At the end of her hour interview Monday with Sarah Palin, syndicated talk show host Oprah Winfrey called the former Republican vice presidential candidate's book a "fascinating read."
Still, I doubt that "Going Rogue: An American Life" will become a Winfrey Book Club Selection.
What was truly fascinating was watching Winfrey try to appeal to the conservative crowd by being so gentle with Palin.
Winfrey did call Palin on demeaning CBS anchor Katie Couric by referring to her as "the perky one" without naming her. Winfrey also questioned Palin's ability to take care of five children (including one with special needs) if she had become vice president.
But Winfrey never followed up on some questionable statements by the former candidate. For instance, Palin said she has an equal partnership with her husband Todd that includes parental responsibility. Sounds good. But she also said she doesn't see Todd for months at a time because his job requires him to be away from home, which presumably would make it hard to be an equal parent to the children.
Winfrey also didn't point out that the reason the media didn't feel that the pregnancy of her unwed teen-age daughter Bristol should be off-limits was because it ran counter to some conservative views about the need for sex education.
But Winfrey clearly wasn't playing journalist Monday as much as she was playing Palin's new best friend. And the strategy worked. Both women came off looking extremely likable and likely were able to win over some fans who previously wouldn't have given them the time of day.
While Palin's book is already on best seller lists, the real test of its value and her viability as a 2012 presidential candidate won't come until the inevitable books written by people involved in the campaign of her running mate, Sen. John McCain.
In other words, Palin got the first word in. But subsequent books by McCain staffers that will undoubtedly speak to her credibility and the assessments of her honesty, her family life and her intelligence really should be "fascinating reads."
-- Alan Pergament