Larry Elder

So how did Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican vice presidential candidate, handle her first big-time sit-down interview?

ABC News' Charlie Gibson asked pointed questions about her fitness for office and her views on foreign policy. After Palin strongly answered "yes" to the question about her preparedness to assume the presidency, Gibson asked whether she agrees with the "Bush Doctrine."

"In what respect, Charlie?" asked a rather bewildered Palin.

"The Bush -- well, what do you -- what do you interpret it to be?" Gibson challenged.

"His worldview?" Palin asked.

Gibson replied, "No, the Bush Doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq war."

"I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do," said Palin, "is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hellbent on destroying our nation. There have been blunders along the way, though. There have been mistakes made."

Gibson finally explained: "The Bush Doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a pre-emptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us. Do you agree with that?"

"I agree that a president's job," said Palin, "when they swear in their oath to uphold our Constitution, their top priority is to defend the United States of America."

Critics pounced. "Palin unready for prime time!" "Couldn't define the Bush Doctrine!"


Point of order: President Bush never used the term "Bush Doctrine." Gibson said the administration "enunciated" it in September 2002. But in June 2002, President Bush, in a speech at West Point, declared his intention to be proactive in fighting the War on Terror, and that he refused to wait before taking action to protect national security. Some called this the "Bush Doctrine."

During a newscast Sept. 21, 2001, Gibson called the President's speech of the previous evening "very forceful." The President, he explained, outlined "what is being called the Bush Doctrine." The newsman called it "a promise that all terrorists' organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated." Isn't this precisely what Palin said?

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit