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CHARLIE AND SARAH….I see that the McCain campaign has decided that two weeks is enough time for Sarah Palin to become plausibly knowledgable enough about national affairs to face an actual reporter. It’s not official or anything — and presumably depends on the continuing good behavior of ABC News in the meantime — but AP is now reporting that an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson is scheduled for “later this week in Alaska.”

I expect the interview to go fine. After all, two weeks is a lot of briefing time and Palin is, by all accounts, both a quick study and a good politician who knows how to change the subject, run out the clock, and provide vague answers whenever necessary. She should be OK.

Unfortunately, part of the reason she’ll be OK is that I expect Gibson to screw the pooch. So here’s a tip: there are several questions that Palin is obviously going to be prepared for. “What makes you prepared to be vice president” tops the list, so don’t bother using up your time on that one. Ditto for questions about her daughter, her Christian faith, and moose hunting. Conversely, Troopergate, the Bridge to Nowhere, and earmarks are probably good subjects, but only if you really know your stuff. She’s not exactly going to be surprised by those topics either. And I’m sure you know this already, but idiotic gotcha questions (“Can you name of the president-for-life of Berserkistan?”) are also no-nos.

So: pick some serious topics. Pick some unexpected topics. Don’t be an nitwit but don’t go easy on her either. Mix it up a little. After all, this is probably your last chance to speak with her until after the election. You might as well make the most of it.

And now, back to the U.S. Open.

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