September 22nd, 2008
10:33 AM ET

Does popularity as governor qualify you to be president?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/22/art.mccainpalin.jpg]

Randi Kaye | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

If you happened to catch “60 Minutes” last night you may remember the moment John McCain was asked by correspondent Scott Pelley, “Is Sarah Palin qualified to be President?”

McCain’s response: “Absolutely.”

Pelley asked again: “Qualified for President?”

McCain responded again without flinching: “Absolutely.”

John McCain then went on to explain his reasoning, noting that within her own state, Palin is the “most popular governor in the country.”

Does popularity as governor qualify you to be president?

What about foreign credentials?

60 Minutes asked what kind of foreign or international experience Palin has, but McCain sidestepped that one.

While I was in Alaska the last two weeks covering Palin, the McCain/Palin campaign had announced Sarah Palin had visited Iraq. A campaign spokesman told me she had been inside Iraq during a trip with the Alaska National Guard. He told me he was “100 percent” sure, and that this was “a fact.”

But the military doesn't back that up. And two sources at the Alaska National Guard told us that Sarah Palin never stepped foot inside Iraq. She went to the Iraq/Kuwait checkpoint but never passed through. She stayed on the Kuwaiti side, we were told, because she didn’t have the proper paperwork to get into Iraq.

Also, the press had been told Palin had visited Ireland, only to be told days later by the campaign “it was a refueling stop.” That doesn't exactly qualify as a visit to a foreign country.

This week, Palin will be getting a bit of a crash course in foreign relations. She’ll be meeting with Henry Kissinger, President Karzai and President Uribe of Colombia. Also, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Ukranian President Viktor Yushchenko among others. Will that make her better qualified to be President, if something were to happen to John McCain?

Or is she already qualified, as McCain says?

Filed under: John McCain • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Gloria

    I am appalled at what Palin is able to get away with in this campaign. Why is McCain sheltering her? And why aren't the media making more of a fuss about it and pointing out the unfairness of it all? At the same time, I think her flaws will be evident as time goes on. The bloom is already off the rose!

    September 23, 2008 at 1:37 am |
  2. Liz

    I can't believe that the media has given so much attention to this topic, instead of focusing on the real problems with this woman. Such as why was her town charging RAPE VICTIMS for test kits while she was mayor? and why are Alaska's programs for giving the necessary aid to DOMESTIC VIOLENCE victims so underfunded? or why does Alaska have the HIGHEST percentage of VIOLENT CRIMES committed against wome in the country? I guess that's just the kind of advocate she's going to be in the white house!!!

    September 23, 2008 at 12:13 am |
  3. Candi

    I keep hearing people bring up Obama's inexperience, but he made the responsible choice by actually putting the country first and picking Biden as his choice for VP to help enhance and back his ticket in case situations on foreign policy or if something happens to him(God forbid) we actually have an experience VP. but John mcCain picks Palin who is just popular in her small state of Alaska(and even now we are finding out that may not be true) and they make up lies about her experience and abilities to lead. Be real he is the oldest man running for president and has had cancer before, if something happens to him or this country(God Forbid) we are S.O.L with Palin. you may think this is no cause to worry, but you need think about american enemies as well. they may see this choice of her as a weakness and they may see that as an open opportunity to once again, threaten america. Think about it? this is not high school folks and we are not voting for the prom queen nor the school VP. This is america! wake up!
    and the answer is NO!!

    September 22, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  4. elaine

    well, for the last 16 years etc., it seems the qualified have done pretty bad, programs, nafta, financial crisis, so may be she is qualified. COMMON SENSE MAYBE.

    September 22, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  5. BKoi

    Well, I guess it does , if I'm qualified to be an astronaut after visiting Cape Canaveral ! GIVE ME A BREAK ! This person should apply for the next Covergirl spread ! I think free lipstick and scripts telling her what to say are part of the deal!!

    September 22, 2008 at 10:38 pm |
  6. kay, Huntsville, AL

    I respect Palin. Just because she may seem like a sweet woman and not as knowledgeable on foreighn policy does not mean she is stupid. Sometimes the simple people are the ones who really care about the average person. Sometimes they are not just blinded by greed...

