Campaign's Over, Palin's Still Talking

Alaska governor is talking up a storm now that the campaign is over.

Nov. 11, 2008 — -- It is almost as if she's been set free.

For a candidate who was so closely guarded from the press during the campaign, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is talking up a storm now.

Since Election Day, Palin has spoken to reporters eight times.

"I don't mind at all doing interviews," she told reporters.

The governor's home in Wasilla, Alaska, has been a flurry of media activity in the last few days as reporters and producers from Fox News, the Anchorage Daily News and NBC have crowded into the Palin family kitchen, where the governor has whipped up specialties like moose stew, moose dogs with cheese and halibut-salmon casserole.

Palin effortlessly mixed and stirred while talking politics.

In fact, she told Fox News' Greta van Susteren that she wishes her handlers would have let her do more interviews up front.

"I would have preferred more opportunity to speak to the media more often, because there were a lot of things that I think it could have, should have said that could have, would have helped John McCain," Palin said in the interview that aired Monday night.

One of the things Palin wishes that she had spoken up about sooner was the Internet rumor that she was not the mother of baby Trig and that perhaps Trig was her 17-year-old daughter Bristol's child.

"It started off with the rumors or speculation even in mainstream media that Trig wasn't actually my child, that Trig was somebody else's child and I faked a pregnancy," she told NBC's Matt Lauer on the "Today" show. "That was absolutely ridiculous and it took days for that false allegation to ever be corrected."

She also scoffed at rumors that Bristol, who is currently pregnant, was under political pressure to marry her 18-year-old boyfriend.

Palin, who will be a featured speaker Wednesday at the Republican governor's association annual meeting, also told Lauer she was initially surprised that the Obama-Biden ticket won by the margin it did last week, but she rejects the criticism that she was a drag on Arizona Sen. John McCain.

"I thought it would be closer," Palin said on NBC. "But then, taking a step back and being able to consider why it was that the margin was as great as it was, it makes sense. We didn't get the Hispanic vote, and that was very significant. And when you consider that we were outspent so tremendously, it makes sense there, also, that perhaps the margin was going to be larger than we anticipated."

Africa, NAFTA and $150,000 Worth of Clothes

"And then just that anti-incumbency sentiment really that spread across the land and our ticket representing the incumbency, it's really not so much a surprise, after all, that the margin was as great as it was," she said.

In every interview that's aired recently, Palin has defended herself against accusations from anonymous McCain aides -- aides she has called cowards and "jerks."

She told Fox the notion that she did not know Africa is a continent was simply wrong.

"Never ever did I talk about 'well, gee, is it a country or a continent? I just don't know about this issue.' So I don't know how they took our one discussion on Africa and turned that into what they turned it into," Palin said.

Aides have told ABC News that Palin simply misspoke once during debate prep and accidentally used the term "country" instead of "continent" when referring to Africa.

Palin aides also back up her story that she was seeking clarification about the North American Free Trade Agreement during debate prep, but knew the members of that pact are the United States, Canada and Mexico.

"There was never a question about, 'well, who are the participants in NAFTA?'" Palin told Fox News.

And then there are the clothes.

Palin told NBC she spent much of last weekend sorting through boxes and boxes of campaign materials and clothing, trying to sort out which items belonged to her and which were the property of the Republican National Committee.

The RNC reported spending $150,000 on clothing and accessories for the Palin family.

There have been reports that the RNC might send lawyers to Alaska to try to clarify what the money was spent on, but Palin says she is not expecting any RNC visitors, unless they are coming unannounced.

Palin says she's never set foot in a Neiman Marcus or Saks store. She says the only thing she ever asked for was a diet Dr. Pepper. Her longtime aide told ABC News she might have also asked for coats when the weather got colder and a tube of toothpaste at one time.

She told van Susteren and Lauer that the clothing was purchased by stylists hired by the RNC. She says she and her family arrived at the convention in Minneapolis, Minn., and were told the stylist would outfit them.

Even 7-Year-Old Piper Found Campaigning Hard

"I was kind of going with the flow," Palin told Fox News. "'OK. That's the way they do this. That's good.' Wearing the clothes during that time."

She says she never intended to keep the clothing.

Palin also believes the price tag is way off.

"There's no way it could have been $150,000 worth of clothes though, not unless any jacket and pair of shoes was $10,000 to $20,000. I don't know how it added up," she said on Fox.

For the first time, Todd Palin -- the "first dude" of Alaska -- also answered questions about being put through the media grinder.

He indicated on NBC that it was difficult to keep up with the fast pace of today's media and correct the record quickly.

"Once there was a headline and two or three days later when you try to correct it, the story's already out," Todd Palin said.

But this is also a family clearly used to the pressures of public life.

"We've been in this long enough to understand it's just part of the business," Todd Palin said.

Seven-year-old Piper Palin said campaigning was hard. She missed a lot of school and is struggling a bit to catch up now. But when her mother asked her on NBC, "Would you want to do it again, sister?" Piper said, "Yeah."

And that is a very real possibility.

In recent days, Palin has done nothing to damp down speculation that she might make another run for national office -- perhaps in 2012, perhaps even sooner for a U.S. Senate seat, should Sen. Ted Stevens resign.

Palin told van Susteren she is putting matters in God's hands.

Palin Regrets Not Being Able to Speak on Election Night

"If there is an open door for me somewhere, this is what I always pray, don't let me miss the open door," Palin said.

"If there is an open door in '12 or four years later and it's something that's going to be good for my family for my state for my nation, an opportunity for me, then I'll plow through that door but I can't predict what's going to happen."

Palin told NBC she was disappointed that she was not allowed to speak on election night in Phoenix. She and a team of speechwriters had prepared remarks for her to deliver, but at the last minute McCain aides decided it would not be in keeping with tradition for the vice presidential candidate to speak before the candidate's concession speech.

"I thought even if it was unprecedented, so what. Geez, let's do something a bit out of the box there. But those were the type of shots that were called that I didn't have control over," Palin told Lauer.

She concedes that she may have gone a bit "rogue" at times during the campaign.

"I believed in going off script once in while in one of the rallies in order to really reiterate perhaps something that I believe about John McCain. Maybe it wasn't scripted, but so what?" Palin told van Susteren.

Palin told Lauer she continues to keep in touch with McCain nearly every day and they have a "great relationship."

"Had from day one. Had the first time that I met him, last year, he and his wife. I just have been great admirers of them, of their family, of all that Sen. McCain has accomplished. Never once was there any inkling of tension between the two of us," she said.