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September 11, 2008

Palin Didn't Know What the Bush Doctrine Was
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Charles Gibson just asked Sarah Palin what she thought of the Bush Doctrine.   Here's the transcript as best as I can make it out.

Gibson: do you agree with the bush doctrine?

Palin:  in what respect, charlie?

Gibson:  well, what do you interpret it to be? 

Palin:  His world view?

Gibson: the Bush doctrine, in september 2002, before the iraq war.

Palin:  I believe that what president bush has attempted to do is rid this world of islamic terrorists who are hell-bent in destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. there have been mistakes made, and with new leadership, and that's the beauty of american elections, of course, and democracy, is with new leadership comes opportunity to do

Gibson:  the bush doctrine is we have the right of self-defense, prememptive strike against any country we think is going to attack us. do you agree with us?

Clearly Palin did not have the foggiest idea what Gibson meant.  This is absolutely huge.  The Bush doctrine of preemption and the National Security Strategy of 2002 was the central element of debate for almost 2 years in the foreign policy community and in the country during the run up to the invasion of Iraq and in the years after.  It was probably the single greatest shift in U.S. foreign policy in a generation.

There were pages and pages of ink spilled on this and it took up hours of debate.  It was a central issue in the 2004 campaign.  For her to not know what it is, raises serious questions about her experience and preparation to potentially be the leader of the free world.


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It's shocking. Shocking that she didn't know this.

If this doesn't make major headline news, I don't know what will.

This makes ME more knowledgeable on foreign policy than her.

Yes, Ilan, but you're forgetting that Gibson was just "picking" on her and that's not fair for the Big Bad Media to do that to her. After all, as the GOP wants you to keep believing, she's "just a woman." Let's wait until Putin picks on her. Is the GOP defense going to be that Putin was sexist? Oh, I forgot. Palin was only picked to win an election, not help run a government.

I am voting for McCain/Palin, but I must say I feel that this is definitely a fair issue fair to bring up. I thought her response definitely left a bad impression because she did not know what this doctrine was. I knew that slip up would be hammered by the Obama side (and quite honestly, she should be examined on her readiness).

However, being willing to defend in principle the fact that "doing whatever it takes" is always on the table shows that she is a proponent of the doctrine, because it is common sense. 'Strike them first before they kill us', which is the essence of the Bush Doctrine, is completely proper and common sense. Even if she did not know what the term itself meant, she still possesses the right perpsective when it comes to protecting our country. Any intellectual can spout definitions, but it takes having well defined principles within yourself to know what to do 'without blinking'.

Obama is willing to sit down with terrorists without preconditions. I am sure Obama knows what the Bush Doctrine is, but because of the way he responds in principle to defending our country, he is all wrong for the safety and security of this country. He knows what the Bush Doctrine is. Sarah Palin did not. But she had it in her heart, in principle. Therefore, I still feel better about Sarah Palin than I do about Barak Obama any day.

I believe you guys are misrepresenting the Bush Doctrine. The Bush Doctrine is a multi-facted position. See
"The Bush Doctrine is a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles of United States president George W. Bush, created in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks. The phrase initially described the policy that the United States had the right to treat countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as terrorists themselves, which was used to justify the invasion of Afghanistan.[1] Later it came to include additional elements, including the controversial policy of preventive war, which held that the United States should depose foreign regimes that represented a threat to the security of the United States, even if that threat was not immediate (used to justify the invasion of Iraq), a policy of supporting democracy around the world, especially in the Middle East, as a strategy for combating the spread of terrorism, and a willingness to pursue U.S. military interests in a unilateral way.[2][3][4] Some of these policies were codified in a National Security Council text entitled the National Security Strategy of the United States published on September 20, 2002.[5]"

Palin was right to ask Gibson what he meant by the term, and her response was consistent with part of the doctrine. Keep looking for things to attack Palin on, folks.

If anyone has ever watched Sarah Palin being interviewed before, you would know that she always gets the questioner be a bit more specific as to what part of the subject they are referring to when a broad question is asked. She clearly trips up Charie in her response because he ends up asking her three completely different questions before she gives the answer he was really asking.

1. What she thought of it.
2. Do you agree with it.
3. What do you interpret it to be.
and finally, he focuses in on the single preemptive strike part of the Bush Doctrine that he had in mind, and "Do you agree with it?"

Read up on the Bush Doctrine (Wiki-Google) and you will find out exactly how many different components there are to it. It is not just the single definition Charlie understands it to be.

I'm sure if Charlie had asked Obama the same question, exactly the same way, he would have given a similar but opposite answer as the first one Sarah gave.

And now that she knows the definition of it, that makes her just as keen on foreign policy as anyone else.

If Palin knew the Bush Doctrine she would've been able to address it, even if it has evolved over time. Not only could she not do that, but she asked if by the Bush Doctrine Gibson meant Bush's worldview. Clearly, she doesn't know the Bush Doctrine nor what a doctrine is. I fear if Gibson had asked about the Monroe Doctrine.

