AHEAD of later analysis of last night's on-off-on TV debate between Senators McCain and Obama it may be worth catching up with how well McCain's running-mate Sarah Palin has been managing her TV appearances. She has now taken part in three network interviews, the most recent being with Kate Couric of CBS Evening News. Practice has not made Governor Palin perfect and one wonders what purpose has been served by her intensive coaching by Republican foreign affairs experts. Ms Couric asked Palin what she had meant by citing Alaska's proximity to Russia as being part of her foreign affairs experience. The reply was this: “That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary we have with Canada.” Couric asked if that really counted as the kind of international experience she was claiming and Palin continued, “Well it certainly does because our next door neighbours are foreign countries, here in the state I'm an executive of.” Couric helped Palin, who sometimes looked quite frightened, out of some of the corners she had painted herself into but could do nothing to save her when she criticised Obama for favouring direct talks with Iran and Syria and said that she knew Henry Kissinger was also against such talks. In fact Kissinger is on record as favouring such talks and his office confirmed this to CBS after Palin's interview had gone out.