What's been interesting - in a watching-from-behind-your-hands sort of way, if you're a conservative who wishes her well - about Palin's interviews with Charlie Gibson and especially Katie Couric is the way they've provided examples of almost every single way that an inexperienced politician can struggle in the media spotlight. Most of the attention has focused, justly, on Palin's flat-out incoherent answers to some of Couric's questions, and her difficulties deflecting obvious "gotcha" situations (Gibson on the Bush Doctrine, Couric asking what newspapers she reads and asking her to name non-Roe Supreme Court decisions with which she disagrees, etc.). But there are other, more subtle dynamics at work as well. In the Gibson interview, as a number of people pointed out, there was her tendency to answer directly in situations where a more practiced pol would obfuscate a bit. (Her response on whether bringing Georgia into NATO would require going to war with Russia, for instance, was a classic case of giving a straightforward answer where a little "the goal is to make sure it wouldn't come to that, Charlie" would have gone a long way - even if her straightforwardness was a refreshing reminder of why putting Georgia into NATO might not be such a hot idea.) And in both interviews, there was an inability to make the talking points she's obviously been forced to memorize in a hurry sound smooth and spontaneous, rather than rote and overrehearsed - or in the case of the whole "Russia is close to Alaska" fiasco (and whichever McCain aide is responsible for that piece of idiocy should never, ever work in politics again), to make deeply stupid talking points sound semi-plausible, rather than, well, deeply stupid.
But her struggles with Couric's questions about Roe and the right to privacy are perhaps the most telling - not just because of how Palin answered them, but because of how Biden answered a similar question. As Ramesh and Yuval point out, judged purely on substance, Biden's answer was much more of a hash than Palin's statement that she believes in a right to privacy but opposes Roe. (This is not, repeat not, an inconsistent position.) But Biden couched his answer in terms that made it sound like he possessed deep knowledge on the issue (as I'm sure he thinks he does), whereas Palin's response made it clear that she did not. And where media appearances are concerned, that makes an enormous difference.