The Palin Interview

In her first of three interviews with ABC News's Charles Gibson and the only interview since being picked by Sen. John McCain as his Republican vice presidential nominee, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin talked about her qualifications to serve as vice president and her deliberations when she was offered the spot on the ticket, her statement that the war in Iraq is "a task that is from God" as well as other key foreign policy issues like Russia, Iran, and Pakistan.

Watch Gibson's exclusive interviews with Gov. Palin beginning tonight on "World News" and "Nightline." More Friday on "Good Morning America " at 7 a.m. ET," "World News" and on "20/20," which will broadcast a one-hour special edition at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.

On her experience:
GIBSON: Governor, let me start by asking you a question that I asked John McCain about you, and it is really the central question. Can you look the country in the eye and say "I have the experience and I have the ability to be not just vice president, but perhaps president of the United States of America?"

PALIN: I do, Charlie, and on January 20, when John McCain and I are sworn in, if we are so privileged to be elected to serve this country, will be ready. I'm ready.

GIBSON: And you didn't say to yourself, "Am I experienced enough? Am I ready? Do I know enough about international affairs? Do I -- will I feel comfortable enough on the national stage to do this?"

Picture of Sarah Palin and Charles GibsonPlay

PALIN: I didn't hesitate, no…I answered him yes because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can't blink, you have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we're on, reform of this country and victory in the war, you can't blink.

So I didn't blink then even when asked to run as his running mate.

Palin on Iraq as "a task that is from God"
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?

PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.

GIBSON: Exact words.

PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.

But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.

That's what that comment was all about, Charlie.

More on the Iraq quote…
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."

PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan.

GIBSON: But then are you sending your son on a task that is from God?

PALIN: I don't know if the task is from God, Charlie. What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.

Video Clips:
VIDEO: Does Palin Have Experience for VP?

VIDEO: Palin on God & War

On Friday, John McCain targets women voters with appearances on the Rachel Ray Show and The View. Palin is in Alaska tomorrow with no public events scheduled.

Barack Obama holds a rally in Concord, NH. A poll from CNN/Opinion Research Corp. out late Wednesday shows Obama with a six-point lead in the Granite State, 51-45. His running mate Joe Biden attends fundraisers in San Antonio and Austin, TX before joining Obama in New Hampshire later Friday night.

On the campaign front. . .

-- 10:00 am ET: Appears on Rachel Ray Show with Cindy McCain
-- 11:00 am ET: Appears on The View

-- No public events scheduled, Alaska

As for the Democrats…
BARACK OBAMA -- 6:00 pm ET: Holds a rally in Concord, NH

-- Attends fundraisers in San Antonio and Austin, TX

At the White House. . .

-- No public events


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ABC News' Luis Martinez: Pentagon Memorial Remembers 9/11 Attacks LINK

ABC News' Mark Mooney: New Poll Shows Obama Lead in Crucial States LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Obama on Letterman: If That's What I'd Meant, Palin Would Be the Lipstick, 'McCain's Failed Policies' the Pig LINK

ABC News' Ferdous Al-Faruque: Huckabee, Others Yucks It Up Over McCain Vetting LINK

ABC News' Emily Friedman: Context Changes Meaning of Popular Phrases LINK

ABC News' Sam Donaldson: How Obama Should Weather 'Hurricane Palin' LINK

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ABC News' Matt Jaffe: Democratic VP Candidate Joe Biden Recalls 9/11 Attacks on Anniversary LINK

ABC News' John Berman and Ursula Fahy: Politics, Parenting and War LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Barack and Bill Lunch LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: Swedish TV Finds New Footage of McCain Being Released From Vietnamese POW Camp LINK

ABC News' Jake Tapper: McCain, 2008 LINK


Clinton Predicts Obama Will Win Race 'Handily'
Fmr. President Clinton and Sen. Obama meet for lunch at the Clinton Foundation. LINK

Candidates Take a Break for 9/11
Obama and McCain suspend negative advertising to observe anniversary. LINK

Palin Panic?
How do Democrats shift their strategy to combat the Gov. Palin effect? LINK

Sam to Dems: Don't Panic Over Palin
Donaldson says Gov. Palin may energize GOP base, but Dems shouldn't overreact. LINK

Bush Dedicates Pentagon Memorial
On 7th anniversary of 9-11, Bush says memorial reflects American "resilience." LINK

McCain: Never Forget the Heroism on 9-11
McCain recognizes the courage of the Flight 93 victims during ceremony in PA. LINK

Remembering the Victims of 9-11
Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts mark the seventh anniversary of the 9-11 attacks. LINK

Obama: 'Silly Season in Politics'
Obama tells David Letterman it might be "fun" to really put lipstick on a pig. LINK

Kimmel: Putting Lipstick on a Pig
Jimmy tests whether or not a pig is still a pig if it wears lipstick. LINK

Palin Returns Home
The governor returns to Alaska for the first time since joining McCain ticket. LINK

Candidates' Sons at War
The presidential candidates handle the war issue in different ways. LINK

The Bottom Line on New Election Polls
George Stephanopoulos analyzes the latest polls for the presidential election. LINK

Trooper Testifies in Palin Probe
An inquiry is under way as to whether Sarah Palin abused her power as governor. LINK

On Patrol With Soldiers in Afghanistan
ABC's Brian Ross and Vanity Fair report on U.S. troops in Company B. LINK

Short-Fuse Word War
McCain campaign is quick to cry attack from Obama's use of pig expression. LINK

Swing States to Watch
George Stephanopoulos weighs in on which votes will be crucial in the election. LINK