WASHINGTON — Three of the politicians seeking the nation's highest offices appeared in lengthy broadcast interviews Sunday, but the hottest topic for all of them was the missing fourth candidate -- Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
Palin, the Alaska governor whom Arizona Sen. John McCain selected as his running mate more than a week ago, has yet to make an unscripted public appearance. Instead, she has used her public events to deliver speeches, not to answer questions directly from voters or reporters.
"Eventually she's going to have to sit in front of you like I'm doing and have done," her Democratic counterpart, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
"Eventually she's going to have to answer questions and not be sequestered. Eventually she's going to have to answer questions about her record," Biden said.
Palin will start doing interviews "within the next few days," McCain said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
"She's not scared to answer questions," McCain campaign manager Rick Davis said on "Fox News Sunday." "But you know what? We run our campaign, not the news media. And we'll do things on our timetable."
Campaign aides later confirmed that she would give her first media interview this week, in Alaska, to ABC News anchor Charles Gibson.
Appearing on ABC's "This Week," Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, praised Palin as a "skilled politician" but said McCain's decision to put her on his ticket was more evidence that they would continue the policies of the current Republican administration.
"It tells me that he chose somebody who may be even more aligned with George Bush -- or Dick Cheney or the politics we've seen over the last eight years -- than John McCain himself is," Obama said.
Obama and Biden, whose campaign's central theme is a pledge to bring change to Washington, took issue with McCain's and Palin's promise to do the same.
"If you believe that George Bush has run this economy into the ground and mismanaged our foreign policy, who's more likely to change those policies?" Obama asked. "I don't think there's any dispute that that would be me."
McCain defended his vice presidential nominee, noting that Palin is galvanizing his core supporters and has brought new excitement to the campaign.
"I'd like to say it's all because of a charisma injection on the part of Mr. John McCain, but it's not," he said. "They're excited about this, this reformer, this lifetime member of the NRA, the person who was a point guard. . . . The fact is she's kind of what Americans have been looking for."
Today, McCain and Palin will attend a rally at a retirement complex in Lee's Summit, Mo., near Kansas City. Obama will hold a town hall session on the economy in Farmington Hills, Mich., near Detroit, and Biden will speak at a rally at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines.
Times staff writer Maeve Reston in Albuquerque contributed to this report.