Tag Archives: CBS News

Poll: Most Say Palin Resigned To Help Her Career

Reason for Sarah Palin's Resignation Poll

CBS News poll on the resignation of former Gov. Sarah Palin taken between July 9-12.

A majority of Americans believe that Sarah Palin is resigning as governor of Alaska not because it’s in the best interest of her state but because it will benefit her political career, a new CBS News poll finds.

Just 24 percent of those accept Palin’s explanation that she resigned because it was the right thing to do for Alaska. More than twice that percentage – 52 percent – cited her political ambition as the reason for her resignation. An additional 14 percent said they don’t know the reason.

Even Republicans are skeptical of the explanation, with a higher percentage saying Palin resigned for her political career (36 percent) than saying she did so for Alaska (31 percent).

Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed expect Palin to run for president in 2012, while 43 percent say she will not. If she runs, she’ll likely face widespread skepticism: As CBS News revealed Monday morning, just 22 percent say Palin has the ability to be an effective president. Sixty-five percent say she does not.

Less than one in four Americans – 23 percent – hold a favorable view of Palin. Thirty-seven percent hold an unfavorable view of the former Republican vice presidential nominee. Another 39 percent are undecided. Continue reading

Gov. Palin Target Of NEW Alaska Ethics Complaint for Children’s Travel Expenses

CBS News’ investigative unit is reporting on a new complaint filed in Juneau, Alaska against Governor Sarah Palin related to travel expenses by Gov. Palin’s children which were charged to Alaskan taxpayers.

Alaska Governor and Republican Vice President hopeful Sarah Palin may be facing another round of scrutiny, this time for charging the state for her children to travel with her while conducing official state business.

CBS News has obtained a copy of the complaint that Frank Gwartney, a retired lineman in Anchorage filed last Friday, with Alaska’s Attorney General, Talis Colberg in Juneau. “Palin ran on the platform of ethics, transparency and anti-corruption. I’m tired of the hypocrisy that exists in Government and people need to know the truth,” said Gwartney.

The complaint against Governor Palin, alleges Misuse of Official Position: “Gov. Palin attempted to and in fact did use her official position for personal gain by securing unwarranted benefits for her daughters…” All the allegations contained in the complaint are related to state reimbursed travel.

In Alaska, ethics complaints filed against the Governor are confidential. “We can neither confirm nor refute that a complaint has been filed against Governor Sarah Palin. Any complaint remains confidential unless the person being charged waives confidentiality or if the complaint progresses to the state of probable cause,” Assistant District Attorney, Dave Jones told CBS News.

Bristol, Piper and Willow, Palin’s daughters, accrued $32,629 in travel expenses while Palin’s husband Todd raked up $22,174 – all billed to the state for a total of $54,803.00.

“The Governor’s office has expended $54,803.00 in Alaska state dollars for family travel since December 2006,” according to the Governor’s Administrative Services Director, Linda Perez. “The documentation related to family travel has changed and you have to keep in mind that the governor and her family are very popular,” added Perez.

Sharon Leighow, Deputy Communications Director, said “Governor Palin followed state policy allowing governors to charge for their children’s travel and there’s also the expectation that the first family participate in community activities across the state.”

This new ethics complaint comes on the heels of the Federal Elections Campaign complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington for spending $150,000 on pricey designer threads.

CBS News previously reported on Palin’s fashion expenditures and FEC officials said purchases for such purposes are prohibited. Campaigns are not allowed to spend donated funds on expenses a person would have had regardless if they were running as a candidate or in office. That includes items like clothing, mortgage payments, country club fees, rent, groceries, etc.

The Attorney General will refer the complaint to the personnel board which is appointed by the Governor and currently includes: Debra English, Al Tamagni, and Laura Plenert. (No state employees sit on the board.) The board then determines whether the alleged conduct would violate the ethics act. If so, an independent investigator is appointed, evidence is gathered, and people are interviewed with the intent to establish probable cause. Eventually the board makes a decision and recommendations are made that may impose penalties, or disciplinary action, up to and including termination. The process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

Palin Target Of New Ethics Complaint

Gov. Sarah Palin On Fox News: Katie Couric Annoyed Me

Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden on the campaign trail.

Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden on the campaign trail.

On today’s Huffington Post Sam Stein reports on an interview with Carl Cameron of Fox News Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin gave this morning after last night’s vice-presidential debate.  Seems that Gov. Palin was “annoyed” with the manner in which CBS News anchor Katie Couric interviewed her last week, “clobbered” her with questions and didn’t allow her to “pivot” away from questions and go on to another subject.  Gosh darn, those Washington elite, those media elite can be so mean!!  News flash, Washington, D.C., our nation’s capital, is where the Vice President (the job you’ve applied for) will be living and working for the next four years, among those terible “media elite” who just might ask you some more questions on your character and viewpoints.  Perhaps you might want to reconsider your career move and stay put in Alaska. 

