Apologies are in order to Charles Gibson, widely presumed to be too soft to credibly interview Sarah Palin. If anything, the ABC News anchor's first exchange with Palin, aired last night, is all the more embarrassing to Palin precisely because Gibson was hand-picked by her handlers. The Republican vice presidential nominee's awful performance is apparent enough from the transcript, which contains her horribly stilted answer to a question about Iran, invoking "nucular weapons... given to those hands of Ahmadinejad" and already compared to Miss South Carolina's famous thoughts on "the Iraq" at a teen beauty pageant. But things are even worse on video, as seen after the jump.

In answering a question about the Bush doctrine, Palin's long hesitation and obviously stressed voice make it clear she doesn't know what the Bush doctrine is in the first place. Palin's nervousness likewise makes all the more terrifying her casual statement that "perhaps" going to war with Russia may someday be necessary to defend Georgia and the Ukraine.

Click the video player at top to watch.

Credit goes to Gibson for selecting the right questions, which were far weightier than the campaign minutiae he reveled in during the Democratic primary debates, and more importantly for adopting a serious tone that became vaguely condescending — with sighs, a twitching foot, interruptions — only when impatience was justified. Palin surely would love to cancel two additional interviews scheduled with Gibson this weekend. But such a move would only compound her public humiliation. More likely, she'll be told to keep her future answers extremely short in an attempt to get this mess over with as soon as possible.