Sarah Palin Slams President Obama, Critics in Fox News Debut

Sarah Palin made her debut as Fox News pundit Tuesday night.

ByABC News via logo
January 13, 2010, 6:40 AM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2010— -- Fresh from her book tour, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is trying out a new role as a Fox News pundit.

The newest employee of Fox News channel made her debut Tuesday night on the network's flagship show, "The O'Reilly Factor."

"I'm grinning today, and I'm so appreciative of the opportunity to get to work with you and the team members here at Fox News to provide the fair and the balanced reporting and analysis voters in this country deserve," Palin told host Bill O'Reilly.

Experts say Palin's new role could be a hit or miss for her, depending on how she crafts it.

"I think she's got to lose just being a victim," said Tina Brown, founder and editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast. "If that's the only brand, it's going to tire off after a while."

"On the face of it, it seems like a great role," Brown said on "Good Morning America." "But at the same time, she might also discover what she sort of discovered as a candidate. ... It's actually harder than it looks to be a good pundit on the air. You've got to have stuff to say."

Larry Hackett, managing editor at People Magazine, said Palin would likely attract a large audience in the beginning, but it's what she does over time that will determine whether she can keep that fan base.

"She has to metamorphosize it into something else, otherwise people might get bored," he said on "GMA."

The former GOP vice presidential candidate didn't waste any time in attacking her detractors, and taking issue with what she said were "lies" about her.

She fired back at critics of her performance as Sen. John McCain's running mate in the 2008 presidential campaign and kept up her ongoing attacks on the Obama administration.

Palin's critics sniped at her new role as consultant even before her appearance on air.

"Not since Spencer Pratt and Heidi Montag has there been a couple so well suited for one another," Hari Sevugan, the Democratic National Committee's press secretary.

When O'Reilly asked Palin why, in his view, so many "pinheads" seemed threatened by her, she said, "Obviously, it's not about me, it's not about me, personally. They don't like the message. They don't like the commonsense conservative solution that I think that I represent and you articulate. They don't like to hear it."

Palin may have a strong fan base, as evident by the turnout for the book tour, but three recent polls show more Americans disapprove of her than approve of her, and a vast majority says she's unqualified to be president.

In an ABC News/Washington Post poll in November, three out of five Americans said they thought Palin was unqualified to be president. Fifty-two percent said they viewed her unfavorably, 34 percent said they "strongly" shared that sentiment, while 43 percent had a favorable opinion. Fifty-three percent said they definitely would not vote for Palin if she were to run for president in 2012.

Palin's new gig on Fox News is unlikely to change that view and break the perception that she's ill-prepared for the presidency. Her attacks on President Obama and the administration are also unlikely to help her.