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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Senator Chuck Hagel Speaks the Truth About Sarah Palin

Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel says it's a 'stretch' to call Palin qualified to be president
Associated Press

September 18, 2008

WASHINGTON - Nebraska Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel said his party's vice presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, lacks foreign policy experience and called it a "stretch" to say she's qualified to be president.

"She doesn't have any foreign policy credentials," Hagel said in an interview published Thursday by the Omaha World-Herald. "You get a passport for the first time in your life last year? I mean, I don't know what you can say. You can't say anything."

Could Palin lead the country if GOP presidential nominee John McCain could not?

"I think it's a stretch to, in any way, to say that she's got the experience to be president of the United States," Hagel said.

McCain and other Republicans have defended Palin's qualifications, citing Alaska's proximity to Russia. Palin told ABC News, "They're our next-door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska."

Hagel took issue with that argument. "I think they ought to be just honest about it and stop the nonsense about, 'I look out my window and I see Russia and so therefore I know something about Russia,'" he said. "That kind of thing is insulting to the American people."

Hagel, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been a vocal critic of the Bush administration since the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

I couldn't agree more re: the insulting assertion about proximity to Russia providing foreign policy experience. I'd also throw in the command of the Alaska National Guard. That's part of a governor's job, but it has nothing to do with being commander in chief of the US armed forces.

And yet - we keep hearing that it matters, as if saying it enough times will make it true.