Putting a muzzle on Sarah Palin

Has Sarah Palin become a liability for the John McCain campaign, a risk that must be kept out of sight, out of mind and away from recent gaffes that have showcased her inexerience and inability to think on her feet.

Sure seems that way.

Writes Kenneth P. Vogel in Politico:

According to her handlers, Sarah Palin’s schedule is light on media interviews and fundraisers because she’s so popular with the Republican base that her time is better spent on the campaign trail.

But she hasn’t been hitting the hustings much, either, and her relatively sparse campaign schedule underscores the McCain campaign’s struggle to develop a strategy for effectively deploying its vice presidential candidate.

Large chunks of time in Palin’s public schedules have gone mostly unaccounted for since John McCain selected her to be his running mate late last month.

Since then, Palin, the governor of Alaska, has held a grand total of 17 events that were open to the general public, and many of those were joint appearances in which she stumped at McCain’s side. In fact, she’s only done five rallies by herself.

That’s well off the average pace for a modern vice presidential candidate, and Palin’s public schedule shows no signs of becoming more vigorous anytime soon.

After a Monday afternoon joint rally with McCain in Columbus, Ohio, she retreated to the Arizona senator’s Sedona, Ariz., ranch for a couple days of preparation before her Thursday debate with Joe Biden, the Democratic vice presidential candidate.

By contrast, Biden, a Delaware senator, has held more than 40 events open to the general public, and only eight of them have been with his running mate, Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. It must be noted that Biden has been a vice presidential candidate for one week longer than Palin has.