Appearing on a friendlier news outlet, Gov. Sarah Palin said she was “annoyed” with the way Katie Couric handled their interview and complained that the CBS Evening News host failed to give her the opportunity to take a proverbial axe to Barack Obama.

In a portion of her sit-down with Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron, Palin claimed that Couric’s questions — which produced a series of staggeringly embarrassing responses — put her in a lose-lose position.

“The Sarah Palin in those interviews was a little bit annoyed,” she said. “It’s like, man, no matter what you say, you are going to get clobbered. If you choose to answer a question, you are going to get clobbered on the answer. If you choose to try to pivot and go to another subject that you believe that Americans want to hear about, you get clobbered for that too.”

For the record, Couric asked her, among other things, what type of news sources she turns to for information, which Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with, why Alaska’s proximity to Russia gave her foreign policy experience, her opinion of the bailout package for Wall Street, and where she thought Vice President Dick Cheney erred. Which one of those questions was designed to trip her up (as opposed to, say, give viewers a better sense of her character and views) is tough to ascertain.

Later in her interview with Cameron, Palin offered a sense of what she thinks would have been a fairer set of questions. Unsurprisingly, they all would have provided her the opportunity to rail against Obama.

“In those Katie Couric interviews, I did feel that there were lot of things that she was missing in terms of an opportunity to ask what a VP candidate stands for, what the values are represented in our ticket. I wanted to talk about Barack Obama increasing taxes, which would lead to killing jobs. I wanted to talk about his proposal to increase government spending by another trillion dollars. Some of his comments that he’s made about the war, that I think may, in my world, disqualify someone from consideration as the next commander in chief. Some of the comments that he has made about Afghanistan — what we are doing there, supposedly just air raiding villages and killing civilians. That’s reckless. I want to talk about things like that. So I guess I have to apologize for being a bit annoyed, but that’s also an indication of being outside the Washington elite, outside of the media elite also. I just wanted to talk to Americans without the filter and let them know what we stand for.”

 Gov. Sarah Palin On Fox News: Katie Couric Annoyed Me

Gov. Palin Camp Continues To Suggest Special Awareness On Russia — Due to Diomede Islands?

Aerial view of the Diomede Islands; the Russian territory of Big Diomede is on the left and the US island of Little Diomede on the right.

Aerial view of the Diomede Islands; the Russian territory of Big Diomede is on the left and the US island of Little Diomede on the right.

Let’s further examine Alaska Governor Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience due to Alaska’s close proximity to Russia and her assertion that from Alaska you can ‘see’ Russia.  Her claim of ‘seeing’ Russia appears to be true; the Diomede Islands, one of which belongs to Russia, can be seen from Alaska, at least from an airplane.  The Diomede Islands are comprised of two rocky islands situated in the middle of the Bering Strait between the mainland of the US state of Alaska and Siberia, Russia.  Although at their closest the islands are approximately 2.4 miles apart, they are separated by the International Date Line, with a time difference of 23 hours, The US island of Little Diomede (total area 2.8 sq. mi.) has a settlement of 146 people as of 2000, with over 92% of the inhabitants Native Americans. 

The Diomede Islands in the Bering Sea

The Diomede Islands in the Bering Sea

The Russian island of Big Diomede (total area 11 sq. mi.) is populated by the Inupiat, the Inuit people of Alaska’s Northwest Arctic and North Slope boroughs and the Bering Straits region.  What foreign policy experience Gov. Palin has been able to glean from being able to see a small, barren and sparsely populated Russian island (inhabited by Alaska Natives) from a plane is completely unclear to most American voters. 

In an article by Scott Conroy for the CBS News, published September 21, 2008, there is little evidence of any foreign policy insights GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has learned from her state’s proximity to Siberia, Russia.

As Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin prepares to meet with a slew of world leaders in New York to coincide with the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, questions remain over her thin foreign policy resume.

Though it is not uncommon for governors running for national office to have limited exposure to international events, the Palin campaign has nonetheless made an effort to highlight the Alaska governor’s bona fides on Russia. But the idea that Palin has gleaned any special awareness of the world’s largest nation through her work as governor of Alaska stands on flimsy ground.

In her first national television interview since joining the Republican ticket less than two weeks ago, ABC’s Charlie Gibson pressed Palin on her foreign policy experience, leading her to tout repeatedly her home state’s geographical position.

