Palin: War with Russia may be needed
Published: Thursday September 11, 2008

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Mike Sheehan, David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster contributed to this report.

**UPDATE AT BOTTOM: Palin doesn't know what the "Bush doctrine" is, tells ABC she thought it means Bush's "world view," dodges question on US attacks in Pakistan.

McCain running mate Sarah Palin's first press interview since accepting her VP nod had ABC's Charlie Gibson asking her about the recent Russia-Georgia fracas and to clarify her assertion in June that the Iraq war was a "task" from God.

ABC released early excerpts of the interview. Among the early highlights:

* Palin says she immediately accepted the VP offer from Sen. McCain, despite misgivings Gibson suggested she might have. "I didn't hesitate," she said. "I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink. So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate."

* Asked about the "task from God" statement, Palin at first claimed the quote wasn't exact, but Gibson confirmed it. He then asked, "Are we fighting a holy war?" Palin then claimed that she was repeated "Abraham Lincoln's words" and further explained, "I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. ... I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given ... and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan."

* Gibson pressed, asking her if she was sending her son, who is deploying to Iraq, on a task that is from God. Replied Palin, "I don't know if the task is from God. ... What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer."

* Gibson then brought up Russia's recent invasion of Georgia, an act roundly condemned by the Bush administration and by McCain himself. He asked Gibson if the US would be compelled to answer militarily under the NATO treaty if Russia again invaded Georgia. Palin answered, "Perhaps so. I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help."

* Expanding on her answer, Palin said, "[W]e've got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable."

The full interview will air on ABC this evening.

Palin tells Gibson she 'didn't blink' at VP offer

ABC's Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin if she has the experience to be vice president.

This video is from, broadcast September 11, 2008.

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Palin walks back Iraq war 'task from God' remark

ABC's Charlie Gibson asked Sarah Palin if she believed that the Iraq war was part of God's plan.

This video is from, broadcast September 11, 2008.

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**FROM TOP: Palin doesn't know what the "Bush doctrine"' is; Tells ABC she thought it means Bush's "world view," dodges question on US attacks in Pakistan.

GIBSON: "Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?"

PALIN: "In what respect, Charlie?"

GIBSON: "The Bush ... Well, what do you interpret it to be?"

PALIN: "His world view."

GIBSON: "No. The Bush doctrine. Annunciated in 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 -- and that's the beauty of American elections of course, and democracy -- is with new leadership comes opportunity to do things better."

GIBSON: "The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is we have the right of anticipatory self defense. We have the right to a preemptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?"

PALIN: "Charlie, if there is legitimate and enough intelligence that tells us that a strike is imminent against American people, we have every right 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 gonna 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. In fact, war has got to be a last option."

GIBSON: "But governor, I'm asking you, do we have the right to go across the border, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government?"

PALIN: "In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America and our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions in where we go and even who we target."

GIBSON: "And let me finish with this. I just, I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Was that a yes? You think we have the right to go across the border, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government, to go after terrorists... ?"

PALIN: "I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table."

This video is from ABC's World News, broadcast September 11, 2008.

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