Politics & Pop culture

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Palin on National Security

with 24 comments

Charlie Gibson had the opportunity of being the first journalist to interview Sarah Palin, after several days of being prepped by McCain aides. The New York Times wrote that choosing Mr. Gibson allowed the campaign to go with “a journalist known for having a mild manner but the gravitas to be taken seriously.” However, Gibson ranged from being somewhat stern to exasperated throughout the course of the interview, which focused on national security issues.

The most interesting moment, which was covered only by the Huffington Post, was in minute 7:52, when Palin is visibly confused about how to respond to Gibson’s question “Do you agree with the Bush Doctrine?” She does not seem to know what the doctrine is, and tries to circumvent the question twice, before Gibson actually explains to her what the doctrine is all about. There are other tense moments throughout the interview, but this one was the most telling. It is interesting that a Republican governor who is the Vice Presidential Nominee doesn’t know about the Bush Doctrine, which is a set of foreign policy positions that has changed the course of this nation for decades to come, as it has led us into two wars (Iraq and Afghanistan). 

In general, Palin does not have a strong command of the issues, often regurgitating small catch phrases. However, she fails to make a case for why she is strong on national security, even though at the beginning of the interview, she confidently explained that she was ready to be VP. Even on energy security, which both McCain and Palin have said was her area of expertise, she failed to persuade viewers that she understood the complexity of national energy security policy. 

However, what is more interesting is the coverage that followed. I did a comparison of the headlines from a series of online news sources, including some of the major networks. Here are the ways each of them represented what was a fairly lackluster performance, for the heavily touted VP: 

New York Times: In First Big Interview, Palin Says ‘I’m Ready’ for the Job

LA Times: Palin says she’s prepared to be president

Washington Post: Palin Links 9/11 Attacks to Iraq

CNN: Palin takes tough stance on Russia

Fox News had NO article! They provided the transcript, which I had to search for myself. Here you go: RAW DATA: PALIN’S INTERVIEW WITH ABC NEWS

Well, I’ve been reading the comment boards, and there are still people who are writing things like ‘Oh she nailed it!’ I suspect many did not listen to her evade questions and repeat simple catch phrases over and over. I don’t doubt that Sarah Palin is a smart woman, but thats not really what the national debate is about. Its about whether, she is ready to lead the country, on any issue. Judging by just the Gibson interview, regardless of his demeanor toward her, I would say she’s not. Why? Well, if she’s angling for the number 2 spot in the country, and in many ways the world, she ought to not falter on a gimme question like the Bush Doctrine, especially when the McCain campaign has set the bar so high with regards to experience.


Written by Veena

September 12, 2008 at 4:30 am

24 Responses

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  1. It’s absolutely terrifying to have a possible future president who is so clearly unqualified. Charlie didn’t even ask her anything tough and he was the only one looking even remotely intelligent in that conversation. I really had high hopes for her but that was just painful to watch. If a job applicant performed so poorly as she for the community organizer position, she’d be passed over. Sad. It’s got to be all hard ball, now. If she can’t handle the prepared Bush-organized prep work, let the wolves have at her.


    September 12, 2008 at 5:23 am

  2. However, the United States and Russia “cannot repeat the Cold War,” the Alaska governor said in her first interview since becoming Sen. John McCain’s running mate.

    Why, then Sarah Palin, are you attempting to grab the steering wheel of foreign relations and drive this nation into a head-on collision with your neighbor, Russia???

    How did she nail _anything_? I sometimes have to take a step away from reading the threads as the perspective coming from many of the reactions are dangerously narrow minded, and it’s easy to loose hope realizing that many people are buying into the same BS rhetoric that has floored this nation further and further into the ground for the past 8 years.

    While saying that, I have to say I feel the partisanship in this nation scares me. We’re moving farther and farther apart, not closer together. Even with all the information at our fingertips, it’s difficult to understand how inhabitants of the same nation, economy, job market, world player… etc etc can have such polar opposite understandings of things such as foreign relations.

