September 23rd, 2008
11:22 AM ET

Palin steps onto the world stage... from New York

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/09/23/art.vert.palin3.jpg width=292 height=320]
Elise Labott
CNN Producer

I arrived in NY this week ready for battle. It’s always a treat to come to “un-ga,” as this week at the United Nations General Assembly is affectionately called, and catch up with friends and contacts from around the world. But we always come knowing that getting from point A to point B will be a lesson in sheer fortitude.

However, this year hasn’t been so bad. Maybe it was my new approach. As a native New Yorker, I usually yell at the policemen stationed around the city to let me through the barriers with no luck. But I was surprised what a knowing smile and a kind word can get you in this city. What could have been a three-hour trip to the UN only took one hour and a half, thanks to some nice men in blue.

It’s not only the cops who seem a lot more patient and cooperative. There is new electricity in the halls of the UN and on the streets on NY this year. Yes, everyone is talking about the same issues: Iran, North Korea, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and aid to Africa. But it is with the realization that next year a new US president will be addressing the UN General Assembly. And everyone is curious, if not downright excited, about the candidates showing up in NY this week and who they will be meeting with.

This year it isn’t about, “will President Bush or Condi Rice see so-and-so leader.” It’s all about it is about, “who is Sarah Palin meeting with?” and, “will Obama show?”

Palin is in NY this week for a crash course on foreign policy. While she is here she is expected to meet the presidents of Afghanistan, Colombia and Georgia as well as Henry Kissinger. Quite a line-up.

But no UNGA visit would be complete for a world leader-in-training without a meeting with Bono. Bob Geldorf and the U2 star gave a press conference Monday to promote a new program to help farmers in Africa cope with the world food crisis. But truth be told, most of the people were really curious about Bono’s planned meeting on Tuesday with Palin.

He’s meeting with her (and McCain, too, by the way but let’s face it, Palin seems to be the big draw here) to discuss his ONE campaign to fight poverty and AIDS around the world. He told us he knows that the candidates aren’t going to bang their chests about Africa every day until the election, but he asked both political parties “not to play politics with the poorest of the poor” this campaign season.

This celebrity tag team (Geldorf refers to himself and Bono as “Mutt and Jeff”) is as well versed on issues related to poverty and Africa as any world leaders. Geldorf , who never pulls any punches, says that in his opinion, “all politicians are wankers,” but noted that President Bush quadrupled aid to Africa on his watch and “good on him.”

Filed under: Global 360° • Raw Politics • United Nations
soundoff (49 Responses)
  1. Emmerentia

    As a South African I must thank America's shananigans with this election campaign for giving the rest of the world so much to laugh about!! Unfortunately the rest of us are also totally mad because Americans voted Bush in for another 4 years resulting in this financial meltdown that is like a hole sucking up not only your, but other inabitants on planet earth's savings and retirement money! God help the world if you allow this "gal from Alaska" to get near the White House!!

    September 23, 2008 at 5:53 pm |
  2. Nutan

    Great job from the media to take a stand and not cover Sarah Palin and her meetings with world leaders! I don't understand how someone can actually run for VP and NOT be required to answer questions from the media...??? Isn't this going against any "running for public office" rule? I am disgusted that she thinks she represents women. She represents everything unfeminine! I want a woman in that position who isn't afraid to show her true colors and answers questions. She sounds like a broken record lately; I can almost finish her statements for her. I am also jealous that she is going to meet Bono!

    September 23, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  3. Thembi

    I think it is pretty interesting how now all of sudden that CNN appears to be a Palin and McCain fan. I am tired of the negative press for the Democratic candidates. CNN needs to be a little more equal in negative press overage for the Republican party.

    The public has given Palin a chance and every time she opens her mouth she makes me embarrassed to be a women in America. I don’t remember the press showing that type of love for Hillary Clinton. Maybe because America doesn’t like a strong woman? That is a thought.

    Thanks to Republican deregulation we are in the situation that we are in right now. The Republicans are still trying to get the rich even richer while the poor and middle class are squeezed for what little money we get in our paycheck. The Republican party has had 8 years in the White House it is time for them to get out!

