Palin vows to 'keep an eye on Russia'

The Russian invasion of Georgia was “unacceptable” and the United States may have to go to war if it is repeated, John McCain’s surprise running mate Sarah Palin said today.

The Russian invasion of Georgia was “unacceptable” and the United States may have to go to war if it is repeated, John McCain’s surprise running mate Sarah Palin said today.

The youngest and first female governor of Alaska made the comments in her first televised interview since being named as the Republican vice presidential nominee.

She has reinvigorated Mr McCain’s campaign since her surprise selection, but serious questions remain over her experience and ability to take over as the US commander-in-chief should anything happen to Mr McCain, who is 72 and has a history of skin cancer.

Tonight, she told ABC World News’ Charles Gibson that war with Russia may be necessary if that nation invades another country.

Speaking on the seventh anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks, the self-styled “hockey mom” took a hard line on national security and also warned of the threats from Islamic terrorists and a nuclear Iran.

Asked if under the Nato treaty, the US would have to go to war if Russia invaded Georgia again, Mrs Palin, 44, said: “Perhaps so. 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.

“And we’ve got to keep an eye on Russia. For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable.”

She also addressed concerns about her ability to lead the US and insisted she was ready.

“You can’t blink,” she said.

“You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on.

“So I didn’t blink then, even when asked to run as his running mate.”

Asked if she was sending her son Track, who left to serve in Iraq today, on a “task from God”, Mrs Palin, who has previously called the Iraq war “God’s plan” said: “I don’t know if the task is from God.

“What I know is that my son has made a decision. I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made, what he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.”

She also told ABC’s World News that she believed in “God-given” rights “to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

“That, in my world view, is a grand – the grand plan,” she said.

Earlier, both presidential candidates Mr McCain and Barack Obama came together ``as Americans'' to remember the nearly 3,000 people who died in the worst terrorist outrage in history on September 11 seven years ago.

The respite from campaign attacks marks a rare moment of political tranquillity in what has become an increasingly negative campaign to win voters before the presidential election on November 4.

Mr Obama had lunch with former President Bill Clinton at his Harlem offices in New York and told reporters the 47-year-old Illinois senator would defeat Mr McCain “pretty handily” in November.

On Wednesday night, Mr Obama dismissed the “lipstick on a pig” controversy as a “silly season in politics”.

But he told David Letterman on the Late Show that there was “no doubt” Mrs Palin had been a “phenomenon” and joked about how he “used to be on the cover of Time and Newsweek” but now he had “had a recent offer with Popular Mechanics”.

His appearance on the popular late-night US TV show came after he accused the McCain campaign of using “lies and phoney outrage and Swift-boat politics” in claiming he used the “sexist” comment against Mrs Palin earlier in the day.

Mr Obama’s campaign said he was not referring to Mrs Palin and said the Republican camp was engaging in a “pathetic attempt to play the gender card”.

The spokesman also noted that Mr McCain once used the same phrase to describe Hillary Clinton’s health care plan.

Mr Obama’s reference was to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, an outside group that in 2004 made unsubstantiated allegations about Democratic nominee John Kerry’s decorated military record in Vietnam.

Mr Obama’s own running mate was making headlines too.

In response to a question from a supporter who was against Mr Obama’s former rival Hillary Clinton, gaffe-prone veteran politician Joe Biden said: “Make no mistake about this, Hillary Clinton is as qualified, or more qualified, than I am to be vice president of the United. Let’s get that straight.

“She’s a truly close personal friend, she’s qualified to be president of the United States of America, she’s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America.

“And quite frankly, erm, she might have been a better pick than me.”

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