Afghan leader im­pressed af­ter meet­ing with Palin

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics - BY JOSEPH CURL

NEW YORK | Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on Sept. 22 had her first na­tional se­cu­rity brief­ing from Di­rec­tor of Na­tional In­tel­li­gence Michael McCon­nell, just hours be­fore she had her first-ever meet­ing with a for­eign leader — which she promptly banned the press corps from cov­er­ing.

Even though her sched­ule called for her trav­el­ing press pool to join her at the top of her meet­ing with Afghanistan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai, her staff at the last minute barred re­porters, so no one re­ally knows what Mrs. Palin said in the meet­ing. Her cam­paign called it a staff “mix-up.”

In three meet­ings through­out the day — the two oth­ers were with Colom­bian Pres­i­dent Al­varo Uribe and for­mer Sec­re­tary of State Henry Kissinger — she took no ques­tions, con­tin­u­ing a 25-day streak without a press con­fer­ence that stretches back to Aug. 29, the day she was se­lected to join the pres­i­den­tial ticket of Sen. John McCain.

The cam­paign would not release de­tails of what she talked about in the meet­ings, but Mr. Karzai later told re­porters he was im­pressed.

“I found her quite a ca­pa­ble woman. She asked the right ques- tions on Afghanistan. She was con­cerned, and she said how can she help, so I’m very pleased with that meet­ing,” Mr. Karzai said.

For the half-minute re­porters were in for the Karzai meet­ing, the two talked about their chil­dren. Mr. Karzai told Mrs. Palin about his young son, who was born in Jan­uary 2007.

“What is his name?” Mrs. Palin asked.

“Mir­wais,” Mr. Karzai re­sponded. “Mir­wais, which means, ‘The Light of the House.’ ”

“Oh, nice,” Mrs. Palin sponded.

“He is the only one we have,” Mr. Karzai said.

Af­ter the day­long string of sit­downs, her cam­paign de­picted the can­di­date as cu­ri­ous, ask­ing ques­tions and do­ing more lis­ten­ing than talk­ing.

“Gov­er­nor Palin has a great cu­rios­ity,” said one of her top aides, Steve Bei­gun, a for­mer top of­fi­cial on Pres­i­dent Bush’s Na­tional Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, who is bring­ing the Repub­li­can run­ning mate up to speed on world af­fairs.

re-

Mr. Bei­gun said Mrs. Palin “es­tab­lished a great per­sonal rap­port” with the leaders she met. Asked whether the ses­sions make her more pre­pared for the White House, he said: “I think she’s al­ready fully pre­pared to be vice pres­i­dent.”

Pre­par­ing for her only de­bate with Demo­cratic vice-pres­i­den­tial nom­i­nee Sen. Joseph R. Bi­den Jr., chair­man of the Se­nate For­eign Re­la­tions Com­mit­tee, Mrs. Palin was us­ing the two-day trip to New York to meet world leaders gath­ered for the 63rd an­nual U.N. Gen­eral As­sem­bly ses­sions.

Later in the day, af­ter a meet­ing with Mr. Uribe, Mrs. Palin stopped in for a chat with Mr. Kissinger.

The new in­for­ma­tion might have been of help to her on Sept. 24 when she joined Mr. McCain for a meet­ing with Ge­or­gian Pres­i­dent Mikhail Saakashvili. The pair also met with Ukrainian Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yushchenko, Pak­istani Pres­i­dent Asif Ali Zar­dari, In­dian Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh and rock star hu­man­i­tar­ian Bono.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TO­GRAPHS

Repub­li­can vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Sarah Palin con­fers with Afghan Pres­i­dent Hamid Karzai on Sept. 23. Her aides barred the press from cov­er­ing the event, but Mr. Karzai said he was “ver y pleased with that meet­ing.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.