Hasn't Palin nationalized the Dr. Laura story and put GOP candidates in awkward position?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

With her belated tweets of support for Laura Schlessinger, who announced she was quitting her radio job after becoming the center of a media firestorm that followed her racially charged rant last week, hasn't Sarah Palin put Republican candidates in an awkward position of now having to comment on the talk show host's bigoted comments?

And hasn't Palin now 'nationalized' the Dr. Laura story, and in the process handed Democrats a weapon to use against their opponents?

So far I haven't seen any political coverage making those points, but those were the exact political points pundits and reporters rushed to make after Obama weighed into the controversy surrounding the proposed Islamic Center in downtown NYC. The press was quite clear: By commenting on the issue, the president had (clumsily) opened the door to allow Republicans to demand candidates weigh in on the issue.

The press was also quite clear that, by expressing an opinion, Obama had nationalized the story.

Well, doesn't the same standard hold true for Palin and the Dr. Laura story? I realize Palin's not the president, but she's certainly the highest profile Republican in the country and has been crowned the unofficial leader of the Tea Party movement. And in the past, whenever she's commented on issues the press has often moved those issues to the front of the newsroom line.

So why not the Dr. Laura story? Why don't reporters and pundits think that GOP candidates, and specifically candidates Palin has personally endorsed, will have to comment on whether it was wise for Dr. Laura to use the "n"-word nearly a dozen times on the radio during a racially charged rant, and whether it was wise for her to lectures a black caller about having a chip on her shoulder and marrying outside of her race.

Palin has now staked her reputation on defending Dr. Laura and by extension she has decided to nationalize the talk show host's race-baiting harangue. Why doesn't the press think that matters?

As for Fox News, where Palin collects a paycheck, I assume they will press her next time she's on about her defense of Dr. Laura and clarify whether Palin's support for the radio show host's race baiting also speaks for the network.

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