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‘Entertainment Tonight’ is on the Palin Plane? « The Washington Independent

This weekend, the news was all Palin, all the time. Following Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s lackluster interviews with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, “Saturday Night Live” kicked off its new season with the return of Palin look-alike Tina Fey in a dead-on send-up of the GOP vice presidential nominee — which my colleague Ari Melber covers here.

On the Sunday morning talk shows, Obama surrogates came out swinging against the Palin. But the real news came from a pair of articles in The Washington Post and The New York Times.

While the McCain campaign points to Palin’s six-year tenure as Wasilla mayor to demonstrate she has the executive experience to run the White House, if need be, The Post took the magnifying glass to the Wasilla mayor’s job description. The Post found that many of the traditional responsibilities of a small town mayor were managed by state and regional government, including: the fire department, schools, social services and environmental regulation.

According to the article, Palin did manage the town’s three-year-old (at the time she took office) police department, the public works department, parks and recreation department, a planning office, the library and a museum. However, Palin created a new staff position to assist with many of these responsibilities.

Palin limited her duties further by hiring a deputy administrator to handle much of the town’s day-to-day management. Her top achievement as mayor was the construction of an ice rink, a project that landed in the courts and cost the city more than expected.

Arriving in office, Palin herself played down the demands of the job in response to residents who worried that her move to oust veteran officials would leave the town in the lurch. “It’s not rocket science,” Palin said, according to the town newspaper, the Frontiersman. “It’s $6 million and 53 employees.”

The New York Times ran an [eye-popping 3,000-word front page bombshell-fest](ASILLA, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin lives by the maxim that all politics is local, not to mention personal.) characterizing Palin’s administrations as mayor and governor as Bush-esque bastions of secrecy and blatant cronyism, not to mention vindictiveness against personal and political foes. If you haven’t yet read it, I urge you to take a look.

Of course, none of this is too surprising to those of us here at TWI, as our own Laura McGann has been way out in front on Palin’s nepotism and what appear to be borderline-authoritarian tendencies since the days immediately following her selection as Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

What did surprise me, however, was this little nugget buried in a post in The Times’ The Caucus blog, about Palin’s reaction to Fey’s SNL spoof — which she apparently watched aboard her campaign plane.

At one point, her youngest daughter, Piper, ventured to the back with a campaign adviser, but Ms. Palin stayed put, leaving one television crew from “Entertainment Tonight” capturing an image of the plane’s curtain, then whispering and motioning to its viewers that the candidate was apparently just a few rows up, just past that curtain, up that way.

“Entertainment Tonight” aboard the Palin plane?!?

The McCain campaign continues to hammer Obama for being “the world’s biggest celebrity,” but I’ve yet to come across any reports that ET is following the Democratic presidential nominee around.

Just to make sure, I put in a call to the Obama press office to confirm, and I will update when I hear back.

Meanwhile, with McCain continuing to ride Palin’s celebrity coattails, that line of attack looks likely to lose some of its punch.

UPDATE: The Obama campaign informed me that the Illinois senator was, in fact, interviewed by Entertainment Tonight in February — so it does appear that Palin has achieved a similar level of political/pop culture stardom.

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