- (Photo: AP/Keith Srakocic)
One of the first times Sarah Palin was introduced to the nation as the newly selected vice presidential GOP running mate in 2008 occurred during an interview with Katie Couric. And it didn't go well. Now Palin is going head to head with Couric as competing hosts of morning news shows on Tuesday.
Known for her liberal politics and in-your-face interviewing style, Couric gained her reputation as a co-host on NBC's "Today" show for years. She went on to anchor the CBS Evening News but low ratings eventually forced her to give up that chair. Now an ABC analyst, Couric will be subbing this week for the show's regular co-host, Robin Roberts.
Palin, who flirted with a run in this year's GOP presidential primary, is a Fox News Contributor and sought after pundit who still maintains a loyal following among conservatives. But Palin's critics consider her a "lightweight" and someone who is not intellectually able to go head-to-head with the so-called Washington elite.
During Palin's interview with Couric in 2008, she was asked what newspapers she regularly read. Struggling to name a single paper, Palin replied say, "all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years."
"Today" co-host Matt Lauer caught up with Palin as she was traveling to New York and jokingly asked her what she was doing to get ready for Tuesday's show. "What are your doing to prepare – are you reading some newspapers?" joked Lauer.
When introduced by Lauer on Tuesday morning the camera panned to Palin who was sitting with a stack of newspapers surrounding her.
But not only were politicos looking forward to the showdown, longtime television executives were also anticipating the ratings battle between the two women.
"There aren't too many names that will move the needle against such strong competition," CNN executive producer and former "Today" show producer Jonathan Wald told Politico. "Palin is the go-to blunt-force opposition. She's the popular person to put on when you need a big booking to combat a big booking."
More than just a battle of two strong-willed women, the stakes are high for both the major networks that are battling to keep ratings high and viewers engaged.
NBC's "Today" show has topped the morning show ratings for years, but now ABC's "Good Morning America" is poised to knock NBC off its perch for the first time in 16 years. Adding Palin to this week's morning lineup was most likely a direct response to Couric's ABC appearance.
During an interview with Palin in the first 15 minutes of Tuesday's broadcast, Lauer asked Palin that if GOP front-runner Mitt Romney were to secure the nomination would she advise him to pick a VP with national experience.
"It doesn't matter if that person has national experience or not, they're going to get clobbered by a liberal mainstream media," Palin lamented to Lauer.
Lauer, seeming unfazed by Palin's response, had a little fun with Palin. "Just for the record, Sarah Palin is now part of the mainstream media – at least for the next hour or so."