    September 22, 2008 at 10:27 pm |
  7. Dave

    It is unbelievable that someone such as Sarah Palin could even stand a chance to be considered a VP candidate! I'm so disappointed in anyone who could be such a strong supporter in McCain and Palin. Please, stick to facts. Use your head. Vote for Obama.

    September 22, 2008 at 10:26 pm |
  8. Alene Mac

    I guess the McCain people think we are just stupid if we believe Sarah Palin meeting with the heads of state at the United Nations gives her foreign policy experience. Of course, the people who are going to vote for McCain are very blind to the truth. This is nothing more than a photo op and doesn't give her any more forsight than when she was mayor. I guess if you can see Russia from your bedroom window, well, that is important. Give me a break!!!!!!! LOL

    September 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  9. lisa

    i feel experience counts for something, but more importantly honesty, transparency, education, wisdom, and common sense counts for much more...truly all i've seen from mccain is flip flops, LIES, misstatements and hypocrisy...all anyone has to do is search youtube and inform yourselves of mccains instability.....the answer should be clear to vote for obama/biden

    September 22, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  10. mike

    McCain's choice is better then Obama's choice. Biden is a joke and I feel thats the deal that will ruin the chance at Obama being next president. Foot-in -the mouth is not a great facter for Obama. This is the FIRST mistake in a very long line of mistakes for Obama if he becomes president. Plus he's an Islam who's fooling people and telling his supporters that he's really a Christian. He's anti-American and doesn't have America's best intrest in mind. Sorry Obama, but your not fooling the fundamental strong right.

    September 22, 2008 at 9:45 pm |
  11. Cory

    Wow....as non-funny as this election is, this article made me chuckle. McCain must think that because Palin lives in Alaska which is near Russia she must also have foreign policy experience as well. This is a joke; I cannot believe American politics has come to this. The Republican party in my opinion has come to represent everything that is wrong with this country: greed, impatience, and lets not forget, STUPIDITY.

    September 22, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  12. Bea

    Does popularity as governor qualify you to be president? NO!!!!!!

    September 22, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  13. kim Independence, Mo.

    The McComplain ticket is a joke! I guess they think the American people are so stupid that they will believe all of their lies and innuendos and pay no attention to the facts. He is reckless and she is utterly unqualified so through his recklessness he chose her and now will not let anyone talk to her because of her lack of qualification! They seem to like being perceived as victims because all they do is lie and then cry that everyone is lying about them??? What is up with this ridiculous duo? Please Please do not prove them right in that the American people are as stupid as they are hoping we are!!!!! Do we really want to be the laughing stock of the rest of the world again for the next 4 to 8 years? Enough!

    September 22, 2008 at 7:40 pm |
  14. Greg

    Doesnt this whole presidential campaign seem like a season of Survivor?

    Small town Sarah gets sent to exile island where she finds the immunity from all scrutiny idol. Upon her return to the tribe this small potato woman teams up with the big shot boys and quietly hangs around, tells them what they want to hear while laughing to herself. Then out of right field she backstabs them all in a viscious coup as all the Hillary alliance come around and deem her worthy.

    Sadly in this era of reality TV, so many people have lost touch with reality that popularity plays a big role in how they make decisions.

    Does Sarah Palins popularity qualify her for the position of president though, probably not. But in this mockery of a presidental campaign where the people are forced to choose between 2 pathetic tickets, why not.

    September 22, 2008 at 6:15 pm |
  15. Fay, CA

    McCain's reckless choice of the incredibly unqualified Palin makes me question his judgment. Palin has had to be shielded from tough questioning by reporters since the day she was announced as McCain's pick–if the McCain team had actually believed she was a strong candidate in the first place, she would've been handling press conferences on day one. And Palin's so-called popularity in Alaska is really debatable.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  16. Carol B., Virginia