    It’s sad really. I wish more Americans were able to drop their pride and step outside of their own shoes every once in a while.


    September 12, 2008 at 5:46 am

  3. I keep hearing people saying something disparaging about Sarah Palin, but then adds something like “I don’t doubt she’s smart.” What I wonder is… what indicates that she IS “smart.” Her exposed past combined with her present exposure indicates nothing above average intelligence. Is that a bad thing. No, by it’s nature, “average” intelligence means she’s just about where most of the world is (though of course we may ask for something more exceptional out of our most powerful leaders). But I just wonder what makes people keep interjecting that “she’s smart.” You never need to hear that about someone like Barack Obama… because it’s clearly evident.


    September 12, 2008 at 6:15 am

  4. I keep up pretty well on politics and current affairs but I can’t recall ever having heard the term “Bush Doctrine” before. When he asked that question in the video, I thought “What the hell is that?”

    Wikipedia gives 4 parts to the “Bush Doctrine” rather than just the one Gibson stated. Those 4 parts are: Preemption (Gibson’s), Military Primacy, New Multilateralism, and the Spread of Democracy. And after he clarified the question Palin gave a superb answer.

    People aren’t going to care if she had not heard the term before because nobody else has either.


    September 12, 2008 at 6:29 am

  5. It is sad that this election is being judged first on race, then gender and last but not least persona rather than knowledge. Obviously according to the interview with Charlie Gibson she has no idea about foreign and domestic affairs. How can she help run the country? Also, how is she a maverick when she repeats the same thing McCain says? She’s a puppet and no change is going to come with the McCain administration. McCain and Palin says less government (meaning more monopolies and more unemployment) which in turn means that if you’re not wealthy you’re ——. Fill in the blank. I’m starting to think I can run for President.


    September 12, 2008 at 6:34 am

  6. As far as her being Vice-President …..Thanks….but no thanks…..


    September 12, 2008 at 7:47 am

  7. Since only Palin is getting news coverage for anyone who wants to hear Joe Biden go to Obama’s website or YouTube. Let the media continue to make their disney movie, we want to deal with the issues.


    September 12, 2008 at 8:01 am

  8. With her pick, the McCain campaign has eased off their experience hot button a bit, especially after the Tucker Bounds debacle with Campbell Brown. And those people saying she “nailed it” are the same ones who said that Nixon’s gravitas mattered in the debate against John F. Kennedy…or the ones who thought James Stockdale’s existential crisis during the Vice Presidential debates in 1992 validated the legitimacy of his candidacy.


    September 12, 2008 at 11:29 am

  9. Better than the top of the Democratic ticket!


    September 12, 2008 at 11:45 am

  10. It’s a good thing Palin is at the bottom of the ticket. Now, can we talk about issues that REALLY concern Americans?

    * McCain voted AGAINST Violence Against Women Act

    * McCain voted AGAINST Title X Womens Health Care Services

    * McCain voted AGAINST Children’s Health Insurance Program-SCHIP

    * McCain voted AGAINST aid to Children of Domestic Violence

    * McCain voted AGAINST Emergency Funding for Victims of Hurricane Katrina

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding Law Enforcement

    * McCain wants to bring back the DRAFT

    * McCain voted AGAINST GI Bill

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding VA for Vets

    * McCain voted AGAINST Funding Military Equipment Shortages in Iraq

    * Palin continues to LIE about the bridge. Palin SUPPORTED the bridge, TOOK THE MONEY for the bridge, KEPT THE MONEY for the bridge and SPENT THE MONEY for the bridge.

    * Palin AND her husband AND her children BILLED the taxpayers of Alaska, $16,000.00 so the Palin’s could have Family Time.

