You never know...

Behind The News
September 15, 2008 12:40:00 PM PDT
Under the heading -- You Never Know What's Going to Happen: Who would have thought that, a week after the back-to-back political conventions wrapped up, Obama and McCain would be backburnered by Ike and Palin?

One of these men will soon be measuring for curtains at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., but the nation's attention is now on a monster hurricane that tonight will slam into Texas, and on a woman who, two weeks ago, most Americans had never heard of.

My oh my, how quickly times change.

It keeps the news business in business, but it's enough to give most people a heavy dose of political whiplash.

You could have made a fortune betting the over/under that the interview "get" of September would be the Governor of Alaska. (makes you wonder who the surprise get will be next month!)

Charlie Gibson's interviews with Sarah Palin -- the last of three is going on today in Alaska - have generated headlines and debates. Everyone has an opinion, as they should.

We will have the latest on today's interview, tonight at 11. But my point in this space isn't to fact-check what Palin said or didn't say. The bigger story I think is that Palin IS THE NEWS, and has, to a large degree, taken over and over taken this Presidential campaign.

Experts say Palin has energized the hard-core, conservative base of the Republican Party that John McCain needs, because those folks were largely skeptical and critical about him pre-Palin. But is it a good thing for the Vice Presidential pick to be more interesting to people than the Presidential candidate? I can't imagine.

Tonight, a one-hour 20/20 that continues ABC News' exclusive interviews with Palin over the past two days. Jeff Pegues has our story tonight at 11 - and reaction from New Yorkers.

Also at 11, the storm named Ike. A huge storm, and if you've seen the pictures of the pre-strike-surge, you know this hurricane will cause enormous destruction.

Jim Dolan is in Houston for us. He called during our afternoon news meeting to say that his satellite truck was going to be under water in about 20 minutes and that he was going to electronically send his story back quickly and then move to higher ground.

It is dangerous work for reporters - and even more dangerous for residents who haven't heeded orders to evacuate the lower-lying areas. Galveston is especially vulnerable. Jim will have the latest from the Texas Gulf Coast tonight, and Meteorologist Lee Goldberg is tracking Ike for us.

And there will likely be economic fallout from Ike. Already, there are reports of gasoline price gouging - one spot in Florida has $6 a gallon gas. And experts in our area say the price of gasoline could rise by 50 cents a gallon this weekend. Yikes.

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight at 11.

BILL RITTER


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