    September 23, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  4. Deirdre

    Press... you're letting McCain call the shots. NO CAMERAS OR MENTION OF SARAH'S NAME IF YOU CAN'T GET AN INTERVIEW from her for the AMERICAN PEOPLE.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  5. j

    I am switching to MSNBC. At least you do get to see Obama and Biden speak and know that they are still running.. On CNN, it seems as though this campaign it ONLY about Palin/ MCCain . Sometimes after watching CNN I feel as though I live in CHINA or Russia and am only being fed what the powers that be want me to see!

    Wake up Everyone and make your voices heard and vote for someone that has a plan and not just a canned speech . Someone that can face reporters and answers questions and will be a wonderful leader for the middle man and woman, OBAMA! We can all gripe and write our comments, but need to get out and VOTE on election day.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  6. Larry L.

    I hope that Sarah takes questions from the media that will satisfy the most ardent Democrats,things they are dieing to know.How many cars she has,and of course ,how many houses she has.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Keith

    Everything you need to know about palin is on snl.

    September 23, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  8. Michael

    Sarah Palin's crash course in foreign policy reminds me of the old Holiday Inn Express commercials. I would love to see Tina Fey play Gov. Palin on another SNL skit where she addresses reporters and says, "I have no foreign policy experience, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night."

    I spoke to a neurosurgeon yesterday. Is it okay if I remove your brain tumor?

    September 23, 2008 at 3:08 pm |
  9. Kathleen

    Please CNN, we are counting on you to call the Mccain campaign out on their refusal to allow the American voter to hear something besides canned stump speeches. We need to make an informed choice. We deseve better from our media!
    Why are they hiding her?

    September 23, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  10. Carmelita

    Wow! Again CNN and the rest of the news media is making this a big story. Meeting with Bono, OMG, As much as I love Bono and I think he does amazing things with his charities how is he classified as a world leader?

    When are you guys going to vet her the way you did the other candidates? When are you going to come down back to earth? I think all the news media is pissed at Barack that he did'nt choose Hillary so they would have more sensational ratings and so, you guys have decided to be bias and pump Palin up.

    Give me a break, aside from her bridge to no-where speech and her continued reference to McCain being a maverick that woman has little substance. Can you guys get real already and have an indepth interview with her, so we can hear for ourselves where she stands on the issues.

    Putting her out there to energize the republican base is one thing, but now it's time to get back to the real issues America is facing. We are laughing here in Canada. Indeed we see right through you guys.

    I hope that America will wake up out of it's slumber before it's too late


    September 23, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  11. Marcus Portland, Oregon

    Oh my god I cant believe we let her talk to the U.N. I mean they have talked to bush so I guess they will get the same type of conversation.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  12. Kaloma

    If Palin's party doesn't trust her to talk to the media, why should voters trust her to talk to foreign heads of state?

    September 23, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  13. Jay from Arkansas

    Give me a break. Palin meeting with world leaders over a 30 hour period. I'm sure after this meeting the McCain Campaign will now add, "extensive foreign policy" to her shrinking resume. I take it as an insult that she, McCain or anyone else would even think that would impress us as voters. Her popularity is sliding right down the tube along with McCain and they don't have a clue what to do. To top off everything else, she won't even answer questions from the press. PEOPLE, PEOPLE, PEOPLE, wake up and smell the coffee. A VP and poptential president who won't even answer questions before the election. NOT GOOD!!!!!!!
    How about the homecoming her campaign showed her receiving upon her return to Alaska which was attended by about 800 people. Did anyone bother to broadcast the 1400 + Alaskans that were there protesting her. I didn't see that.
    I'm afraid if old John & Sarah were to win this one, it would be the biggest snow job this country every got........

    September 23, 2008 at 2:49 pm |
  14. Frank

    Sarah Palin is an American embarassment in the world stage, McCains apprentice has no business meeting with these leaders. The possibility of this woman holding millions of lives in her hands scares me to death. Only in America!

    September 23, 2008 at 2:45 pm |
  15. Angela

    Why is the media giving special treatment to Sarah Palin??? She should be allowed to answer to as many questions from the press as Hillary dd during the presidential primary.

    This is an outraged!! The media got SCARED just because the Republicans criticized the "Liberal Media". The press need to do their job of letting the public know about all the candidates without special treatment.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  16. L. Read

    If Sarah Palin keeps restricting the press when will the press begin to (finally) restrict her?? - as opposed to giving her a free ride.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  17. Catherine

    It's Geldof btw. But to more important issues...

