Palin says she'll prod McCain on drilling in Alaska wilderness

WASHINGTON -- Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said she would lobby John McCain to support oil drilling in the Alaskan wilderness — an issue on which the running mates disagree.

"I'm going to keep working on that one with him," Palin told ABC News during her first broadcast interview taped on Thursday. Some of the interview, which focused on national security issues and her readiness to lead, was repeated Friday on the network's Good Morning America program.

McCain has made more oil and gas drilling off the U.S. coasts a major part of his presidential campaign, but he is opposed to development in the massive Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, known as ANWR.

Palin told ABC News that ANWR can "help lead us to that path of energy independence."

The Alaska governor also appeared to shift her position on global warming. "I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change."

In an interview last year with the conservative, Palin said she was "not one, though, who would attribute it (global warming) to be man made."

ABC News anchor Charles Gibson will conduct another interview with Palin later Friday on domestic policy issues, her record since becoming governor in December 2006 and her tenure as mayor of tiny Wasilla, Alaska (population: 9,780). The interview will be broadcast Friday on ABC's World News and its 20/20 program.

The ABC session with Palin is the highlight of a string of TV appearances by both presidential candidates. McCain will appear later Friday on talk shows The View, with his wife, Cindy, and on The Rachael Ray Show. Democrat Barack Obama is set to appear on the season premiere of NBC's Saturday Night Live.

Palin, however, was the featured attraction in the TV blitz. The Alaska governor has not taken part in a sit-down interview since a brief chat Aug. 29 with People magazine, on the day that McCain unveiled her as his running mate.

In Thursday's taping, Palin declared herself ready to be president, if necessary, and said she "didn't blink" when McCain asked her to join the GOP ticket. Palin's readiness has been an issue in the campaign because of McCain's age, 72. The governor is 44.

"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," she told Gibson. "So I didn't blink then, even when asked to run" with McCain.

On other issues, she said the United States needs to keep an eye on Russia and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, particularly if it is "to control energy supplies" on their way west. Palin said she wants to avoid both a real war and a new Cold War. But she criticized Russia's Aug. 8 invasion of Georgia, the former Soviet republic, calling it "unacceptable" and referring to it as unprovoked.

On Aug. 7, Georgian troops launched a surprise attack in South Ossetia, a breakaway Georgian province. Russia has said it went there to protect residents of Russian ancestry.

The governor also told ABC that a nuclear-armed Iran is a threat to the United States and the world. Palin also said she would not "second guess" Israel if it decided to defend itself by striking Iran.

Palin also sought to explain a comment she once made in her church regarding the Iraq war, that "our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."

She said she was trying to reference an Abraham Lincoln quote, and that she meant to say, "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."

Early reactions on Thursday were mixed.

"She's got a lot to learn," said Jerry McBeath, a professor of political science at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. "We don't have capacity to stage another war against Iran or Russia or even Mexico." He said Palin did project "a great deal of confidence," and that voters concerned over security issues are "looking for people confident in themselves."

Jennifer Palmieri, a senior vice president with the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, said Palin did not commit any "gaffes," but expressed an "absolutist" and "black-and-white" view of global affairs.

Palmieri said Palin did not appear to recognize the term the "Bush doctrine," which says the United States has the right to take pre-emptive action if it feels under threat.

Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, said people have different interpretations of the Bush doctrine. Wright, a conservative, praised Palin's grasp of foreign affairs, especially on energy. "She correctly stressed that energy is fundamental to national security."

Contributing: Ken Dilanian in Anchorage