Charles Gibson tries to pin Palin down using a phase "Bush Doctrine" as if it were an executive order with specifically defined terms. Although it certainly carries clear principals and a direction of our presidents national security policy. The phase describes our leaders general foreign policy principles. The "Doctrine" if we must refer to it for an identifiable marker, began in the wake of September 11th. It gave us a strong sense of direction in a time when our world was falling apart. It is essentially a living policy, which has morphed over the last seven years. In policy the United States treats countries that harbor or give aid to terrorist groups as the enemy themselves. It later evolved into our policy in Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Iran. Gibson's attempt to paint Palin into a corner using such a broad brush is ridiculous in that no matter what her answer would have been it would have failed to connect on all points since it has evolved into a highly sophisticated foreign policy. The bottom line is the "Bush Doctrine" is a direction to preserve our nation, our people, and our way of life. Our lives depend on it's life and it's ability to evolve and address change. We live in a volatile time, among people that hate us and see us as nothing more than sheep for slaughter. Palin understands the strength that it will take to uphold the policies of George Bush and to continue our fight for our security.

The force of Bias is strong in this thread. Anyone who believes the Bush Doctrine only encompasses the issue Charlie stated has no understanding of the Doctrine. The Doctrine itself is made up of around 8 major points of which Sarah touched on 2 and Charlie added 1.

If you think Obama would have been able to expouse all 8 points of the Bush Doctrine I have a bridge to sell you in Alaska..

Keep in mind that I am conservative, and am voting for McCain and Palin. But I went back re-watched the interview. Does she know the definition? No. Did she possess the intellect and executive understanding of the principles of th doctrine? Yes, yes, a thousand time yes more than Obama does. He wants to sit down, without negotiations, and reason with terrorists. Palin won't do that. She will kill them before they kill us. Go Sarah!

My God, if this is how petty Democrats are, Me and my entire family of fifteen will definitely vote for republicans. We are undecided independents. The way Democrats are playing games with Palin turns us off.

For the education of petty democrats, Bush Doctrine is a general phrase or idea used to call all the policies of Bush related to the war against Islam extremism. Palin Got that right.

Now, preventive war or pre-emptive strike is different. Palin answered that too when Gibson defined Bush Doctrine his way, which is selective and specific. Gibson can do that too since preventive war or pre-emptive strike is part of Bush Doctrine.

Get it democrats. Don't be petty. You are hurting Obama.

I'm not surprised that Palin didn't know what the Bush Doctrine is. I am astonished, though, at how desperate some people are to make McCain/Palin look good, not matter bad they come across.

The fact that some of your commenters are actually trying to make Palin's ill-informed and stumbled response seem like she knew what the Bush Doctrine was all about makes a hugely frightening commentary about some of the voters in this country.

You know what's more absurd? The Bush Doctrine was a major point of contention between Hillary Clinton and Obama during the Democratic debates. This demonstrates that Sarah Palin didn't even bother to watch the Democratic debates. Or watch the news as recent as this last year related to this election.

(And also answers those who think that Obama wouldn't know about the Bush Doctrine.)

I'm a Democrat, but I can't get too excited about this particular "gotcha." It seems likely that the broader electorate will interpret any glee over this instance of Palin ignorance as "elitist." This election is increasingly a war between Democrats who are smart enough to be appalled--and Republicans who resent being called dumb and just dig their heels in deeper.

On the sidelines are the brainy Republicans who love watching their manipulations play out as desired.

I don't believe this gaffe is the weapon the Democrats are looking for.
And those who are debating whether Gibson's question "encompassed" the nuances of the Bush Doctrine are missing the point entirely. The vast majority of American voters don't care about nuances.

I'm a Democrat, but I can't get too excited about this particular "gotcha." It seems likely that the broader electorate will interpret any glee over this instance of Palin ignorance as "elitist." This election is increasingly a war between Democrats who are smart enough to be appalled--and Republicans who resent being called dumb and just dig their heels in deeper.

On the sidelines are the brainy Republicans who love watching their manipulations play out as desired.

I don't believe this gaffe is the weapon the Democrats are looking for.
And those who are debating whether Gibson's question "encompassed" the nuances of the Bush Doctrine are missing the point entirely. The vast majority of American voters don't care about nuances.

