(CNN) - When Sarah Palin got a surprise phone call from the McCain campaign one August afternoon asking if she'd like to be on the Republican presidential ticket, the then-Alaska governor didn't doubt for a moment she was ready for the challenge.
"When I got the call, it was not such a shocking call to me," Palin told talk-show host Oprah Winfrey in a highly anticipated interview that aired Monday. "I felt quite confident in my abilities and my executive experience and I knew that this is an executive administrative job. I was happy to get in there and contribute."
Nor was Palin deterred by the fact she had five kids at home, including an infant with special needs.
"It never occurred to me that I couldn't do the job because of children," she said. "My children are my strength. ... They allow me to be grounded."
But what did shock Palin was just how much the campaign knew about her and her family before she even formally met with Sen. John McCain to discuss the job. Contrary to what was reported in the media, Palin said, she was extensively vetted and the campaign knew exactly "who they were getting."
Washington (CNN) – President Obama admitted to never using Twitter during his trip to China on Monday.
"Let me say that I have never used Twitter," Obama said in response to a question from a Chinese student about using Twitter freely in China. Obama continued: "I noticed that young people - they're very busy with all these electronics. My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone."
During the presidential campaign, techies and news organizations all noted the Obama campaign's use of social networking. "Barack Obama dominates Twitter" read one summer headline on CNET.com.
Obama has his name on one Twitter account, @BarackObama, which was started in April 2007 and is now run by Organizing for America (Obama's political arm operated out of the Democratic National Committee). The other account is @WhiteHouse, which was first set up to send out news about H1N1. @BarackObama has close to 2.7 million followers and @WhiteHouse has over 1.4 million followers.
(CNN) - While their fictional personas have teamed up on Saturday Night Live, Sarah Palin and Hilary Clinton have actually never met.
But the secretary of state said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press she'd "look forward" to talking politics with Palin over coffee sometime soon.
Clinton was responding to an excerpt in Palin's forthcoming memoir in which the Alaska governor praises the then senator Clinton's 2008 presidential primary campaign effort.
"Should Secretary Clinton and I ever sit down over a cup of coffee, I know that we will fundamentally disagree on many issues," Palin writes in the new book called "Going Rogue: An American Life. "But my hat is off to her hard work on the 2008 campaign trail. A lot of her supporters think she proved what Margaret Thatcher proclaimed. 'If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.'"
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's former campaign manager and John McCain's former campaign manager agree: Sarah Palin would be "catastrophic" for Republicans if she is the party's presidential nominee in 2012.
Steve Schmidt, McCain's former campaign head, first made the assertion in October, telling a Washington audience that the GOP "could have a catastrophic election result" if Palin wins the Republican nomination.
David Plouffe, Obama's 2008 campaign manager, echoed Schmidt's remark in a newly published interview with The New Yorker.
Washington (CNN) - The Federal Reserve is stepping up its effort to protect consumers' credit. The latest move? Today it proposed new rules for limiting fees and extending the expiration date for many gift cards. Under the new rules a gift card could not expire in less than five years. And the issuer couldn't charge more than one fee a month if you don't use the card – and that would apply only if you hadn't used the gift card for a year. "The rules would protect consumers from certain unexpected costs and would require that gift card terms and conditions be clearly stated," the Federal Reserve said in a statement announcing the move.
Don't get too excited – this rule wouldn't go into effect until the middle of next year, and companies have 30 days to submit their comments and try to alter the rule. Bottom line: it won't apply to this year's holiday purchases.
This latest announcement comes as the Fed squares off with senators considering legislation that would effectively strip the Fed of its consumer protection role. Instead, the new legislation would hand that power to a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency whose mission would be overseeing credit cards, mortgages and other financial products marketed to the public. Last week, the Fed proposed restricting overdraft fees on ATM cards - part of an apparent public relations effort to demonstrate its commitment to beefing up its role as a defender of the consumer against bank abuses.
(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden is lending a helping hand to five Western House Democrats who may face competitive re-election races next year.
The vice president attends a political event in Phoenix Monday for Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Harry Mitchell. Kirkpatrick, a freshman, won her seat in Arizona's 1st congressional district by 17 points. Mitchell, a two-term representative, won re-election last year by 9 points. Both the non-partisan Rothenberg Political Report and Cook Political Report are keeping their eyes on both races.
Later Monday, Biden attends an event in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Reps. Harry Teague and Martin Heinrich. Republicans are gunning to win back Teague's seat, in New Mexico's 2nd congressional district. Teague, a freshman, won the district by 12 points last year. Both the Rothenberg and Cook Political Reports consider the race a tossup. Heinrich is also a freshman who won his race in 2008 by 12 points.
On Sunday, the vice president was the main attraction in Las Vegas at a fundraiser for freshman Rep. Dina Titus. Last year, Titus won Nevada's 3rd congressional district in a three-way contest, grabbing 47 percent of the vote. She could face a tough re-election next year.
Washington (CNN) - An energy advocacy group is launching another television ad in South Carolina taking aim at Sen. Lindsey Graham for his support of energy legislation that would include a cap-and-trade program.
The 30-second spot is the latest salvo in an ongoing campaign against the Republican by the American Energy Alliance, a group funded in part by oil and gas companies that has spent roughly $375,000 over the last month knocking Graham on South Carolina's radio and TV airwaves.
The newest ad comes one week after Graham was censured by the Charleston County Republican Party for supporting the legislation, the latest indicator of the senator's difficult relationship with grassroots conservatives in his home state.
"Energy is the lifeblood of our economy, from home to work to play," a narrator says in the ad, as viewers are shown images of basic everyday tasks that require electricity, oil and gas. "Energy fuels us.
SHANGHAI, China (CNN) - It was the one question that got the most attention at President Obama's Shanghai town hall meeting. And it set him up to address the issue of censorship:
"Should we be able to use Twitter freely?"
In a country that routinely blocks access to cyberspace, the president said "I've always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I'm a big supporter of non-censorship.
"I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes."
U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman read the question that President Obama said "was generated through the Web site of our embassy," and added that it was "selected … by I think one of the members of our U.S. Press corps."
But that wasn't quite right.
While Bloomberg reporter and White House Correspondents Association President Ed Chen was asked by an administration official to select a question, he declined. Instead he picked numbers from a bag that the White House ultimately used to get the Twitter question.
SHANGHAI, China (CNN) - It was the sounds of Springsteen in Shanghai that clinched it for me: This was not your ordinary town hall meeting with President Obama.
Don't get me wrong, Bruce Springsteen is usually a staple at Democratic events in America, so I'm used to hearing the strands of songs like "Born to Run" blaring out of speakers at campaign events or health care forums back home.
But when I showed up a little early for Obama's town hall meeting here on Monday with Chinese college students at the extraordinary Shanghai Science and Technology Museum, the lyrics about New Jersey guys in muscle cars sweating it out "in the streets of a runaway American dream" seemed a little out of place:
"Sprung from cages out on Highway 9/Chrome wheeled, fuel injected and steppin' out over the line!"