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Commentary: Time for Palin to answer tough questions

  • Story Highlights
  • Roland Martin: Gov. Palin talks tough on the campaign trail
  • Martin: Palin has ducked questions about many difficult issues
  • Palin has given only a limited number of interviews, Martin says
  • Palin hasn't been forthcoming on the Alaska ethics investigation, he says
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By Roland Martin
CNN Contributor
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Editor's note: Join Roland S. Martin for his weekly sound-off segment on CNN.com Live at 11:10 a.m. ET Thursday. If you're passionate about politics, he wants to hear from you. A nationally syndicated columnist and Chicago-based radio host, Martin has said he will vote for Barack Obama in November. He is the author of "Listening to the Spirit Within: 50 Perspectives on Faith" and "Speak, Brother! A Black Man's View of America." Visit his Web site for more information.

Roland Martin says Gov. Sarah Palin talks tough but ducks a lot of difficult questions.

Roland Martin says Gov. Sarah Palin talks tough but ducks a lot of difficult questions.

(CNN) -- Do you know what was so great about Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan? They were three of the biggest trash talkers in the history of the NBA, but they had the game to back it up.

Somebody should tell that to Gov. Sarah Palin.

Sen. John McCain's vice presidential running mate has been running around the country, firing up her -- yes, her, and not necessarily McCain's -- loyal supporters by blasting Sen. Barack Obama for "palling around with terrorists" and demanding that the American people know exactly when he learned of the past of 1960s radical William Ayers.

She has stoked the crowds by saying, "This is not a man who sees America the way that you and I see America." We all know what that is designed to do: Portray Obama as a foreigner who isn't as American as she. Or you. Or Joe Six-pack, the hockey mom, soccer mom, Wal-Mart mom, NASCAR dad and the other coded words she uses regularly.

But what is truly pathetic is that Palin talks tough, but is really scared of facing her own issues.

Since she is good at proclaiming that the American people need to know who Barack Obama is -- an attempt to paint him as a shady figure who might occupy the White House -- the American people deserve to hear Palin answer if her husband, Todd, a former member of the Alaska Independence Party, agreed with its founder, who wanted to secede from the union.

Is there anything more anti-American than wanting to sever ties with the country? Send Roland Martin your questions and listen to his program on CNNRadio and CNN.com Live, Thursday at noon ET.

It's critical that Palin answer questions about whether she disagrees with John McCain's criticism of the Bush administration's decision to remove North Korea from the terrorist nation list. She spoke in favor of it. McCain didn't. Are they on the same page or not?

The American people deserve to hear from Palin as to why she didn't say a word to rebuke the hateful, pathetic and degrading comments made at rallies featuring her, such as when someone in the crowd called Obama a terrorist, someone else shouted, "Off with his head" and others suggested he is a traitor.

Lastly, don't you think the self-described maverick needs to own up to what really happened with the firing of the commissioner in Alaska? She was declared by a special investigator to have been within her rights in firing the commissioner, but she was blasted for abuse of power and violating the state's ethics act.

So what did she say in a conference call with Alaska reporters -- who were not allowed by the McCain camp to ask follow-up questions? That she was cleared of all wrongdoing, legally and ethically.

That's right. She repeated over and over and over an absolute lie, and we are supposed to say, "Hey, it's all fine. She winks at us. We love her hockey mom schtick. Don't worry about that abuse of power thing."

Well, after having to deal with Vice President Dick Cheney being accused of beating the drum for war by berating and pushing our intelligence apparatus to match his political views on Iraq, don't you think we should really care about someone who has been accused in a report, authorized by Democrats and Republicans, of using their power and influence to get their way?

Sure, her supporters will say she's talked to the "media." She was questioned by Laura Ingraham, Rush Limbaugh and that self-described journalist -- yes, he really called himself that -- Fox's Sean Hannity.

Palin has done interviews with ABC's Charlie Gibson and CBS's Katie Couric, and local TV folks. But why is she so scared of NBC's Brian Williams? And why is she so fearful of CNN?

Does she somehow think that our big guns like Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper and Campbell Brown are just too tough in asking questions? My goodness, Tina Fey has actually done more interviews about playing Sarah Palin than Sarah Palin has done about being Sarah Palin!

Hmmm. McCain, Sen. Joe Biden, Barack and Michelle Obama, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Cindy McCain and even McCain's 95-year-old momma and Palin's daddy have all done interviews with CNN, sharing their thoughts on the campaign. But Palin? Not a whisper.

It's clear that Palin really isn't a true frontier woman. See, when you tote a gun, carry a big stick and spit fire, you aren't afraid to take on all comers.

So, Sarah, if you want to talk big on the campaign trail to those audiences that don't talk back, go right ahead. But if you truly are the maverick politician you say you are, come on and talk to us soft, coddled, elitist journalists. Surely we aren't as tough as the moose you like to take down with your Second Amendment-protected hunting rifle.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the writer.

All About Sarah PalinJohn McCainBarack Obama

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