Palin Contradicts McCain On Pakistan, Seems To Back Obama's Position

(CBS)
From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

(PHILADELPHIA) Sarah Palin told a customer at a Philadelphia restaurant on Saturday that the United States should "absolutely" launch cross-border attacks from Afghanistan into Pakistan in the event that it becomes necessary to "stop the terrorists from coming any further in," a comment similar to the one John McCain condemned Barack Obama for making during last night's presidential debate.

During Friday's debate, Obama criticized the Bush administration for sending billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan without ridding the border region of terrorists.

"If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out," Obama added.

McCain fired back hard, arguing that newly elected Pakistani president Asif Ali Zardari has had his "hands full" and suggesting that Obama's tough talk was naïve.

"You don't say that out loud," McCain said. "If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government."

Palin's apparent disagreement with McCain's position on Pakistan came as the Alaska governor was picking up a couple of cheesesteaks at Tony Luke's in South Philadelphia. She was approached by a man wearing a Temple University t-shirt, who later identified himself as Michael Rovito.

"How about the Pakistan situation?" Rovito asked. "What's your thoughts about that."

"In Pakistan?" Palin responded.

"What's going on over there, like Waziristian?"

"It's working with Zardari to make sure that we're all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border," Palin said. "And we'll go from there."

"Waziristan is blowing up," Rovito replied.

"Yeah, it is," Palin said. "And the economy there is blowing up, too."

"So we do cross-border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?" Rovito asked.

"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin said.

In her first national television interview after becoming the Republican vice presidential nominee, Palin was pressed by ABC's Charlie Gibson on whether the U.S. should launch cross-border attacks into Pakistan. She said that the United States "must do whatever it takes" to thwart Islamic extremists and said, "America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell bent on destroying America and our allies."

But Palin did not, at that time, explicitly express her support for cross-border attacks, as she did at the Philadelphia restaurant on Saturday.
  • Scott Conroy On Twitter»

    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.

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