Grabbing a Cheesesteak in South Philly, Palin Opines on Pakistan — But Does She Contradict McCain Policy?

By Arnab Datta

Sep 28, 2008 11:47am

Saturday night in Mo-town Philly, and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin found herself at Tony Luke’s on Oregon Avenue.

“It’s Tina Fey!” shouted a bystander as Palin and her daughter Willow walked in.

According to the pool report, one Philadelphian asked Palin, as she stood in the line, if she’d heard from her son Track.

“No," Palin said. "I can’t wait to hear from him. I’ll track him down today.”

A reporter asked if she’d watched Friday night’s presidential debate.

“I did, I did," she said. "Oh. McCain did awesome. He was great. He was absolutely on his game.”

Is she ready for her Thursday night debate with Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del.?

“I am," Palin said. "Look forward to it. Look forward to getting to speak to Americans through that debate, absolutely.”

At the counter, Palin ordered two cheesesteaks, whiz and onions. The woman at the counter asked the governor’s name.

Palin paused.

“Sarah,” she finally said.

The woman laughed. The joke being, apparently, that everyone knew her name already.

“That’s priceless,” said a guy in the kitchen.

**

As Palin was glad handling, a man named Michael Rovito, wearing a Temple University t-shirt, approached Palin

“How about the Pakistan situation?" he asked her. "What’s your thoughts about that.”

“In Pakistan?” she asked.

“What’s going on over there," Rovito said, "like Waziristian?”

“It’s working with Zardari to make sure that we’re all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border," Palin responded. "And we’ll go from there.”

“Waziristan is blowing up!” exclaimed Rovito.

“Yeah it is," said Palin, "and the economy there is blowing up too.”

“So we do cross the border," he asked, "like from Afghanistan to Pakistan, you think?”

“If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in," she said, "absolutely, we should.”

**

Today on This Week, George Stephanopoulos asked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., if what Palin said in any way contradicted McCain’s criticism of Obama for saying aloud that — if given actionable intelligence about high-level al Qaeda targets in Pakistan — the U.S. should strike at targets within Pakistan with or without that government’s permission.

"That seems very similar," George said after playing the Palin quote. "She’s asked, ‘Do we have to cross the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan?’ She says, ‘If that’s what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should.’"

McCain said that Palin "shares my view that we will do whatever is necessary. The problem is, you don’t announce it. You don’t — you don’t say to the Pakistanis, ‘We’re coming in unilaterally and carry out operations.’ Teddy Roosevelt, speak softly but carry a big stick. She shares my view on that. That’s just — that’s fundamentals of knowledge and maturity and judgment."

"But she did say there right there we should go in," George said.

"She was in a conversation with some young man that — or whoever it was," McCain said. "She understands and has stated repeatedly that we’re not going to do anything except in America’s national security interest and we are not going to, quote, ‘announce it ahead of time.’ That is — the important part of it is that you do what you have to do, working with these countries, but to announce you’re going to attack another country is not a mature way to address the issue."

George asked if Palin shouldn’t have said that.

"She did fine," McCain said. "She did just fine….This business of, in all due respect, people going around and — with sticking a microphone while conversations are being held, and then all of a sudden that’s — that’s a person’s position, this is a free country, but I don’t think most Americans think that that’s a definitive policy statement made by Governor Palin. And I would hope you wouldn’t, either."

– jpt

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