It’s open season on Sarah Palin.
TV commentators had a field day Tuesday riffing on Palin’s self-styled “One Nation” bus tour, in which she’s being trailed by dozens of reporters and camera crews all trying to find out if this Palin family “vacation” to some of America’s most historic sites means she’s running for president.
As usual with Palin, she won’t say. Instead, she’s blithely portraying this trip in a customized bus as just a family swing through the eastern United States, with stops at some of the nation’s most iconic sites, including George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate in Virginia, the National Archives in Washington (where she ogled the Constitution and Declaration of Independence), the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, and a pizza joint in New York, where she joined fellow maverick Donald Trump for a slice.
This bus is emblazoned with her giant signature, an image of the Preamble to the Constitution (with its famous words “We the People”), a map of the United States, and a portion of the stripes from the United States flag. And yet, Palin is trying to persuade everyone that this trip is not designed to drum up publicity for a possible presidential run.
Well, predictably, TV commentators Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert weren’t having any of it and they skewered Palin’s bus tour on their respective shows on Comedy Central Tuesday night.
On “The Daily Show,” Stewart even depicted Palin and her family as characters from “Scooby Doo,” traveling around solving mysteries. His commentary on Palin was packaged with a clever graphic displayed over his right shoulder that had a picture of Palin and the words “Driving Miss Crazy.”
Stewart took the news media to task for even bothering to ask Palin if she’s running for president. To him, the answer’s obvious. “Hello! Lamestream media! Why [do you think she’s running for president]? Because she’s driving her family around key primary states in a bus with her signature in roughly equal size to the Preamble to the Constitution? . . . Is that it?” Stewart asked incredulously.
Meanwhile, on “The Colbert Report,” Colbert joked that this whole bus trip is designed to raise money for Palin, whether she runs for president or not. “So, folks, go to Sarah Palin’s Web site, where you can help restore America,” he said, noting that her Web site SarahPac.com is calling for “The Fundamental Restoration of America.”
“And also, help restore Sarah Palin’s bank account,” Colbert said, “because the first thing that pops up is this ‘donate’ button!” (Watch the Colbert and Stewart segments here on IndieWire.com.)
However, Palin’s fundraising was no joke to MSNBC’s Martin Bashir, who bashed Palin on the NBC-owned news channel on Tuesday. He accused her of violating the rules for displaying and using the United States flag, saying she’s using it wrongly for “financial purposes.” (Watch the Bashir commentary here.)
“She drapes herself in the stars and stripes and makes millions of dollars in the process,” Bashir scolded. “This [bus trip] has nothing to do with the presidency and everything to do with filling her pockets!” he declared.
Palin’s tour continued on Wednesday with a stop at the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor.