Erika Bolstad, who reports for the Daily News from McClatchy Newspapers' Washington bureau, spent Friday and Saturday following Gov. Sarah Palin in Pennsylvania, Florida and North Carolina as the campaign swung through those battleground states. She had a brief, five-minute interview with the governor just before she walked onstage for an event in Raleigh, N.C. There wasn't much time to get into substantive issues, but in the interview, Bolstad asked about Palin's transformation from governor to Republican vice presidential candidate as well as the telephone prank a French-Canadian radio duo played on her.
Palin on the biggest transformation she's undergone since becoming the vice presidential nominee:
"It's been the realization that there aren't enough hours in the day to get everything done around here, wanting to get out to more places, speak to more Americans, and hear more Americans."
"The coolest thing about this whole race, one of the coolest things, is the pro-Alaska message that people recognizing that Alaska has the resources to help secure our nation, and has the resources to get our economy back on the right track also. And you're going to see this at this rally, people waving their Alaska flags, their Alaska hats, they're just so pro-Alaska, that's a great part of all it."
On what has been challenging about entering the national spotlight:
"To be honest with you, it's having to develop a thick skin for my kids. That was a little bit unexpected, how brutal that was. The worst part has been the mischaracterization of my record. When so many things have been proven false, the allegations against me, based on my record. Things like I tried to censor books, there's a litany of things. That was frustrating."
On why she stumbled in some early interviews, including with Katie Couric of CBS, and why she didn't say she reads the Anchorage Daily News:
"There are so many things early on especially," Palin said, of some of her missteps, but "overall it's been nothing but positive. And I know it's been very good for Alaska, also, to have a base out there talking about how much Alaska has to offer and how uniquely situated Alaska is, how special it is, and again that's just been so received and appreciated by everybody, everywhere we go."
On how the French-Canadian prank callers got through to her:
"You know, we'll keep a sense of humor through all of this, just as we did with SNL, too," referring to actress Tina Fey's impersonation of her on NBC's Saturday Night Live. "You know, you've got to have some levity in all this."
On her appeal to Republican men:
"I hope the appeal is that they recognize that I'm an Alaskan woman who hunts and fishes and runs and has a great appreciation for hard work, blue-collar efforts that have built this great country. I think that is perhaps what I represent. That whole message resonates well with Republican men. But also Democrat men and women. I appreciate that they recognize what Alaska can produce."
On how she transformed as being a governor known for working with Democrats to being very partisan on the campaign trail:
"As John McCain, having been known as the maverick, being able to reach across the aisle, and work with both sides, and has taken on his whole party, we're a really good fit as a team because I've done the same thing. And our commitment is to getting rid of the obsessive partisanship in D.C. We both have a track record of being able to do that, me having appointed independents and Democrats and Republicans and to work for the people of Alaska, also. It is just time for that transformation of government, that partisanship that was getting in the way of progressing as a nation, and securing our land and winning the war, too, on the economic front. We're doing no one any good. I'm absolutely committed to that. And it's refreshing breath, the signs in the audience that say 'Democrat women for McCain,' and 'Democrats for Palin,' that's been confirmation, there is that acknowledgment."
By ERIKA BOLSTAD