CHICAGO – Sarah Palin tells TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey that she doesn’t have her sights set on the 2012 presidency.
“I’m concentrating on 2010 and making sure that we have issues to tackle,” Palin said in the interview taped last week and broadcast on Monday’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” “I don’t know what I’m going to be doing in 2012. [Running for president is] not on my radar screen right now.”
Palin spoke to Winfrey as she began rolling out her 413-page memoir, “Going Rogue,” which will be released Tuesday. She begins a book tour Wednesday in Grand Rapids, Mich.
Winfrey opened by asking Palin if she felt snubbed at not getting an invitation to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” last year. Winfrey said she didn’t have any candidates on her Chicago-based show during the campaign because of her support of President Barack Obama.
Palin said she didn’t feel snubbed and told Winfrey, “No offense to you, but it wasn’t the center of my universe.”
The former vice presidential candidate also discussed her experiences on the campaign trail and said she was confident in her abilities when she was asked to run with Sen. John McCain. When chosen, she said, “I felt like, wow, John McCain is a maverick. He’s all about empowering women. He is all about equality. He’s about the everyday working class individual who can succeed in this country and he chose someone who reflects that.”
At the time, she thought that the only skeleton in her closet was the fact that she was received a D in college.
“I thought that was going to be the extent of the controversy,” she said, laughing.
Palin said that she doesn’t blame herself for the Republicans’ election loss. “The reason we lost is because the economy tanked,” she said. “People were sincerely looking for change … Our ticket was perceived as status quo.”
Opening up about family
Palin talked about her family, telling Winfrey that the McCain campaign didn’t let her address the pregnancy of her teenage daughter, Bristol, the way that she wanted.
“This is not to be glamorized,” she said. “This is not to be emulated … I didn’t want that message getting out there that we were giddy happy to become grandparents.”
She added that her daughter called her in tears and was “devastated” and “embarrassed” when her pregnancy became public.
The former Alaska governor was asked about being pregnant with her son Trig, who has Down’s Syndrome. She said that she could understand why a woman would contemplate abortion.
“It was easy to understand why a woman would feel that it’s easier to just do away with some less than ideal circumstance, to do away with the problem,” she said.
But the situation eventually stengthened her pro-life stance. “What I have been given is a gift,” she said.
Palin did not respond to the criticism she’s received from Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson, and denied rumors that Johnston and her daughter used to live together. She said it’s “a bit heartbreaking” to see the road that he has taken, saying that it is “not a healthy place to be,” referring to his plan to appear in Playgirl magazine.
“We don’t want to mess up the gig he’s doing: aspiring porn star,” Palin cracked. “I also saw I didn’t go to hockey games. There are so many untruths.”
The new memoir doesn’t contain any references to Johnston, who’s sparred with his former mother-in-law-to-be.
The former Alaska governor and former Republican vice presidential candidate told Winfrey that Johnston has been busy with media tours and hasn’t seen his son “for a while.”
Palin said she continues “to hope for the best and to pray for Levi” and that “this can all work out for good.”
The infamous interview
When asked about her infamous interview with Katie Couric, Palin said that she was “annoyed” while speaking to Couric and said the way the interview was edited was partially to blame for how she was portrayed.
“I don’t blame people for thinking I was not qualified,” she said. “Her agenda was not neccessarily to show me in the best light.”
She added that the McCain campaign gave her the green light to continue with the multi-part interview, even though she didn’t feel she had done well.
“The campaign said, ‘Right on, good!’ … if they thought it was a good interview, I don’t know what a bad interview was.”
Winfrey ended by asking Palin if she planned to host her own talk show. “Oprah, you are the queen of talk shows,” she responded. “There’s nothing to worry about.”