    I hear the press only got 29 seconds of access to the meeting between Palin and Karzai. Might that be stretched to a minute when she meets with Bono and Geldof? Different rules for celebrities and all that.

    If this woman will not make a case for herself to the public and the press, she does not deserve this attention. I despair.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  18. Susan

    You know they have a lot of nerve asking people to vote for somebody they have never heard of and then not letting anybody get near her to ask her the tough questions. I guess they just want us to know what THEY want us to know. You know you can put "Lipstick" on a Pig... it is still a pig. I think the news should leave her totally out of the picture and headlines until she wants to talk.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  19. Diane Stanesic

    When is the potential VP be made to take questions from the press and how can the republicans get away with it for all this time. She is not experienced and why are more folks not upset about that. Can't you reporters refuse to cover her on the campaign trail along with John McCain since they are tied together until she step up to the plate and take questions, what are they afraid of. Maybe she is nothing more than a soccer Mom and thaqt is it. Please stop covering their campaign until they make her accessable and oh yes they change the debate format because she would be tripped up, well she should be

    September 23, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  20. Blue Carreon

    Is Sarah Palin that shallow that the press can not ask her specific questions about critical issues reguarding our country. How can people eat the wolf cookies she is handing out.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  21. Mindy Chatsworth, Ca.

    Just when I thought that the Republicans couldn't stoop any lower, now we have this photo-op with Palin and world leaders. What will she talk about with them – her hunting skills, the view of Russia from Alaska, the Bush Doctrine? Honestly, this is such a total joke.

    My question is, how long are the American people and the media going to tolerate this woman being deliberately sheltered from honest, forthright questions. We have a right to hear this woman, unscripted for once, without her Republican handlers around to act as censors.

    What are the Republicans hiding and what are they afraid of? This is supposed to be a democracy. You don't get to hide from the people. Let Palin come out from behind the shadows and talk to the people.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  22. Kent, Illinois

    Steve Sober...................

    So if I met with world leaders for a few minutes I would immediately understand the intricacies of the world stage huh? That about sums up the answer to Palin. I've never met a world leader. But, I guess by your summations if I did I would have great foreign relations experience. Just by meeting with them. That is a load of I have ever heard it. And, Palin is a Kindergartener when it comes to the world. Meeting a leader for a few minutes will make absolutely no difference...........

    September 23, 2008 at 2:17 pm |
  23. Kent, Illinois

    Palin seems to be the big draw huh? McCain being secondary. That about sums it up really. McCain is part of the wallpaper. So why on earth would anyone vote him in as President if he is so stunning of a candidate? Lol.............they shouldn't is the answer. and, they won't.........

    Obama/Biden 08

    September 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  24. Susan


    Gov. Palin may not be experienced on the foreign stage, but there is nothing better then having fresh ears for listening and a fresh perspective untainted by past histories.

    Give her a chance!!!!!


    September 23, 2008 at 2:11 pm |
  25. Jeanne

    We don't have enough time to mess around with this or to play games. The American Electorate needs to demand that Sarah Palin make herself available to the press. We need to know a lot more about her. I need to know how she handles the pressure of answering tough question. I need to understand how she views the world.

    How can I make an intelligent decision if I know nothing about a candidate? All I feel that I know about Ms. Palin is she is fond of rhetoric and shows a staggering lack of curiosity about the world.

    I urge CNN and the MSM to boycott all of her appearances until she avails herself to the press.

    September 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  26. Suzanne Bell

    Is this Sarah Palin's first ever trip to New York City?

    September 23, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  27. Fay, CA

    Sarah Palin should not be allowed to coast along with her teleprompters, scripted speeches and photo ops as she has been for weeks without answering questions from the press–and why reporters and the public don't seem to be alarmed and outraged by this is beyond me.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  28. Dorothy C.

    Steve speaks of Palin's experience as commander of the Alaska National Guard. Does he know that last spring, Air Force Major General Craig Campbell warned that "missions are at risk" in the state's units because of a personnel shortage. The lack of qualified airmen, he said, "had reached a crisis level." In a recent interview he said the situation has somewhat improved but not enough to eliminate his concern. So much for Palin's expertise as Commander!
    And meeting with people at the UN does NOT make one an expert on foreign affairs. As Joy Behar put it on Larry King's show, she has met several opera singers, but this doesn't make her ready to sing opera!
    I will feel safe and comfortable with the very thoughtful Senator Barack Obama as my president, and the truly experienced Senator Joe Biden as my vice president.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  29. Maureen, Newman California

    I am horrfied that Palin was allowed to invite herself into the U.N. meetings. She does not represent mainstream America. She is narrowminded, uninformed, and anti-diverse. I am certain she will embarrass herself today, but I do hope that she does not embarrass the United States of America today.

    Interesting that the McCain camp is refusing to allow reporters into the first meeting. I guess they are afraid of what she will say in front of the entire country, unscripted.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  30. Sue from KC

    When is CNN going to report what the other networks have been reporting i.e McCain's campaign's refussal to allow access to Palin dring thes phot ops- Trust me, we don't need any more cute pictures of this woman – it's all so very offensive.
    We need you "news guys" to get tough and report the news. I think the fact she won't give interviews or allow questions is news – same for the road to no where – 1st Dud's political affiliations, etc.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:33 pm |
  31. Manish

    Well, she's been in the limelight for quite a while. Looks like McCain made the right choice and Barack's regretting he didn't pick Hilary as his running mate.

    Can't wait to find out what happens in the elections in November though I feel Obama is leading.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  32. Patrick

    Louis Faracon, today annouced his full support for Obama, Cooper please keep it real! "Black America will have a voice". Rev. Wright, Minister Faracon, terrorist William Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn, does anybody see pattern? Who is Obama? It's great that Gov. Palin from Wassila hits the Int. stage, but come on, who is going break this story?

    September 23, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  33. Gilby-HI

    All of a sudden a American woman is meeting with world leaders and the world is seeing a part of our nation that is not big city politics. It is not wheather Gov. Palin is ready , it is if the old boy can deal. Huey Sanchez may not like the smell of baby power but his new Soviet jet fighters would be great hunting targets.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  34. Ann.

    Don’t be fooled by the photo ops. Does not make up for the fortitude, understanding, temperament, knowledge and understanding or lack there of, of Global Politics in today’s world. Nothing will change. She does not bring anything to the table nor will she offer anything on the World stage.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  35. Gilby-HI

    All of a sudden a American woman is meeting with world leaders and the world is seeing a part of our nation that is not big city politics. It is not wheather Gov. Palin is ready , it is if the old boy can deal. Huey Sanchez my not like the smell of baby power but his new Soviet jet fighters would be great hunting targets.

    September 23, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  36. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    What amazes me about this article Elise and Anderson is that the titile .... Palin steps onto the World stage' seems to indicate one will read some details about Palin. In fact there is only one sentence that mentions her at by name and it says nothing other than who she's going to meet. It's more focused on her planned meeting with Bono from U2.

    What nonsense. Granted Bono is doing some good things in Africa and for humanity but what for goodness sakes is Palin going to even begin to relate to him on. I don't think Bono hunts animals with automatic weapons and I haven't red anything about him having an interest in snowmobiles. I'm Henry K. , however, will the REAL person any of these individuals want to actually have meaningful discussions with.

    Just look at our political system and what is producing folks. this is an embarassment at the most high level. Republican or Democrat what has happened to those great statesmen likr Mr. Kissinger that have shaped and molded our world to be a better safer place for us and our children ? Thats what this meeting at the UN should be about not about Palin or her empty orange camoflaged hunting suited husband Todd meeting behind closed dorrs with foreign leaders ... discussing what? ......... If this is what we have become we should be openly ashamed of ourselves !

    September 23, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  37. Roseann Gerson

    PLEASE someone tell me why the press isn't making a big deal about Palin taking NO press questions, etc. Can you believe a candidate one heartbeat away from the presidency has made her completely UNAVAILABLE to any press!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Why is that not being said?!?!?!?!??

    September 23, 2008 at 1:02 pm |
  38. Raphael

    Could it be possible that Palin and McCain receive a crash course on human rights, common sense and truth awareness and practice? It is quite interesting that although they presume of having a "political portfolio" and while being so critical of Barack Obama they are living proof that more often than not credentials are not necessarily a warranty of competence. We all know how politics work: it's all about connections, influence and an ubiquitous ability to cover the truth up!!
    We don't need political practices (not to say politicians) who rely on old tricks and manias but healthy discerning plans to take us out of the mess that the current administration blindly and arrogantly brought us into. It is time to wake up, drop all fears and psychic aberrations so we can drive our country out of this madness with the awareness that we are all interconnected and should all care for the common good and not for only for selfish and pitiful reasons. Let evolution continue it's steps; drop old tired tactics and accept the refreshing challenges that change offers. Love and peace to ALL (democrats and republicans).

