008 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Christopher Hitchens has a piece up at Slate titled: "Speak Up! Stop covering Palin until she gives a press conference."

Hitchens writes that he would like to query the Alaska governor about her views on teaching creationism in school. "There are several other questions I would like to ask her, as, no doubt, would you," he writes. "Lots of luck with that, because it seems that the Grand Old Party intends to go all the way to Election Day without exposing the No. 2 person on its ticket-the person who would become chief executive if President John McCain succumbed to illness-to a press conference."

Tiny problem: Contrary to the impression one might get from watching Palin's SNL skit, the Republican VP nominee held her first full-scale on-camera press conference on October 17. Per CBS News:

"For the first time since becoming a candidate for the vice presidency in late August, Sarah Palin held an on-camera press conference with her full travelling press corps on the short flight from Ohio to Indiana this afternoon."

Now, according to CBS, Palin fielded only 13 questions in this press conference that lasted all of 7 minutes, so one might say this doesn't count as a true press conference. To which I'd respond: "Guys, I mean come on. I just answered like eight questions."

Oh, and I'd also add this CBS News report from today:

In the past two days alone, Palin has answered questions from her national press corps on three separate occasions. On Saturday, she held another plane availability, and on Sunday, she offered an impromptu press conference on the tarmac upon landing in Colorado Springs. A few minutes later, she answered even more questions from reporters during an off-the-record stop at a local ice cream shop.

By contrast, Biden hasn't held a press conference in more than a month, and Obama hasn't taken questions from his full traveling press corps since the end of September. John McCain-who spent most of the primary season holding what seemed like one, never-ending media availability-hasn't done one since Sept. 23.

Though she often turns the "mainstream media" into a punching bag on the stump, Palin clearly enjoys interacting with reporters. She seems to relish the opportunity to demonstrate that her breadth of knowledge far exceeds what she offered to CBS News' Katie Couric in a series of interviews that were marked by vague, often convoluted answers to straightforward questions.

After her plane [landed] in Colorado Springs, Palin answered no less than 14 questions from the media. It took traveling press secretary Tracey Schmitt three attempts finally to get the governor to move along.

And the New York Times has even more on Palin's latest attempts "to wriggle free of her handlers."

On Sunday night, she twice took questions from reporters, the first time on an airport tarmac without her press staff's knowledge.

After landing in Colorado Springs late Sunday, Ms. Palin marched over to a local television crew and began answering questions on camera, sending the traveling press corps sprinting in pursuit, and her press staff scrambling. ...

A reporter who transcribed her comments for a pool report later Sunday evening sounded his approval. "In her continuing evolution from the least accessible to the most accessible of the four candidates, Palin took questions from your pooler at the Coldstone Creamery in Colorado Springs."

(Hat tip: Tom Maguire)