I am afraid as well of the mindset of, "She is great because she is Republican," and that some will defend her ignorance and spin her response to look like she knew the reference of the question. This is very serious business, here. Our fellow citizens are dying in a war! I pray for Gov. Palin, because she must be feeling incredible pride mixed with paralyzing fear with seeing her son off to war today. As a mother facing the very same emotions every day, I feel her pain. However, she accepted an offer to be the Presidential Candidate's running mate, which is a completely different issue. How could her handlers put her up for interview without schooling her regarding current government issues? Did they really think that because she is pretty and looks nice on camera that no one would ask her the same questions as any other candidate? Charles Gibson was not picking on her, or baiting her, he asked a legitimate question. If she wants to be considered a legitimate candidate, she should learn the material and give legitimate answers. She is going to be easy pickins for those of us who are aware of our government! This is only the first screw up. I feel very strongly that her 15 minutes are soon to be over. Conservatives whine about how she was a target within minutes of being announced. Of course she was! Anyone would have been a target. Add to that the fact that she came out swinging and sniping like a prom queen, and she only cemented the target on her back. Politics is a very tough business. I am embarassed by her behavior. If she wants to gain respect, she should stop whining and defend herself, and speak intelligently, instead of having "the big boys" stick up for her! If this is an example of the republican opinion of what a woman in high office should be, then I am ashamed that my gender is represented by her.
One final point. I keep seeing Gov. Palin compared to Barack Obama. I think those folks are not paying attention. The Governor is not running against Barack Obama. John McCain is running against Barack Obama. Governor Palin is running against Joe Biden. I cannot wait to see THAT debate! I almost feel sorry for her!

Italics off?

"What is the Bush doctrine?" sounds more like the kind of academic question that would be asked on an undergraduate IR final exam than a question that reveals much about how conversant a candidate is with the larger world and the issues facing it. I didn't get to see the interview, but I'd be much more interested in hearing what Plain does or doesn't know about the other countries in this world, their histories, and the roots of the various conflicts and relationships they have with one another.

There is no "Bush Doctrine"; it's a trick question. Basically, it's asking "Do you agree with Bush's foreign policy?". And she rightly asked "In what respect?". I don't disagree with anything she asked or said. Clearly people are trying to spin this. BTW, wikipedia defines it as: Bush Doctrine " a phrase used to describe various related foreign policy principles". Charlie needs to ask a specific question; it was not wrong of her to ask clarification.

Maybe someone in the "know" can forward this idea for an Obama ad to the "right" people:

After a montage of cringe-inducing foreign policy moments from the Palin/Gibson interview, a voice over asks: If this woman is ready to be Commander in Chief, who isn't?

the woman asked if the Bush Doctrine meant Bush's world view.


this means explicitly that she had no earthly idea what Gibson was asking her. AND after she repeated the dogma that she'd been inundated with for the past week, she STILL didn't grasp the meaning (meanings) of it.

and btw, anyone saying that Obama would sit down with terrorists without pre-conditions is FLAT OUT LYING.

Too bad Charlie's never had the Balls to ask any hard questions of our "community activist for President" nominee or his embarrassing sidekick. I'd love to see the media ask tough questions of all 4 candidates, but they're so busy high-fiving the 2 Dem's I guess they missed that one. Fortunately, the American public might see through yet another media smokescreen.

i wonder why nobody (read: republicans) remembers Obama as the president of the Harvard law review, or a civil rights lawyer. why don't they call him the magna cum laude graduate of Harvard Law School?

i wonder how the GOPers would feel if McCain was addressed as the guy that graduated 894th out of 899 candidates at the Naval Academy...

Palin Didn't Know What the Bush Doctrine Was

So we have a CHANGE.

For the apoligists of Palin who try to make her sound brilliant: fishing for partial answers from the interviewer is not some great tactic - it's a way of catching up. If she knew half as much as you guys claim about the Bush doctrine she would have addressed multiple aspects of the doctrine. Remember the purpose of the interview is for her to impress world leaders with her knowledge and ability.

Palin's answer reflects a lack of knowledge of the situation. Russia had peacekeepers in Ossetia to protect ethnic Russians. On August 8th when Georgia invaded they killed eight Russian peacekeeping troops and a number of ethnic Russian Ossetians. Palin's however, didn't know enough of the basic facts to simply refute Gibson's hyptohesis by saying she thought it was unlikely; instead, she talked casually about getting into a potential nuclear war.

You guys say she supports the Bush doctrine, so she is not a reformer. She is going to follow the same policy. At least we agree that she won't bring about any policy change and that her talk about being a reformer at the beginning of her answer was false.

Ooh, look who got Googled by a McCain-Palin boiler-room. Nice try guys but you really need to work harder to earn that $6.25/hrly.

Palin is clearly clueless about any foriegn policy issues most notably the Georgian/Russian conflict and the extent that the EU is dependent upon Russian oil and natural gas.

NATO can't do jack to Russia without freezing for at least five years straight while they come up with an alternative source of heat, power and feedstock for their refineries.

Which means Sara (I'm an energy expert) Palin is clearly ignorant on the one thing she pretends expertise. If she's an energy expert are they going to appoint a Wall Street hooker to the Federal Reserve Board? It's about as valid.

The boiler room slams couldn't even see where she failed.

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