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Behind Closed Doors

She can see Russia from her home state, she says, and that is why she considers herself qualified in foreign policy. Perhaps that explains why Vice-Presidential hopefully, Sarah Palin, kicked the press out of her day of fast-food diplomacy in New York City. It’s likely that the charismatic, energetic headliner of the McCain-Palin tour feared that she would lose face the way President George W. Bush did when visiting President Hu Jintao of China in 2005 (photos below). Or worse, she could have vomited, as the elder Bush did when visiting Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at his home in 1992. On each of these unfortunate occasions the press was there to report and consequently humiliate. The New York Times put the below photographs on its front page the following day, and back in 1992 reported that Miyazawa “cradled [Bush’s] head for some minutes until Mr. Bush was strong enough to get up on his own.”

Last week, the line-up of Palin’s crash-course in foreign relations included individual meetings with President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger: all very newsworthy meetings, all also very accident-prone for Palin. As a result, the Straight Talk Express running mate was eager to usher out the press corps at each stop, giving them only enough time to snap a quick photo and overhear a phrase or two. Luckily, a New York Times reporter overheard a part of Palin’s discussion about Georgia with Kissinger, lending us insight into Palin’s readiness: “And you’ll give me more insight on that, also, huh? Good.” So with gems like this, why was Palin suddenly so media shy? Perhaps it was a selfless gesture. Perhaps she didn’t want to upstage Tina Fey’s performance on Saturday Night Live two weeks ago. It’s really time for Palin to start sharing the spotlight.

–Jamie Wong