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McCain: ‘Palin Knows More About Energy Than Anyone’

Via Politico’s Ben Smith.

Here’s a remarkable piece of video. Sen. John McCain took some hard questions yesterday from Rob Caldwell, news anchor at WCSH in Portland, Maine, about all things Palin.

Take a look:

It’s hard to know where to begin, there’s so much good stuff here.

When asked why the McCain campaign appears to be shielding Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin from media interviews, McCain answered:

“She’s coming out in the next couple days with interviews with numerous people.”

Really? The only interview currently announced — and hyped like crazy, by the way — is with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, set to air in segments later today and tomorrow. So either we can look forward to a series of surprise Palin interviews over the course of the weekend, or McCain seems to think Gibson is actually many people.

McCain goes on to take issue with Caldwell’s assertion that McCain has called Islamic extremism the “No.1 issue facing the United States in our time.” McCain corrected Caldwell:

“I’ve said the greatest challenge of our time is national-security threats. And I’ve also said that jobs and the economy are the No. 1 issue facing Americans.”

Actually, Caldwell quoted him correctly. Here is McCain’s response to a question from Pastor Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church Forum just last month:

“Of course, evil must be defeated.… We are facing the transcendent challenge of the 21st century–radical Islamic extremists.”

But this is all small potatoes. McCain repeats his claim that because Palin is governor of a state that is close to Russia, she understands that “nation’s newly aggressive behavior in the world.” He also states that she “was right” on Russia and Iran.

As Smith notes, it’s unclear exactly what McCain is talking about. I ran a couple quick Lexis-Nexis searches, and couldn’t turn up any examples, before McCain announced Palin as his running mate, in which Palin made any statements at all about Russia or Iran.

My curiosity piqued, I called the McCain press office to see if they could produce any actual quotes in which Palin took a position on either country before she became the vice presidential nominee. To my surprise, they did call me back this time, and promised to get me the information I sought by the end of the day. If and when I hear back, I will, of course, update.

When Caldwell presses McCain to explain what national-security experience Palin, McCain replies:

“Energy. She

I encourage you to go back and read that last quote again. It’s quite a doozy. McCain has certainly set a high bar for Palin’s ABC interviews. I can hardly wait to hear her share her vast expertise with the rest of us.

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