An MSNBC show held a political debate Monday on former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's sex appeal.
The show's anchor, Donny Deutsch, stated his belief that there is national interest in Palin because "we've never seen a woman in power who looks like this and has this appeal."
Above Deutsch on the screen was the news channel's slogan, declaring that MSNBC is "The Place for Politics."
"The reason we have a fascination with Sarah Palin -- men and women -- this is the first woman in power that has sexual appeal, and people don't know what to do with it," he said. "That's why people are fascinated with her. Everything else is secondary. OK, beat me up."
"I've already beat him up in a phone conversation this morning," said his co-anchor, Tamron Hall.
MSNBC's Norah O'Donnell -- via satellite from Alaska -- was on Deutsch's side: "I think you are absolutely right, and I totally agree with you."
"She's young, she's gorgeous, she has five children and she doesn't take advice from anyone, and she got a different style," O'Donnell continued. "So I think that's part of the fascination with her,"
Back in the studio, Hall took Deutsch and O'Donnell to task by saying, "If it were as simple as being attractive, then so many others would have accomplished what she has. And you can say you disagree with her policy, whatever, but to minimize her to hotness is insane."
Deutsch interrupted Hall: "You can use the word 'hotness.' "
Hall: "You used the word 'hotness' in another conversation."
Deutsch: "Off-camera I used 'hotness.' "
Well, at least Donny was off-camera when he called the former vice presidential candidate "hot."
It seems to me that this whole debate was set up in advance (talk of previous, off-camera conversations) and Hall was merely playing her assigned role to counter Deutsch's demeaning agenda.
When Hall playfully tapped Deutsch on the shoulder or laughed at his admission that he was really talking about Palin being hot, she appeared not to be genuinely offended by his remarks but playing to the audience.
Deutsch seemed determined to make his opinion on Palin a political topic: "What I'm saying is, this is a new definition of female power we have never seen before. Men and women are learning how to process it. They are fascinated. Once they get past that, she will be nothing but a media power; she will never be a political figure."
Radio host Shannyn Moore, who did not chime in until prompted at the end by Deutsch, said, "A lot of her supporters wear buttons here saying 'hottest governor, coldest state,' they totally have used it. I think it actually sets us back a little bit."
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