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Foreign matters provide first chink in Palin' -

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Foreign matters provide first chink in Palin's armour

The World Today - Friday, 12 September , 2008 12:22:00

Reporter: John Shovelan

ELEANOR HALL: In the United States vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin faced her first grilling
in a media interview today and it exposed some big gaps in her foreign policy knowledge.

The Alaskan Governor has been undergoing intense preparation for the interview, which has been
keenly awaited since she burst onto the national and international stage as Republican presidential
nominee John McCain's running mate two weeks ago.

So will it help or hinder the Republican campaign?

From Washington John Shovelan reports.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Released from what has been described as her campaign bubble where she has been
strictly off limits to the country's media, Governor Sarah Palin negotiated her first media
interview safely.

There were no major gaffes but her grasp of international affairs and national security issues was
shaky and unconvincing.

Asked by Charlie Gibson of the American ABC network if she agreed with the Bush doctrine of
pre-emption she struggled unaware of just what it was.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?

SARAH PALIN: In what respect Charlie?

CHARLIE GIBSON: The Bush... what do you interpret it to be?

SARAH PALIN: His world view.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Well the Bush doctrine, you didn't see it in September 2002 before the Iraq war?

SARAH PALIN: I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic
extremism; terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along
the way though, there have been mistakes made and with new leadership and that's the beauty of
American elections of course and democracy is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things
better.

CHARLIE GIBSON: The Bush doctrine as I understand it is that we have the right of anticipatory
self-defence, that we have the right to a pre-emptive strike against any other country that we
think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?

SARAH PALIN: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that the strike
is imminent against American people we have every right to defend our country.

JOHN SHOVELAN: A heartbeat away from the presidency, Democrats have said Sarah Palin is woefully
prepared to be vice president. But she was unashamed of her foreign policy expertise.

CHARLIE GIBSON: Have you ever met a foreign head of state?

SARAH PALIN: I have not and I think if you go back in history and if you ask that question of many
vice presidents they may have the same answer that I just gave you. We got to remember what the
desire is in this nation at this time.

It is for no more politics as usual and somebody's big fat resume maybe that shows decades and
decades in that Washington establishment.

JOHN SHOVELAN: The McCain campaign contends that Governor Palin is acutely aware of US-Russia
relations, because Sarah Palin's home state of Alaska is so close to Russia.

SARAH PALIN: You can actually see Russia.

JOHN SHOVELAN: There was none of the usual diplomatic language in Governor Palin's answers. On
Russia she advocated a hardline stand to show support for Georgia by imposing economic sanctions on
Moscow; and if necessary said the US had an obligation to defend other NATO members against Russian
aggression.

SARAH PALIN: I mean that is the agreement, when you are a NATO ally is if another country is
attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help.

JOHN SHOVELAN: Like many others before her Governor Palin spent days in preparation receiving
intensive briefings on foreign policy.

Today's interview was the first. There will have to be others. But for the moment there are no
others scheduled.

JOHN SHOVELAN: John Shovelan, Washington.