Asked For Policy Specifics, Palin Offers Generalities

(CBS)
From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

(GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.) Standing beside John McCain at her first town hall meeting since being named to the Republican ticket, Sarah Palin was asked what specific skills she would bring to the White House to "mitigate that concern" of her perceived lack of foreign policy experience.

"Well, I think because I am a Washington outsider that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize and they can kind of beat the candidate here who chose me as his partner to kinda tear down the ticket," Palin said. But as for foreign policy, you know I think that I am prepared, and I know that on January 20th if we are so blessed as to be sworn into office as your president and vice president, certainly we'll be ready. I'll be ready. I have that confidence. I have that readiness and if you want specifics with specific policy or countries, go ahead. You can ask me. You can play stump the candidate if you want to. But we are ready to serve."

McCain then offered Palin's experience in negotiating a $40 billion natural gas pipeleine and serving as the commander of Alaska's National Guard.

"In fact, you may know that on September 11th a large contingent of the Alaska guards deployed to Iraq and her son happened to be one of them," McCain said. "So I think she understands our national security challenges and we've had many conversations, and I believe I'm convinced she understands the challenges this nation faces from the threat of radical Islamic extremism as she already talked about earlier energy issues and other challenges this nation faced, and I believe she is absolutely totally qualified to address every challenge of this next vice president of the United States, not just our national security needs."

Update: Palin Spokesperson Tracey Schmitt offered the following experiences that Palin would bring to the table on foreign policy:

"As the Governor of one of our largest energy producing states, Governor Sarah Palin is uniquely qualified to speak to one of the most pressing foreign policy issues of our time; achieving independence from foreign oil.

She is Governor of the only state with two international borders – a land border with Canada and a maritime border with Russia.

She has executive experience, has promoted trade of Alaskan products to over 100 foreign destinations and met with dozens of international trade delegations.

Last year she traveled to the Middle East to visit members of the deployed Alaska National Guard troops and she has also visited wounded US troops in Germany."

Earlier at the town hall meeting, a woman rose to speak and said was a Democrat who previously supported Hillary Clinton but now backed the Republican ticket.

"Give us some details and examples of your strategies and plan for economic empowerment for women," she said.

McCain signaled for Palin to answer the question.

"Well first let me take a shot at that, and I'll tell ya, I'm a product of Title IX in our schools, where equal education and equal opportunities in sports really helped propel me into the—I guess into the position that I'm in today where," Palin said.

McCain then interjected, "Could I mention she was a point guard on a state championship basketball team."

After the crowd's applause died down, Palin continued: "Sports were very, very important to me growing up, you know just learning about self discipline and healthy competition and about what it takes to win and even how to graciously lose sometimes. But how to win, that's what it teaches ya. Now, I was a product of Title IX where legislation allowed that equal opportunity. Now if we have to still keep going down that road to create more legislation, to get with it in the 21st century, to make sure that women do have equality especially in the work place, then we're there because we understand that in this age we have all got to be working together. I respect you so much that you are a Democrat recognizing that John McCain and me as a team of mavericks understand where you're coming from, and we can work together on these issues. But yup, equality for women, for all, that's going to be part of the agenda and I thank you for that question."

McCain then added that equal education for all would be a priority of his administration, including the ability for lower-income female students to attend charter schools and to use school vouchers. He said that he would make an effort to hire women in his administration and to take people to court if they were found to be discriminating.

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