Tables turn: Palin more accessible than Biden to media

Since Gov. Sarah Palin was announced as McCain’s vice presidential choice, she has taken criticism over how inaccessible she’s been to the media. As a slight turn of the tables now it seems the pendulum has swung the other way since Sen. Joe Biden, Obama’s VP choice, hasn’t been before the press in over a month.

In the same token, neither McCain nor Obama have been very accessible in the past month.

The report from CBS News:

(COLORADO SPRINGS) It was less than two weeks ago when Sarah Palin astonished her traveling press corps by lifting the curtain (literally) and journeying to the back of her campaign plane to answer reporters’ questions for the first time after 40 days on the campaign trail. But the candidate who has been criticized for having a bunker mentality when it came to the national media can now lay legitimate claim to being more accessible than either Joe Biden or Barack Obama.

In the past two days alone, Palin has answered questions from her national press corps on three separate occasions. On Saturday, she held another plane availability, and on Sunday, she offered an impromptu press conference on the tarmac upon landing in Colorado Springs. A few minutes later, she answered even more questions from reporters during an off-the-record stop at a local ice cream shop.

By contrast, Biden hasn’t held a press conference in more than a month, and Obama hasn’t taken questions from his full traveling press corps since the end of September. John McCain—who spent most of the primary season holding what seemed like one, never-ending media availability—hasn’t done one since Sept. 23.

Though she often turns the “mainstream media” into a punching bag on the stump, Palin clearly enjoys interacting with reporters. She seems to relish the opportunity to demonstrate that her breadth of knowledge far exceeds what she offered to CBS News’ Katie Couric in a series of interviews that were marked by vague, often convoluted answers to straightforward questions.

After her plane in Colorado Springs, Palin answered no less than 14 questions from the media. It took traveling press secretary Tracey Schmitt three attempts finally to get the governor to move along.

Clearly the McCain campaign has made a conscious effort to let Gov. Palin have some freedom as she interacts with the press. I’m betting the campaign decided that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain if Palin continues to answer questions and undecided voters may see that she is ready to do the job.

On the other side, clearly the Obama campaign has made a conscious effort to keep Sen. Biden on the script to minimize any minor gaffes in these remaining days.

Both campaigns are trying to avoid the land mines and weave their way through these remaining days attempting to score points while avoiding any unnecessary negative press coverage since every vote counts.