A new CNN poll says that 71 percent of Americans do not believe Sarah Palin is qualified to be president. Just 29 percent say she is qualified. Even among Republicans, 47 percent do not think Gov. Palin should be president.
Certainly the media is driving that opinion:
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KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS: As Politico reported, there's growing concern among some GOP leaders that controversial commentators and far-right conservatives have hijacked the message. People like Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin appeal to the base, and you certainly need that base to win elections. But in an age when 42 percent of Americans call themselves independents, you can't win with just the base either.
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"Talking Points" believes this is a fascinating story. There is no question that Mrs. Palin is a star, and her upcoming book will be a No. 1 best-seller.
To promote the book, she is going on "Oprah" and other high-profile programs, and it is here where the governor has a huge opportunity. If Sarah Palin comes across as a problem solver, a sincere conservative and a person who looks out for the folks, she can begin to turn the credibility issue around.
There is no question that Mrs. Palin did a good job running the state of Alaska. We've examined her record up there and found she lowered taxes, challenged the good ol' boy network and generally ran the state responsibly. So the woman does have political skills.
The problem is she did not come across well with Ms. Couric and with ABC News anchor Charles Gibson. She looked tentative and did not assert herself in those interviews. So now she has a second chance.
I am hoping Gov. Palin will come on "The Factor." We will put her in a position of directly addressing you. No sleight of hand. No gotcha agenda.
But even if she doesn't appear here, the governor must put forth her philosophy in vivid terms and be able to come up with solutions to complicated problems. I hope she does because this country needs charismatic politicians and new voices. Mrs. Palin is a working mother, a regular person and someone who has tremendous potential.
This is not a party play. I couldn't care less about the GOP. We are not in the ideological business on "The Factor." But I am concerned because America needs more leadership. There are simply not enough people looking out for the folks.
Sarah Palin has captured America's attention. It will be interesting to see if she can turn the credibility factor around.
And that's "The Memo."
Pinheads & Patriots
I want to thank the good folks at the Polka Dot Penguin Pottery studio in Rye, New York, for giving us this lovely ceramic "Factor" pumpkin to remind us that Halloween is on Saturday night. Steven Dana, the owner of the studio made this. He and all the people at Polka Dot Penguin Pottery are patriots.
On the pinhead front, CNN commentator Lou Dobbs is having a very tough time with security:
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LOU DOBBS, CNN ANCHOR: Three weeks ago this morning, a shot was fired at my house where I live. This shot was fired with my wife not 15 feet away. And we've had threatening phone calls that I decided not to report, because I get threatening phone calls. Now it's become part of a way of life: the anger, the hate, the vitriol. But it's taken a different tone, where they've threatened my wife. They've now fired a shot at my house and — while my wife was standing next to the car. It's become something else.
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This is a very serious matter. Many of us who do commentary have been threatened, and it's devastating to the families involved. These are pinheads who will hurt people with whom they disagree. It's disgraceful, and it's illegal, and it ought to stop.