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First you wince. Or cringe. Maybe you’re embarrassed for her. Then you shake your head and wonder for the umpteeenth time WTH was John McCain thinking when he picked Sarah Palin to be his running mate. Finally, you snicker.

All that brought about by a brief exchange during Palin’s latest major interview — her third, if you count the infomerical masquerading as an interview with Murdoch’s Sean Hannity — this one, with Katie Couric. The topic was that slippery slope: foreign policy experience.  Here’s the transcript:

COURIC: You’ve cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?

PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land– boundary that we have with– Canada. It– it’s funny that a comment like that was– kind of made to– cari– I don’t know, you know? Reporters–

COURIC: Mock?

PALIN: Yeah, mocked, I guess that’s the word, yeah.

COURIC: Explain to me why that enhances your foreign policy credentials.

PALIN: Well, it certainly does because our– our next door neighbors are foreign countries. They’re in the state that I am the executive of. And there in Russia–

COURIC: Have you ever been involved with any negotiations, for example, with the Russians?

PALIN: We have trade missions back and forth. We– we do– it’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where– where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is– from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to– to our state.

If you’d like to watch it in all its stammering, deer moose-in-the-headlights glory,  the video was is here at CBS. Now, a “content unavailable” message comes up and will probably remain until after the segment airs on tonight’s Evening News.

When the McCain handlers announced the Couric interview, my first thought was puffball questions. Then I remembered Couric’s mastery on the Today show, her skill at interviewing celebrities and the instantly-famous. And that’s all Palin has shown herself to be. She’s demonstrated no depth,  no knowledge of anything beyond her fundamentalist, faith-healing church, her brazen ability to play fast and loose with the truth and her eager willingness to take handouts in the form of federal earmarks. She has also displayed her own talent for mocking, with her smarmy acceptance speech and dismissive comment about community organizers.

She is as shallow as a puddle in the Sahara.

Every state in the northern tier of the US, including mine, borders Canada. Some in the south border Mexico. Yep, our neighbors are foreign countries. She’s right about that.  So that gives millions of us foreign policy experience and frankly, by that ludicrous standard, I have more than she does.

Alaska’s Precious Snowflake might be able to see Russia, but I’ve been there. She refueled in Ireland. I lived there. My much-renewed passport is not newly-minted like hers.

Come to think of it, I can see Vermont from my favorite pick-your-own apple orchard. I can be a governor!

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