Sarah Palin Defends Experience, Takes Hard Line Approach on National Security
Republican VP Candidate Speaks with ABC News' Charles Gibson in Exclusive Interview
By RUSSELL GOLDMANGo To Original
On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, Gov. Sarah Palin took a hard-line approach on national security and said that war with Russia may be necessary if Georgia were to join NATO and be invaded by Russia.
In her first of three interviews with ABC News' Charles Gibson and the only interview since being picked by Sen. John McCain as his Republican vice presidential nominee, Palin categorized the Russian invasion of Georgia as "unacceptable" and warned of the threats from Islamic terrorists and a nuclear Iran.
See Excerpts of Charles Gibson's Interview With Sarah Palin HERE.
The governor advocated for the admittance of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO.
When Gibson said if under the NATO treaty, the United States would have to go to war if Russia again invaded Georgia, Palin responded: "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.
"And we'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," she told Gibson.
Watch Charles Gibson's exclusive interviews with Gov. Sarah Palin beginning tonight on "World News" and "Nightline." Charles Gibson will do three interviews with Palin today and tomorrow. More Friday on "Good Morning America " at 7 a.m. ET," "World News" and on "20/20," which will broadcast a one-hour special edition at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.
Palin, who obtained her first passport last year and who has served just two years as Alaska's governor, told Gibson that she was up to the challenge of being Sen. John McCain's vice president.
"I answered [McCain] '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.
Palin sat down with Gibson on a day that was filled with wrenching memories and solemn ceremonies for the nearly 3,000 people who died in the 9/11 attacks seven years ago.
It was also the day that Palin, the mother of five, attended a deployment ceremony for her oldest son, Track, an Army infantryman whose Stryker unit is being shipped off to Iraq later this month.
Palin defended a previous statement in which she reportedly characterized the war in Iraq as a "task from God".
Gibson quoted her as saying: "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."
But Palin said she was referencing a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.
"I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."
When asked if she believed she was "sending [her] son on a task that is from God," Palin said: "I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. 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."