- The Guardian,
- Saturday September 13 2008
“Sarah Palin, who presents herself as half of a Republican team of maverick reformers, yesterday edged away from her outmoded views on climate change, conceding for the first time that the problem might be man-made.
The admission from Palin, during an interview with ABC television, brings the Republican running mate into line with the views of the party’s presidential nominee, John McCain. “I’m attributing some of man’s activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now,” she told ABC’s Charlie Gibson.
The statement contradicted Palin’s assertions within the past year that she did not believe global warming is a result of human activity. The Alaska governor strenuously denied expressing such doubts in her ABC interview, but she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner newspaper last December: “I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity.”
Even so, yesterday’s acknowledgment of a human component in climate change was grudging – and Palin still supports drilling in the Arctic wilderness preserve, which McCain opposes.
She also suggested that agreeing on the causes of climate change bore no relation to finding a solution, and left open the possibility that the phenomenon was merely cyclical. “Regardless 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 … John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it.”
The exchange came during a series of three interviews Palin granted to ABC, her only exposure to the national media since McCain chose her as his running mate a fortnight ago.
Most of Palin’s responses during those interviews seemed carefully scripted, almost a recitation of Republican talking points absorbed during intense cramming sessions with McCain campaign aides.
Critics saw her performance as evidence that she was not conversant with many of the issues that would occupy a vice-president, especially matters of foreign policy. She was on shaky ground on several occasions. At a military ceremony on Thursday, Palin again clung to an outmoded world view, linking the Iraq war to al-Qaida and the 9/11 attacks. The Washington Post reported that Palin told a contingent of troops deploying to Iraq, including her son, Track, that they would “defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans”.
Palin exposed other gaps on national security issues. She told ABC that Washington should not intervene if Israel decided to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, and she adopted a far more hawkish posture towards Russia than Bush, going so far as to commit US troops to the defence of Georgia and Ukraine if attacked.
Yesterday, Barack Obama’s camp was scouring the transcripts of the Palin interviews as part of what it called a bold new strategy to counter a string of Republican attacks. The change of tack comes after mounting Democratic concerns that Obama is not hitting back hard enough.
The Republicans have made a number of false assertions against Obama, accusing him of personally insulting Palin by using the phrase “lipstick on a pig” to describe McCain’s economic policies and of supporting explicit sex education for five-year-olds.”
Better pray the Republicans are not elected –