    There seems to be quite a bit of concern regarding her national and international myopic views. While she has had some political success, she and the campaign have been spinning yarns that have come undone. What about the plane on eBay, the Ireland & Iraq stories, the bridge to nowhere and other untruths? Hunting aside ( I'm not crazy about it, but unless you're a complete vegan who should throw stones?) I worry about her views regarding responsible gun ownership. We have an epidemic of shootings in this country where mentally ill people have easy access to guns. Lock up the guns or don't have them. Also, while many of us have never ended pregnancies and are happy with our decisions, we cannot walk in another woman's shoes. Her views are extreme and not everyone from different cultures and religions in this country share her views. Maybe her glasses need a different prescription.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  17. Lesley

    On the other hand, maybe so. And if so, Obama is eminently qualified to be president because he is overwhelming popular here at home as well as abroad, he is more of a celebrity than Paris Hilton, and let's not forget that he has been proclaimed the Messiah by John McCain himself.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  18. Judi G.

    Palin was chosen as McCain's running mate to shake up an otherwise dead campaign and for nothing else. Her political "career" is loaded with ethic violations, and the reality is, she can't even keep drama out of her family, much less her governorship.

    A resounding... NO.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  19. twiggy

    palin is under investigation and mccain is obstructing justice.
    lies, cover ups. and this is before they get elected.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  20. MW, California

    Gilby – Why don't you go on the FAUX news site? That might be more your style.

    I read these often and see opinions from all sides.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  21. Tyrone


    Gov.Palin does not have the proper judgement to be President of the United State of America! The shameful thing is that she knows it and McCain knows it!The only foreign policy experince she has. Is that she can see Russia from Alaska! THAT IS IT! Think about her going up against the President of Russia or the President of the Russian Federation. Or having to deal with the Iraqi government. Gov.Palin has to be truthful for the country and just tell the truth about her judgement or lack of it. This country already voted in a idiot (PRESIDENT BUSH) that cause the needless death of American troops. And started two war that should have only been one! How will Palin deal with the many Americans losing there home and jobs. Giving taxs breaks to the rich NEVER WORKS!And that is the only plan McCain has. McCain is too old and out of touch with America and the world. He said he does not know how to use a computer. Now he is saying it's because of his injury as a POW! THAT IS BULL! People without arms and are blind use the computer daily. McCain will say and do anything to be President BUT "'Tell the truth! Palin is a token female BRAINLESS & STUPID...Just like McCain and Bush!

    September 22, 2008 at 1:26 pm |
  22. Gilby-HI

    I have written a lot of blogs on this page and very few have been posted. CNN only post if you are slanted left. What is with that?

    September 22, 2008 at 1:25 pm |
  23. Kristi

    If I knew that all I had to do to become nominated for VP was go to a foreign country once (which I have been to Germany) and be a member of the PTA, I would have joined the PTA a long time ago! If they get elected and something happens to John MCCain I don't want to be stuck with that idiot as the commander and chief.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  24. Charlotte D


    First off, I think you are being fair. Since when is raising questions unfair? The sidestepping going on in this election rivals the Electric Slide.

    Being a popular Governor does not qualify you for higher office, just as being an unpopular Governor disqualifies you for higher office. What counts is the depth, breath and quality of experience in terms of your education, job experience and life experience. And this "seasoning" is not necessarily a reflection of your age. Palin said herself that her visit to Iraq–I mean the checkpoint to get into Iraq–changed her life. As did her visit to Ireland–I mean what she saw from the window at the airport while her plane was refeuled. That is what having a passport and traveling to other countries does for you. That is what living and working in various parts of the country does for you. You broaden your life experience and gain an appreciation for how others live and the problems they face, esp if you say you want "to serve the people."

    So is she as qualified NOW as the other candidates on the two tickets–no and no. Could she be at some point–sure.

    Charlotte D, Stockton CA

    September 22, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  25. Michael, NC

    If popularity decides it, then Biden wouldn't be in the picutre. He is a nobody, for good reason. CNN, get off your knees in front of Obama. Stop ripping on the republicans for this. The two republicans have over double the experience of the democrats, but you don't question them. You stay blinded by the light that is Obama. Look at some real issues for a change. The blog has become nothing more than a place to rip on McCain and Palin.

    September 22, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
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