Palin’s speech closed off to press to make her feel ‘comfortable’
(AFP) – Former US vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin is expected to speak about US foreign policy and China in her first keynote speech outside North America, Hong Kong organisers said on Monday.
Palin, mocked during last year’s presidential campaign for her lack of experience in foreign affairs and for her verbal gaffes, is due to address hundreds of financial big-hitters at the CLSA Investors’ Forum on Wednesday.
“We have asked her to address US foreign policy, to discuss her views on governance, healthcare, and of course, China,” Jonathan Slone, chief executive officer of the Asia-focused brokerage, said in an interview with AFP.
Palin was chosen to speak since she’s a possible Republican candidate in the next US presidential election and because of her influential role in politics, he said.
But CLSA, an arm of French bank Credit Agricole, decided to close Palin’s session to the media after the former Alaska governor indicated that she would have to adjust her speech if reporters were present, Slone said.
“We are very pleased with her attitude towards us. Sarah could have come here and made a media circus,” he said.
“But we said to her, ‘Look, we want you to give the most information to our clients. Do you feel comfortable doing that with the press around?’
“She said, ‘If I do that with the press in the room, I will have to say different things.'”
Slone said they decided to close the event to media because the primary objective of the annual forum was to let their clients get hold of as much industry-related information from the speakers as possible.
He said they had had many closed-door sessions in previous years for the same reason.
Past speakers at the annual CLSA event include former US president Bill Clinton, Clinton’s vice-president Al Gore and ex-Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan.