Palin Takes Hard Line on National Security, Softens Stance on Global Warming

Sarah Palin may toe John McCain's line on national security issues, but when it comes to global warming and drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the running mates will "agree to disagree," the Alaska Governor said in an exclusive interview with ABC News's Charlie Gibson.

On the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history, Gov. Sarah Palin sat down with Gibson for the first two of three interviews, discussing national security and then energy policy and climate change.

The interviews took place in Alaska Thursday immediately before and after a deployment ceremony for her son Track, 19, a private in the U.S. Army who will leave for Iraq later this month.

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Palin, just two years into her first term as governor, made a name for herself as a "reformer" and used the day's second interview to trumpet her record of taking on Big Oil and the Republican mandarins of Alaska.

In the day's first interview, Palin hewed closely to the McCain talking points, mirroring the presidential nominee's positions on foreign policy and national security.

In the day's second interview, when it came to the discussion of energy policy, turf the Alaska governor is far more comfortable discussing, many of the differences between she and McCain were exposed. McCain has said he believes humans are responsible for climate change and that the government should not allow drilling in ANWR, positions opposite to those of his running mate.

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"Do you still believe that global warming is not man made?" Gibson asked Palin.

"I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. Here in Alaska, the only arctic state in our Union, of course, we see the effects of climate change more so than any other area with ice pack melting. Regardless though of the reason for climate change, whether it's entirely, wholly caused by man's activities or is part of the cyclical nature of our planet -- the warming and the cooling trends -- regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it and we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution."

In the past, including in an interview with Newsmax.com in August just ahead of her nomination, Palin said: "I'm not one though who would attribute [global warming] to being man-made."

In her interview with Gibson she was much more measured in her response.

McCain and Palin agree on offshore drilling but differ on exploration in ANWR, a federally protected wildlife reserve.

"I'm going to keep working on that one with him. ANWR, of course, is a 2,000 acre swath of land in the middle of about a 20 million acre swath of land. 2,000 acres that we're asking the feds to unlock so that there can be exploration and developmentā€¦ We'll agree to disagree but I'm gonna keep pushing that and I think eventually we're all gonna come together on that one."

It might, however, not take so much work to convince McCain to change his mind. "I continue to examine it," the Arizona Senator told The Weekly Standard at the end of August about ANWR.

The comfort she showed when talking about a proposed pipeline that would supply the lower 48 states with natural gas from Alaska, contrasted sharply with her generally rote talking points on national security during the day's first interview with Gibson.

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