Palin denied saying previously that human activity has no role in climate change
By Leonard Doyle
The force of nature known as Sarah Palin was back at work inside America’s living rooms yesterday, attempting to wreak havoc with Barack Obama’s hopes.
In the space of a fortnight, she has transformed the national conversation from the urban and economic issues favoured by Mr Obama to the mythical values attributed to smalltown America.
As the public’s fascination with the 44-year-old Alaskan Governor grows by the day, she even eclipsed media coverage of the Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
Yesterday, ABC broadcast the second of a three-part exclusive interview series with her. Under gentle questioning from the veteran news anchor Charlie Gibson, she breezily brushed off criticisms of her plans to drill for oil in Alaska’s national wildlife reserve. She also softened her tone on global warming, denying saying previously that human activity has no role in climate change.
Mrs Palin is professionally trained for the media, thanks to her degree in journalism and a brief career as a sportscaster and her first interviews showed she could smooth talk her way around tricky questions.
In one exchange during the first interview broadcast on Thursday, it became apparent that she did not know what was meant by the “Bush doctrine”.
“In what respect, Charlie?” Mrs Palin replied when asked what she thought of the doctrine annunciated in September 2002 before the Iraq war. Gibson impatiently told her it meant the right of “anticipatory self-defence”.
The Governor finally responded: “Charlie, if there is a legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend.”
But this was no Jeremy Paxman-style grilling and tempers were never frayed. Mrs Palin remaining composed throughout. She was carefully briefed in advance by a team of advisers from Mr McCain’s campaign and the format was more akin to a celebrity interview than a forensic analysis. It was shot both indoors and outside against a backdrop of Alaska’s turning leaves and an enormous shiny oil pipeline.
The ABC interviews culminated in a 40-minute presentation from her hometown of Wasilla which reinforced the message of her speech to the Republican convention when she told 46 million viewers: “We grow good people in our small towns … I grew up with those people. They’re the ones who do some of the hardest work in America, grow our food and run our factories and fight our wars. They love their country in good times and bad, and they’re always proud of America.”
That message strikes a chord with voters who are still wary of having a black Democrat in the White House. Mrs Palin is a conservative, anti-abortion and pro-gun rights mother of five, whose smalltown message is firing up Republican Party grassroots members and has ignited a surge of momentum for Mr McCain.
In her own words
I believe that man’s activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska … we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area with ice pack melting. Regardless, though, of the reason for climate change, whether it’s entirely, wholly caused by man’s activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet – the warming and the cooling trends – regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it and we have to make sure that we’re doing all we can to cut down on pollution.
*On drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
I’m going to keep working on that one with [McCain]. ANWR, of course, is a 2,000-acre swath of land in the middle of about a 20 million-acre swath of land. Two-thousand acres that we’re asking the feds to unlock so that there can be exploration and development … We’ll agree to disagree, but … I think, eventually, we’re all gonna come together on that one.
*On the Bush doctrine
Gibson: The Bush – well, what do you – what do you interpret it to be?
Palin: His world view.
Gibson: No, the Bush doctrine, annunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war.
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 … comes opportunity to do things better.
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?
Palin: Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right to defend our country. In fact, the president has the obligation, the duty to defend our country.
Gibson: Do we have the right to be making cross-border attacks into Pakistan, from Afghanistan, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?
Palin: As for our right to invade, we’re going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world, where war is not going to be a first option.
*On her foreign travel
Canada, Mexico, and then, yes, that trip … the trip of a lifetime to visit our troops in Kuwait. That was the trip of a lifetime and changed my life.
They’re our next door neighbours and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska. We will not repeat a Cold War. We must have good relationship with our allies, pressuring, also, helping us to remind Russia that it’s in their benefit, also, a mutually beneficial relationship for us all to be getting along.
I agree with John McCain that nuclear weapons in the hands of those who would seek to destroy our allies, in this case, we’re talking about Israel, we’re talking about Ahmadinejad’s comment about Israel being the “stinking corpse, should be wiped off the face of the Earth,” that’s atrocious. That’s unacceptable … We have got to make sure these weapons of mass destruction, are not given to those hands of Ahmadinejad, not that he would use them, but that he would allow terrorists to be able to use them.