ABC’s Kate Snow from NY:
2:45 PM Update:
Turns out Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has the power to make world leaders gush too.
"Now I know why a lot of America is crazy about you," said Pakistan’s new President Zardari at one point during their one-on-one meeting this afternoon.
Zardari was the fourth head of state Palin has met today in New York. And for the first time, she answered a reporter’s question about how the meetings are going.
"It’s going great. These meetings are very informative and helpful and a lot of good people sharing appreciation for America," Palin said.
By all appearances, Palin is enjoying meeting the leaders face-to-face. But there’s one superstar she will not get to see.
A 3pm meeting that was to take place this afternoon between rock star activist Bono and Senator John McCain and Governor Palin has been changed from an in-person meeting to a phone call.
A spokeswoman for Bono’s ONE Campaign says Bono last met with Senators McCain and Obama in February and likes to check in with them regularly. The meeting in NY was set up with McCain and the campaign asked that Palin also be included since she would be in town as well. Bono planned to ask McCain and Palin for ongoing support of efforts to fight poverty, AIDS, malaria and other global problems, according to his spokeswoman.
The campaign requested that the meeting not take place in person because traffic is so heavy in Manhattan and they said it would be too hard to get to Bono and still make other appointments, even though Palin is traveling in a police-escorted motorcade and her next public appointment is not until 6pm, when she and McCain are to meet with India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
1:10 PM Update:
An interesting thing happened at Palin’s meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani just now. She almost answered a question from a reporter.
According to our pool reporter, the pool was ushered in shortly after Palin arrived for the meeting at the tony Ritz Hotel at Battery Park, just south of Ground Zero in Manhattan. Governor Palin appeared to be chatting with President Talabani about how much there is to do and see in New York City. For the record, since I have been asked by many lately, this is not the first time Governor Palin has been to NY. She has been here at least once before. The campaign says she has been here "several" times but they have not provided dates. Yesterday, while Governor Palin attended meetings, her husband and three of her children were sightseeing.
After about 20 seconds, the reporters were asked to leave and a reporter asked Palin what her thoughts were about driving past Ground Zero, which she had passed on the way to the Ritz hotel. According to the TV producer in the room, Palin looked as though she wanted to answer the question, paused briefly but then hesitated and then just nodded.
Could it be that someone has told her she should not answer any questions during these made-for-TV photo opportunities, even if she wants to?
12:30 PM Update:
Round two of the in-and-out tour of world leaders has begun. Governor Sarah Palin– joined this morning by Senator John McCain– just met with Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko and Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili at a Hilton hotel in Manhattan. Once again, the press "pool"– including a TV producer and crew, a print reporter, wire service reporters and still photographers– was allowed in the room for a brief period.
Yushchenko spoke in Ukranian. Through a translator, he praised the US-Ukranian relationship and solicited nods from Governor Palin when he talked about the importance of energy issues.
Saakashvili showed off his perfect English. (He’s a George Washington University graduate). He praised McCain and the US for standing in solidarity with Georgia but also praised someone who was definitely not in the room– the other Vice Presidential candidate, Democrat Joe Biden– for his support.
Neither McCain nor Palin spoke while our cameras were in the room. McCain-Palin staff yelled "No questions", but that didn’t stop a reporter from the Associated Press, who asked Palin what she has learned from her meetings. Palin just smiled as the press corps was ushered out of the room.
Palin has just arrived at the Battery Park Ritz for a solo meeting with Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.