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The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

McCain Camp Responds On Palin’s Russia and Iran Positions

Iram Martins
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Sep 12, 2008

I posted earlier about an interview Sen. John McCain gave yesterday to a Portland, Me., TV station, in which McCain puffed up Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s national-security credentials by asserting she “was right” on Russia and Iran. Unfortunately, he didn’t elaborate. Here’s what he said:

“[Palin] was right on the issues…She was right about Iraq, Sen. Obama was wrong. She has more experience than Sen. Obama does. She was right on Russia, Obama was wrong as he made moral equivalency between Russia and Georgia at the time Russia attacked. She was right on Iran, when he’s been wrong on Iran. She doesn’t want to sit down in face to face negotiations with Ahmadinejad or the other leader. She’s right on foreign policy, Sen. Obama is wrong.”

I couldn’t find any examples of Palin making any statements on either Russia or Iran before she became McCain’s running mate, so I contacted the McCain campaign press office to see if they could help me find such a quote.

The response: when McCain said “she was right” about Russia and Georgia, he was referring to her speech at the Republican National Convention, said McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Ben Porritt.

He directed me to the following excerpt:

“With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers. To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies … or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia … or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries … we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas. And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we’ve got lots of both.” (Gov. Sarah Palin, Remarks At The Republican National Convention, Saint Paul, MN, 9/3/08)

It was widely reported that Palin’s speech was written by Matthew Scully, a former speech-writer for President George W. Bush. Yes, Palin does mention the names of both countries, but she doesn’t take much of a position on either country, other than we need to become more energy independent. I guess she is right there.

However, McCain implies Palin “was right” for taking positions that he defined in the interview, and as he defined them, they are shockingly similar to his own. There’s no evidence that she shared any of these positions before she joined the ticket. The campaign’s explanation seems a stretch, to say the least.

Iram Martins | Personal trainer. Aspiring sommelier. Brunch critic who works part-time. When I'm not competing, you'll find me at dog beaches with my black lab or sipping drinks at the best bars in town. I like to fly a lot.


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