“You’re in Alaska,” Palin said. “We have that very narrow maritime border between the United States, and the 49th state, Alaska, and Russia.”

Palin then reminded Gibson three separate times that Russia is Alaska’s “next door neighbor.” When Gibson pressed Palin on what insights the state’s proximity to a sparsely populated region of Siberia gives her into Russia’s actions in the Caucus region – which is thousands of miles away from Alaska – the governor stayed on message.

“They’re our next door neighbors, and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska,” she said.

On a clear day, it is, in fact, possible to see the unpopulated Russian island of Big Diomede from the Alaskan island of Little Diomede, which is inhabited by a small native population. Still, Palin’s hometown of Wasilla isn’t much closer to the Russian capital of Moscow (4,318 miles) than New York City is (4,663 miles).

But rather than downplaying Palin’s suggestion that she possesses special knowledge of Russia, the McCain/Palin campaign has continued to tout Alaska’s proximity to the world’s largest nation as a feather in her cap, without offering any evidence of actual experience Palin has in Russian affairs.

Asked to provide concrete examples of Palin’s foreign policy experience, Palin spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt highlighted the governor’s dealings on energy issues and foreign trade and mentioned the 2007 trip she took to visit U.S. troops in the Middle East and Germany.

Schmitt added, “She is Governor of the only state with two international borders – a land border with Canada and a maritime border with Russia.”

CBS News made several inquiries over the course of two days to another campaign spokesperson asking for details on any practical experience Palin had with Russia. The spokesperson said that campaign staffers were gathering evidence related to trade issues, but no such information was disseminated.

A spokesperson at the governor’s office in Juneau directed all inquiries to the McCain/Palin campaign. Told that the inquiry was related to Palin’s role as the governor of Alaska – not as a vice presidential candidate – the spokesperson said that state ethics legislation required that all questions “fueled by the governor’s candidacy” must be directed to the campaign. The spokesperson provided a phone number for a campaign spokeswoman Meg Stapleton. A phone message left on Stapleton’s voicemail was not returned.

In the ABC interview Palin was asked in the event that Georgia joined the NATO alliance and was subsequently attacked by Russia, whether the United States would have to go to war with Russia.

“Perhaps so,” Palin said. “I mean, that is the agreement when you are a NATO ally, is if another country is attacked, you’re going to be expected to be called upon and help.”

Dr. Charles Kupchan, a Georgetown University professor of international relations and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, agreed that NATO would have little choice in such a case.

“The spirit of Article Five is an attack on one is an attack on all, and as a result of that, there is a presumption that if Georgia were a NATO member, or if any other NATO member would attack, that the alliance would invoke Article Five and come to its defense,” Kupchan said. “NATO could decide in a certain circumstance that it was not going to respond militarily, but that would obviously call into question NATO’s credibility in its commitment to collective defense.”

In a statement issued last month, Democratic nominee Barack Obama said, “I have consistently called for deepening relations between Georgia and transatlantic institutions, including a Membership Action Plan for NATO, and we must continue to press for that deeper relationship.”

Aside from the ABC interview, Palin herself has not continued to tout Alaska’s proximity to Russia as an example of her foreign policy knowledge. Instead, she often mentions on the campaign trail her work in striking a deal to construct a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline from Alaska, which would lead through Canada into the continental United States, as evidence that she has been at the forefront of making the U.S. energy independent.

“In general, the main way governors get involved in foreign countries is economic – they try to get countries to invest and go on trade missions, but very rarely do they get involved in issues of national security, in part because the Constitution prevents them from doing so,” Kupchan said.

“I think its fair to say [Palin’s] exposure to most foreign policy issues is minimal. Had she been a governor for a long time and gotten involved in politics on the broader national stage, that would be different.”

Asked what foreign policy credentials Palin might bring with her to Washington, Dr. Gerald McBeath, the political science department chair at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks, pointed to Alaska’s military bases and said that Palin would certainly be aware of security operations surrounding them.

“It used to be more critical in the Cold War than it is now,” McBeath added.

McBeath also noted that Alaska is within striking range of missiles that could be launched from North Korea.

A senior campaign aide who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity admitted that Palin’s knowledge of Russia may be limited to the way someone from Miami might obtain a general feel for Latin America.

“It is very much being able to look off the tip of Alaska,” the aide said. “Metaphorically, I’m talking about.”

Palin Camp Continues To Suggest Special Awareness On Russia

Satellite photo of the Bering Strait between Alaska (United States) and Serbia (Russia) … the two tiny dots in the middle are the Diomede Islands.

Satellite photo of the Bering Strait between Alaska (United States) and Serbia (Russia) … the two small islands in the middle are the Diomede Islands.