Sarah Palin continues to draw enthusiastic crowds, usually bigger than her running mate's, but there are new signs that her selection as the Republican vice presidential nominee is backfiring.
A New York Times/CBS News poll published today found that increasing numbers of voters have doubts about Palin's readiness; 59 percent of voters said she was not qualified to be vice president, and nearly a third said the candidates' VP picks would be a major factor in their vote.
And former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, whose endorsement John McCain has brandished to rebut Colin Powell's support of Barack Obama, strayed way off message.
In an interview Thursday with National Public Radio, Eagleburger was asked whether Palin could assume the presidency during a crisis.
"It is a very good question," he said before pausing and adding with a chuckle: "I'm being facetious here. Look, of course not."
"I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reigns of the presidency. I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it either. So the question, I think, is can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances if she were asked to become president, heaven forbid that that ever takes place?
"Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be, she will be [pause] adequate. I can't say that she would be a genius in the job. But I think she would be enough to get us through a four year... well I hope not... get us through whatever period of time was necessary. And I devoutly hope that it would never be tested."
UPDATE: On Fox News Channel today, Eagleburger tried to backtrack.
"I made a serious mistake yesterday," he said. "I was quoted correctly. I wasn’t thinking when I said it. In fact, I was discussing it -- foreign policy, and this was in that context. And I was just plain stupid. And if I have given the flimflam artist, Barack Obama, some success with this, I am deeply apologetic. I did not intend it."
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.