The ABCs of Sarah Palin

By Howard Kurtz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 12, 2008; 9:31 AM

Anyone who said that Charlie Gibson might go easy on Sarah Palin might want to quickly delete those comments.

What the ABC newsman conducted yesterday was a serious, professional interview that went right at the heart of what we want and need to know about the governor: Could she be president? Does she understand the nuances of international affairs? Does she have a world view?

He was all business, respectful but persistent.

When Palin said she was ready to be president, Gibson said: "Doesn't that take some hubris?"

Had she traveled anywhere beyond a single trip to Iraq and Kuwait? Had she met any world leaders? Should Georgia and Ukraine be admitted to NATO? Did she believe the Iraq war is a task from God? When Palin demurred, Gibson said those were her "exact words." No fancy footwork, no long-winded setups, no gotchas. Just a solid, straight-ahead interview.

Even Palin's critics should admit that, in terms of demeanor, she handled herself well for someone who three years ago was worried about the books in the Wasilla library. She projected confidence and was not openly rattled.

Substance was another question. She seemed unfamiliar with the Bush Doctrine. She seemed to endorse any nuclear strike Israel wants to make (and should have dodged the question). And she came pretty close to saying she'd declare war on Russia for invading future NATO member Georgia. Palin might want to spend more time with McCain's foreign policy gurus.

After switching to Fox, I learned that part of the interview was controversial.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.

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