We appear to be entering Phase Three of Sarah Palin's career: Woman stuff guru. Palin guest-hosted the Today show Tuesday, and after a brief interview about the standard political stuff -- "Anyone but Obama" will make a good president -- she moved on to meatier topics: Are people being too mean to Jessica Simpson for gaining weight while pregnant? How do you boost your teenage daughter's body image? Palin tried to own the all-time best Palin jokes, with a newspaper gag, a Tina Fey namecheck, a laugh at joining the "lamestream media," an admission that "it's a crap shoot" to raise teenage girls, and a subtle reference to her famously fancy campaign clothes. It was only the third hour of the Today show, but Palin was much more interested in talking about the issues that are usually fodder in the fourth: Girl stuff.
Palin wore all black, a hip-slung belt, and flares. When they stood outside for the morning weather talk, she added an enormous magenta scarf, and the crowd screamed so loud it was hard to hear her. Memorable Palin lines:
Matt Lauer on Palin's reading habits: "I see she's doing her homework!" (A reference to her infamous interview with Katie Couric in 2008, in which she said of her newspaper consumption habits that she reads "all of them." The camera shows her reading at left.)
Palin on Ashton Kutcher playing Steve Jobs: "Do any of you have experience with people being paid a lot of money to pretend like they're you?" (No, Palin didn't see Game Change, but Fey's impression was "pretty clever.")
On unreasonable expectations on pregnant stars: "We'll talk about Jessica Simpson and what I consider some unfair criticism of her weight gain during her pregnancy."
If people had called her fat while pregnant: "I would have wanted to punch them in the neck."
On the struggles of Oprah's network: "I think it'll still be around if she gets some conservatives!" (Hint, hint?)
On Tori Spelling's party planning: "You're an inspiration. You're living life so vibrantly." (Spelling was wearing a vibrant purple maternity dress and vibrantly blonde hair, and with Anny Curry. It was quite an amazing trio gazing over appetizers.)
On raising teen girls: "It's a crap shoot."
On being the cool mom: "There's a fine line between wanting to be a child's friend -- wanting to be the cool mom and dad -- and being their parent." Ann Curry tried to wrap up the segment, and Palin cut in for one last word -- "Kids inherently want those boundaries," she said. Curry leaned over and put her arm on Palin's back, saying firmly, "We're going to have to stop this even though we want to keep going."
On what it was like to be a mainstream media person: "Organized chaos. I've always said if everythings under control you're going too slow, as Mario Andretti said."
On her outfit: Her jacket was "fom a consignment shop... the one I wore for an interview with you almost four years ago," she told Matt Lauer.