    September 23, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  39. Helen

    I do hope that what I heard about CNN pulling their coverage of Palin is true. No one worthy of being on CNN or in any media has the right to decide who, when, and how that coverage is done. There should never be preferential treatment like she has gotten from CNN or any other news agencies.

    September 23, 2008 at 12:30 pm |
  40. Trish

    Well I sure hope as she steps on the stage she can delight her audience with more than a speech from a Teleprompter but I seriously doubt it! Quite a line up of meetings for sure! But none of the meetings will add to her less than thin International, Political, Second in Command Experience Portfolio! Meetings are not what experience entails and experience or Political savvy is not what Palin possesses.
    I also have to wonder how far she'll stretch the Truth on the New York Stage!

    September 23, 2008 at 12:29 pm |
  41. Curious

    She has to have a "crash course" on foreign policy??? Geez!!! Will McCain and Palin have to take a crash course everytime something happens? Wonder what their grade will be??

    September 23, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  42. Dan Stewart

    Following in the footsteps of Bush, another religious zealot with no grasp of the complexities of international relations will go ahead and embarrass the USA. I can only imagine the horror of the international community as this hollow political vessel rolls into town to demonstrate how far the requirements for leadership of the US have fallen. Tragic.

    September 23, 2008 at 12:12 pm |
  43. tom cassidy-florida

    The people are not stupid, even though the republicans think we are stupid. A quick meet & greet is nothing more than that. As usual she will not take questions. I will be waiting to see if Todd has his nose in these meet & greets, he is far to involved in official meetings, business and correspondence in Alaska and that is totally unacceptable in the U.S. government. With this guys past and record I don't want him anywhere near D.C..

    September 23, 2008 at 12:05 pm |
  44. Cindy

    I think that everyone would like to be a fly on the wall in each of these meetings that Palin will do with each of these world leaders and also Bono. You have to wonder what will be said behind closed doors.

    And you know Obama will show up. He's not going to be out staged plus he'll use it as a political ploy as they all do.


    September 23, 2008 at 12:02 pm |
  45. Haneef Shakur

    Please do not allow Sarah Palin to get by with not answering questions from reporters. All she has done is stump and participate in selected interviews. The media and the public should be outraged! DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS!!!!!!!

    September 23, 2008 at 11:52 am |
  46. Presley

    Yes, I too was taken a back when I heard Palin was meeting with Bono and Bob Geldoff. And the Democrats get criticized for the Celebrity factor, uh huh.
    I am a fan of the Rockstar/Celebrity Brigade of Do-Gooders BUT it is not lost on myself and others that this is an oh so elementary attempt at more useless, photo op'd, shameless endeavors for the Republicans and an empty and shallow move.
    Vanity be thy name.
    Hypocrisy be thy Leader.
    It's Magic.

    September 23, 2008 at 11:44 am |
  47. Iman Jafar

    Its funny, but it seems the repubicans stole the idea of 'country first" from Jordan. Jordan has a big thing called "Jordan First" Maybe the Jordanian government should ask for the copy rights. But then...these are the republicans for you. Steal everything and tweak it, in away that will favor their own interests

    September 23, 2008 at 11:43 am |
  48. Steve Sober

    It occurs to me that after Sarah has met with people at the UN and becomes an expert on world affaris and diplomacy, she has another strong credential to bring to McCain. I've not seen anyone refer to the fact that her experience as Commander In Chief of the Alaska National Gurad not only qualifies her to become CIC of the United States forces, it trumps McCain's command of only a squadron.

    Her superior military command experience is an obvious addition to the Republican Campaign's resume and I don't understand why the media haven't focused on this. It must be because of their left wing bias.

    September 23, 2008 at 11:41 am |
  49. Pati Mc, Camp Hill, PA

    Bob Geldorf summed it all up in 4 little words. Good on YOU Bob!

    September 23, 2008 at 11:41 am |