September 30th, 2008
10:04 AM ET

You CAN see Russia from here!

Program Note: Governor Sarah Palin said you can actually see Russia from an island in Alaska. Our Gary Tuchman went to find this island... Watch his full report tonight on AC360.

Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360 Correspondent

When talking about what she says is her foreign policy experience, Sarah Palin told ABC news "...you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."
That quote made us want to go to that island.

So we did.

The island is called Little Diomede. It looks like a rock plopped into the Bering Strait. Only about 150 Alaskans live on the whole island. And just about two miles away; in full view of every single house on the island is the nation of Russia. Specifically, it is the Russian Island of Big Diomede which sits about 25 miles from the Russian Siberian mainland (which you can also see from the American island.) Most everybody on Little Diomede had relatives who lived on Big Diomede.

But decades ago, the Russian government sent them all to the mainland, and today, Big Diomede is limited to a Russian military presence. It's also a full day in front of Little Diomede because it's on the other side of the International Date Line. Little Diomede is fascinating. It looks like the moon would if you built a lunar settlement. It's full of rocks, dirt, and craters. We were curious if Sarah Palin has ever visited this island. According to the natives, the answer is no.

As a matter of fact, no Alaska governor in the state's nearly 50 year history has ever visited the remote outpost that still has little running water. We were curious what the Little Diomeders thought about Palin's claim of foreign policy experience because of the proximity of Siberia. Interestingly, many of these Alaskans had no idea who Sarah Palin was! It turns out they have no TV on the island, and therefore, many don't follow the news.

The island's mayor has heard of her though. No American mayor resides in a city closer to Russia than Andrew Milligrock, and he says being two miles from Russia doesn't give him any foreign policy expertise.

He does say she seems like an okay governor, but exclaims she should probably pay a visit to Little Diomede sometime. It may not help her foreign policy experience says the mayor, but would definitely help her domestic policy experience. We hope you'll watch our story about this most unique American island tonight on AC360.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Raw Politics • Sarah Palin • TV
soundoff (201 Responses)
  1. eric

    I live here in the Black Hills of South Dakota, not quite as remote as Alaska. I will be running for president of the US in 2012 due to the fact that I can see the presidents faces on Mt. Rushmore from my property. And don't question me, it would be un-American.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  2. Mike

    How many of you knew that Russia was within 2 miles of the United States? Yeah, hahaha, lol let's all make fun (the see the moon joke was freaking hilarious) but you shouldn't (even if you can) joke away relevence.

    Red Herrings are nice, but I'm sick of sensationalism on the news. Can you see Russia from Alaska? Yes. What implications does that have and why are they important? Does she have a liason in Russia that she works with for any issues that may arise? What about Russian Military exercises in the area? And american exercises in the area?

    I love to laugh as much as the next guy, but if I want to laugh and find something out relevant to the news, I'll watch The Daily Show with Jon Stewart...when I watch CNN I want to be thoroughly and reputably formed. I have seem more typos, bad grammar and sensational B.S. in the past year than I can recall.

    My bumper sticker will read "I voted for Hillary". I'm sure advertising revenue and viewer count hit record highs this election season...but quality of content and degree to which viewers and voters were informed is at a record low...which is obvious.

    September 30, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  3. Tracey

    You've actually BEEN to the island? Now you're qualified to run the country! Congrats. 🙂

    September 30, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  4. keith

    you all are anti-american and when McCain wins you can go live in russia

    September 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  5. KPO


    The 1st half of your comment obliterates the 2nd half. Why would Russia want to take over a godforsaken place like Little Diomede? Not much to take over. And obviously they rather spend time in the Caucasus.

    Jim, love your comment! Let's all apply to NASA based on your experience 🙂

    September 30, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  6. Carol

    I hear that during winter there is an ice bridge between Little Diomede and big Diomede. That's how the relatives used to commute to visit family. It's a renewable resource, but not available during what can loosely be called "summer".
    This area is definitely remote.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  7. Worix

    Ecah day the thought of if McCain wins and Palin actually is an heartbeat away from the Presidency scares me each time Palin opens up her mouth!!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 3:25 pm |
  8. Susan

    Sarah Palin better call in sick Thursday.

    September 30, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  9. S Clark

    I can see a bank from my living room. Does that qualify as "Banking/Financial Experience"? If so, I'd like to add that to my resume. It might come in handy when the company that I work for goes under, lays me off, and closes its doors.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:28 pm |
  10. Jenn

    I can see my boss's office from my desk... I guess that makes me next in line for president of my company!!!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:27 pm |
  11. Karen

    A very accomplished women to be sure. Lot's to be proud of, but clearly over her head in this. I actually felt sorry for her during her interviews.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  12. Dissappointed Viewer

    When Palin made that comment about being close to Russia she said it underscored how small the world is and that we have to work with people overseas...a pretty reasonable statement I'd say. Why doesn't the media...especially CNN... put Palin's or McCain's statements in context instead of playing gotcha journalism. Is it too much work, or are you folks in the tank for Obama?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:26 pm |
  13. Petu - FL

    I cannot even see Publix from my balcony, and she can see Russia from her hometown.

    Kudos Palin! Your Foreign Policy Experience beats my Grocery Views & Skills!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm |
  14. kirby

    Oh! you can see russia.
    Than you must be a forign policy expert now!!!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:25 pm |
  15. Dave

    So what was Bill Clinton's foreign policy experience when he was governor or Arkansas and running for president ?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  16. Jason

    Clearly this mayor is now qualified to be our Vice President. Also that highlights a fact that may demonstrate why her approval rating is so high. Most Alaskans are the type who wanted to get away from politics and the world, I doubt very many follow it outside the major cities. These sorts of villages are on the total fringe of our society. I imagine it must have been a great adventure to go up there.

    Speaking of which, I read an article somewhere about a visit to one of the coldest, inhabited places on earth. It was primarily an eskimo/inuit village. Great read, wish I still had the link.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  17. Ruby

    I think Palin will make it as a Vice President, I'll go for her.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  18. David

    I can see the Russian Embassy from my apartment, does that mean I have diplomatic experiences now... I can see the National Cathedral from my roof, I guess I have enough experience to become a priest... Can anyone else tell me, what experiences do I need to become vice president or president of this backwards country?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:24 pm |
  19. Margaret in the Northwest

    Being able to see a remote and isolated part of outlying Russian territory is quite a bit different than being able to understand what happens in Moscow which is, by the way, 4,500 miles out of Sarah Palin's line of vision.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:23 pm |
  20. mike

    Do people in San Diego give more thought about Mexico than do people in Calias Maine.

    Therefore proximity to Russia should cause a great deal of thought to be expended on the topic of Russia – especially by the Governor.

    The people who truly mock Palin for this comment are partisan parrots. Being in close proximity to so many stupid people makes me ponder from whence they all come.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:22 pm |
  21. Janice

    There goes Sarah, lying again! She made it seem as though she can walk out her door and see Russia!


    September 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  22. Jason Leinenger

    If they do not have tv and do not know who Sarah Palin is, how would they know whether or not she has been there?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  23. Garry, Melbourne, FL

    If being able to view Russia from your state qualifies as foreign experience, then anyone who's ever traveled to a foreign country has more experience than Sarah Palin.

    Millions of Americans travel aboard every year...I don't think they're listing the travel/vacation on their resumes.


    September 30, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  24. Eric

    Fascinating. Now can someone please help me figure out a way to make rent, feed my family economically and get to work each day without having to take out a loan for gas?

    lol, like anyone can get a loan these days. We're so screwed, blued and tattooed under a Repbulican rule.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:10 pm |
  25. John

    Great piece... Now, if we could only get Palin to give some more interviews. I don't wash to bash her. It's not worth it. I want people to actually see who might be the most powerful person in this country at any moment. Let her talk. Give her more interviews. I'm sure she has more great ideas on what we should do in America. I just want people to see the truth. She is not ready to be President of the United States. Please survey World Leaders on their views of their candidates, especially this one.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:09 pm |
  26. Ash

    I doubt she even knows the name of the the island. Nothing against Sara Palin or any other American citizen. But she does not have one single qualification for the job. Who cares so much about the experience as near as I can tell the experienced politicians suck, but she does not seem to be overly intelligent. Something you would want in someone running your economy/life.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:08 pm |
  27. Gerry Katz

    Palin is the least qualified candidate I have seen for any office in my 50 years of voting.

    For her to claim that she has foreign policy experience because Russia can be seen from Alaska is an affront to the intelligence of any voter, and nothing more than and a typical stretch of the truth. That McCain could have chosen her shows his inability to perceive what is best for our country. Can you imagine...President Palin.

    It's the stuff that heaps well deserved praise on Saturday Night Live's Tina Fey.

    Gerry Katz

    September 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  28. Linda/Michigan

    So what are you saying? That Palin was right after all. DUH!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:07 pm |
  29. bradford

    Wow...little running water and has never been visited by an Alaska Governor. They should be treated better.

    Milligrock for President...he's the most qualified!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:06 pm |
  30. joan

    So much for being on top of the line of communications when Putnin raises his head.
    NO TV.. is there internet?

    September 30, 2008 at 12:04 pm |
  31. kate

    Are we at all suprised over this? This is the same woman who says she opposed the Bridge to Nowhere, but left out the little fact of her keeping the money. Lets not also forget about her selling an expensive plan on eBay, only that didn't happen. It was listed on eBay, didn't sell and then she ended up giving it to a campaign contributor. I am not shocked at all. What does shock me is how many Americans still like her despite her proven lies and proven ignorance.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:03 pm |
  32. Jim W.

    I can see the moon from my house. I have space traveller experience!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm |
  33. Tina

    I would like a Sarah Palin and Obama ticket better to be honest.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:02 pm |
  34. PDR

    Great article. And I love the polar bear skins in the forefront.

    September 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  35. Brad

    It is amazing that you look this hard at a VP candidate when you don't ask one critical question about the Presidential candidate's experience. How much experience has Obama had with Russia?? How much with just about any other country?

    Oh, I forgot, those aren't softball questions!!

    September 30, 2008 at 12:01 pm |
  36. amy

    neat story.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:57 am |
  37. TED

    Seems that Palin is a bigger "superstar" than Barack Obama, with all the attention and SNL skits, what goes around comes around senator Mccain.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:51 am |
  38. Dan Stewart

    What is staggering is that Republicans celebrate putting forward Presidential (Bush) and now Vice-Presidential (Palin) candidates who have no understanding of global affairs. Who on else on this planet would put forward a candidate with such a gaping lack of knowledge on foreign policy? These people suggest that its all "America First" and "the world is black and white" during potentially one of the most challenging periods in the worlds history. We need our leaders to have the ability and desire to understand the complexities of international diplomacy and foreign affairs. Its not "optional" or "exotic" it is 100% essential for the ongoing well being of this country. The entire planet faces challenges unlike anything ever witnessed before, climate change, shortages of energy, water and other resources, population pressures, habitat loss, terrorism and this ongoing financial crisis. We need someone that is smart enough to realize these are extremely complicated issues which have a huge impact on the US as well as everyone else living here. We have had 8 years of a simpletons world view and it has almost brought this country to its knees. The concept that Palin is remotely qualified to deal with these issues is at first laughable and then secondly terrifying. When will Republicans start putting the well being of this country ahead of their warped sense of "values"?

    September 30, 2008 at 11:22 am |
  39. EJ (USA)

    The island’s mayor has heard of her though.

    I would hope so! That would be pretty sad if this mayor didn't know who the governor was.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:16 am |
  40. Jackie Scott

    I think it's sad that John McCain would think so little about the needs of
    our country and bad state that the American People are going thru, to go out and this joke of a politicain Sara Palin aka(Rambling Rose) who doesn't have a clue what the hell is going on and don't care about
    anything or herself. There no way I would allow this man to make a fool out of me, not just to the American public, but the whole world is laughing at how dumb this looks. And another thing is why we are sitting entertaining this BS, we have left ourselves open for any group or terrorist to attack us, because we are focused on trying to fix this mess that George Bush created alone. We really need to put things in propective. We as a country need to wake and pay attention. Can you amage this woman having the ability to declare war, she can't answer a simple question. I'm affended that McCain would think so little of this to ask her to be his running mate, when there are so many other quailified candidates and woman.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:14 am |
  41. Betty Ann, Nacgdoches,TX

    Hi Gary!
    What a "cool" experience!
    I just have to ask it though, Did you learn a lot about foreign policy?

    September 30, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  42. Brian Mason

    John McCain made the wrong decision when he named Sarah Palin as his running mate. I assume he was trying to feed off of the energy generated and the support garnered by Hillary Rodham Clinton in her bid for the White House and to secure the woman vote. Sarah Palin is in a league in which she has no business and it is evident that she doesn't have the trust of Senator McCain. I am supporting the McCain/Palin ticket simply for their stance on same sex marriage and abortion. However, Gov. Palin has the deer in the headlights look when it comes to foreign policy and McCain doesn't seem to connect with main stream citizens when it comes to domestic/economic policies. It is my belief that the moral fabric of our country has to decayed to the point of no return. Our government has left us behind to flounder in the muck and the mire of their decisions over the last few decades. The only thing on which we can always rely and the only way we can survive is to have faith that God loves the people who accept Jesus as their savior and he will always provide for us no matter how difficult the world becomes to live in. Therefore it is my opinion that all of our elected officials are falible and we can't rely on any of them to put our interests first. Our country must turn to God now; He is the only answer. Not only is my opinion but it is also the promise made to us by God. May God bless America.

    September 30, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  43. Gary Chandler in Canada


    September 30, 2008 at 11:00 am |
  44. Vee from Valdosta

    I am not surprised that the Governor hasn't actually been to the island. If she had, she would definitely had some foreign policy experience according to the creative fiction writers, who manange the McCain compaign.

    September 30, 2008 at 10:58 am |
  45. Cindy

    Man....they always send you to the out of the way places don't they!? LOL I just want to know what makes people want to live way off like that with barely any water or amenities. Plus they are right there at Russia's doorstep. Russia could easily hop on over one day if they decided that they wanted to take over Alaska! They would be the first to go.


    September 30, 2008 at 10:57 am |
  46. EJ (USA)

    That sounds like an interesting story

    September 30, 2008 at 10:48 am |
  47. Sandra, Ga.

    Good morning Gary. I so look forward to your story tonight on, what sounds like, Alaska's forgotten island of Little Diomede. I imagine the folks there were happy to see you. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    September 30, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  48. John

    I live on the Texas-Mexico Border and I can see Mexico from here. And while, i'm not the governor of Texas... I do work for the community. Can I make the same claim as Palin? If not, why not?

    September 30, 2008 at 10:46 am |
  49. Tina

    Gary, that is something. I bet the stars sure a pretty out there. I was sitting on my back patio the other night thinking how it must have been 150 years ago, looking at the stars and not seeing them all b/c of city lights. I wanted it to be like that again, you know. The next morning while making coffee, I thought about what I was thinking the night before. I thought, gosh, I would have to go out to the well and pump my water, get fire wood, and start a fire. Ha. I like Sarah Palin, I think she would roll up her selves and get what does to be done...done.

    September 30, 2008 at 10:32 am |
  50. Brian Riback

    Palin is doing what she has been doing with everything else...reaching. I visited a few foreign countries, forget them flying over my head...does that make me a foreign policy expert? It's just stupid.

    September 30, 2008 at 10:30 am |
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