    * Other than scripted interviews that have clearly been EDITED, Palin REFUSES to answer questions from reporters. In fact, Palin REFUSES to answer reporter’s questions on her plane… SUSPICIOUS?????!!!!!! …

    Will Palin EVER answer questions from reporterS (plural) like say from behind a podium?


    September 12, 2008 at 12:17 pm

  11. The more I listen to Sarah Palin the more I like her! Athough we may not agree on everthing (who does!!!) I like her straightforwardness and she looks you in the eye. And I am really tired of the media just pointing out all the negative. Give me a break – she says some things right and all I hear is ‘she is evasive’ etc. I tell you what – she is as ready as Obama! What experience has he with being president or dealing with foreign leaders???? Is he any more ready to be president than she is to be vice president???

    And what happened to balanced reporting and unbiased media????? It seems like most of those who talk on air are only interested in getting opinions that show her in the negative. Why isn’t this same media asking the more important question – is Obama ready to be PRESIDENT??? That is just as critical a question but do we hear about that? Oh no, he is the golden one…..It’s a wonder anyone watches any media any more CNN or Fox. Why can’t we approach this as AMERICANS and not left or right or demo or repub. We need to mend our country not divide it anymore and those in the media could do so much to that end if they would just get over themselves and think as Americans and not be so divisive in all they present.

    Valerie May

    September 12, 2008 at 12:26 pm

  12. If Charlie Gibson meant pre-emption, he should have said pre-emption. Liberals have a tendency to coin preverse catch phrases. Like, the “Bush Doctrine” which is intended to suggest a cowboy’s personal vendetta, and “swift boating” which is intended to suggest outlandish lies and slander.
    Palin probably does not want to contribute this this perversion by accepting such biased terminology. Palin would probably prefer to use the terms pre-emtion for “Bush Doctrine” and eyewitness accounts for “swiftboating. I was really counting on Charlie Gibson not to slant the interview. Oh well!


    September 12, 2008 at 12:31 pm



    September 12, 2008 at 12:42 pm

  14. She had better hike that skirt up higher than that if she wants to be vice president. This will attract the men. But that doesn’t mean she is fit. Let alone president, which probably will happen before 4 years are up.


    September 12, 2008 at 12:49 pm

  15. I am an Independent and what I have seen in this election campaign has made me support the Democratic ticket. Palin has become an unnecessary diversion from the real issues at hand. Obama has been, to his credit and who deserves the most respect, above all this nonsense by saying enough to the three-ring circus and to get back to the points critical to this election. Attacks and negativity aimed at Obama are being condoned by the Republican campaign and their supporters as the way for McCain and Palin to win – quite a frightening rationale – and which does not provide one with any confidence in how they could run the country. Palin’s interview with ABC news indicates that she is an unrealistic choice to serve at such a high level. Only obtaining a passport in 2006 and having only been to Canada, Mexico, and Kuwait does not qualify her for any foreign experience, no matter how “ready” she thinks she may be. How can she sit across a table with someone from another country who learns she’d never left the US until 2006? What does that say about her perspective about the world? Why has she never been outside the US until so late in life? Would this lack of being open to the outside world affect her ability to be open and respectful of another country’s diversity and differing opinions? For her to first state humans have not caused global warming and then to state recently that we partly have done so is troubling. Any elementary school child knows this to be a fact. Does she think that animals or nature did something to make their own habitats so dangerous? Her open criticism and cynical jabs at Obama’s community service work for those struggling in Chicago were a direct insult to those people he helped. Her remarks were dismissive and completely disrespectful. For anyone who supported her views about that kind of community service work has a similar ignorant and narrow vision for how we should be helping those in need in this country. Her extremists’ views will only divide this nation and add to the already catastrophic polarization that is already doing us in here in the US. Obama has brought together incredibly diverse groups of people and he is smart, always respectful of others, gracious, collaborative, and gets it. For Palin who tried to ban certain library books and then threaten to fire the city librarian, if she did not do so, is beyond a giant red flag. It is simply dangerous to think she is fit for the VP role and people must start paying attention to such points. For someone in the audience at the Republican National Convention to boast wearing a button that stated, “Hoosiers for the Hottie,” just about says it all for the Republicans which is that Palin is here as a disastrous distraction and not because she is truly qualified.

    Marianne M.

    September 12, 2008 at 1:16 pm

  16. I think it’s interesting how the media and the Republicans make excuses for why Palin doesn’t know something as basic as a huge fundamental shift in the USA policy of not attacking a sovereign nation unless first attacked, “Bush Doctrine”. It was only discussed everyday on TV for six months after we invaded Iraq? Guess Sarah was busy killing animals in Alaska. I just don’t get why people keep making excuses including news anchors. The comments about Russia were so reminiscent of Bush and the “Axis of Evil”… WAKE up, we can’t handle the crap we’re in now! You’ll need more then your prayers when WW3 starts and that is where this kind of talk will get us. There is a coalition being created and it is countries that hate the USA. We will not win that war. Our economy is literally coming apart and another year of the “grand old party”, will see us fall into a Great Depression. Better start voting with your minds and not your eyes. Racist!

    bill lansden

    September 12, 2008 at 1:23 pm

  17. You can’t run or hide, Repubs. You have a dud here! She didn’t listen to her boss who told her not to fire the public servant chief. She did it any way. That is how she would behave if she were president, which could well happen. She would listen and do what she wants to do and get us all killed!


    September 12, 2008 at 1:31 pm

  18. How do we sanction Russia? Don’t sell them MIGs? How about cutting back on gas? It’s pathetic…except she may be V.P. or worse.


    September 12, 2008 at 1:34 pm

  19. Obama:
    Occidental College – Two years.
    Columbia University – B.A. political science with a specialization in international relations.
    Harvard – Juris Doctor (J.D.) Magna Cum Laude

    & Biden:
    University of Delaware – B.A. in history and B.A. in political science.
    Syracuse University College of Law – Juris Doctor (J.D.)


    United States Naval Academy – Class rank 894 of 899

    & Palin:
    Hawaii Pacific University – 1 semester
    North Idaho College – 2 semesters – general study
    University of Idaho – 2 semesters – journalism
    Matanuska-Susitna College – 1 semester
    University of Idaho – 3 semesters – B.A. in journalism

    Now, which team are you going to hire ? joseph


    September 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm

  20. This is why we have an Electoral College…the ignorant masses don’t understand that she is in NO WAY qualified to be a heartbeat-away from being our President.

    Unbelievable that people aren’t seeing through her being picked as an election ploy.

    Seriously, unbelievable….Actually, there is a clip of Matt Damon floating around that gets to the point.


    September 12, 2008 at 3:05 pm

  21. A foreign policy stance similar to the current administration’s will only be disastrous.



    September 12, 2008 at 3:26 pm

  22. I can not believe this may be the next vise-president of America. As bad as Dick Cheney is at least he has a command of the issues, right or wrong. If elected I do not see Mrs. Palin influencing administration policy.


    September 12, 2008 at 3:38 pm

  23. John McCain/Sarah Palin Republican Party will win the 2008 U.S election because they are telling the TRUTH in their policies to the American people for the present economic crisis which could happen to every country of the world because of mis-management, whereas the opposition Democratic Party led by Obama & Biden’s policies are of extreme nature of ‘sharing the wealth’ of the hard working families with others is tantamount to Socialism which means Communism. Be very very serious when our good friends (Americans)go to the polls on November 4. Think about the things
    that are facing you & your family’s security & economy(money). Go for the man of experience for the future of the United States of America. God Bless USA!!

    Perth, Western Australia


    October 26, 2008 at 12:15 pm

  24. comment:
    God help us all, palin is not ready, i have heard nothing from her that would make me ”feel safe”?


    October 27, 2008 at 2:06 am

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