COLUMBUS // After watching "Saturday Night Live" make fun of her from afar, Sarah Palin witnessed it first hand this week as Tina Fey engaged in fiction by depicting her at the news conference the Republican vice presidential nominee has yet to hold. Later, Ms Palin came on stage during the Weekend Update mock news segment and watched cast member Amy Poehler do a rap song the Alaska governor had decided might not be good for her to perform personally. "My country 'tis of thee, from my porch I can see Russia and such, Ms Poehler rapped as Ms Palin bobbed her head rhythmically and actors dressed as Eskimos, her husband Todd, and a moose pranced across the stage.
In the show's opening, Ms Fey's impersonation of Palin told a group of reporters, "First off, I just want to say how excited I am to be in front of both the liberal elite media as well as the liberal regular media. I am looking forward to a portion of your questions." Asked to assess how her running mate, John McCain, did in his debate with Democrat Barack Obama last week, Ms Fey as "Palin" replied, "I just thought he was great. Because the American people are angry - and John McCain is angry, too." By contrast, Mr Obama was smooth. "When he's talking, it's like an angel whispering in your ear. He makes John McCain sound like a garbage truck," replied Ms Fey. Moments later, the camera cut away to the real Palin watching a television monitor alongside the show's executive producer, Lorne Michaels. "You know, Lorne, I just don't think it's a realistic depiction of the way my press conferences would have gone," Ms Palin said. She said she wished he would have let her do a sketch about "30 Rock," the NBC program in which Ms Fey now stars. That prompted Mr Michaels to deadpan: "Honestly not enough people know that show." Ms Palin then stood mute as Ms Fey's "30 Rock" co-star, Alec Baldwin came into view, mistook Ms Palin for Ms Fey and pleaded with Mr Michaels not to let the actor go onstage with the governor. "This is the most important election in our nation's history and you want her, our Tina, to go out there and stand with that horrible woman?" Mr Baldwin said. When Mr Michaels broke down and introduced him to Ms Palin, Mr Baldwin feigned embarrassment and replied, "I see. Forgive me. I feel I must say this: You are way hotter in person." Ms Palin, who had also helped Mr Baldwin when he stumbled over her nickname "Caribou Barbie," got even by saying, "Thank you, and I must say, your brother Stephen is my favorite Baldwin brother." The camera soon cut back to Ms Fey, who answered a question about the polls. "I don't worry about the polls. Polls are just a fancy way of systematically predicting what's going to happen. The only poll I care about is the North Pole, and that ... is ... melting. It's not great." The real Ms Palin then walked onto the news conference set, sending Ms Fey fleeing. "Thank you, thank you," the governor said to applause from the studio audience. "No, I'm not going to take any of your questions, but I do wanted to take this opportunity to say, `Live from New York, it's Saturday Night."' The appearance was anticipated since September, when Ms Fey began portraying Ms Palin just after Mr McCain selected the little-known governor as his running mate. The two look alike, and Ms Palin remarked that people often told her - before Ms Fey started portraying her - that she resembled the actor. It was not immediately clear if Mr McCain, overnighting in Ohio, watched the show, but earlier in the day he told a crowd in Woodbridge, Virginia, that he thought Ms Fey and Ms Palin were "separated at birth." Speaking of his running mate, he added, "I know she'll do a great job."