Governor Palin officially entered the foreign policy gauntlet this morning, holding meetings at the United Nations with Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Colombian president Alvaro Uribe. (Hot Air has video.) Further leaders she’ll be meeting today include Presidents Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia, Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine, Jalal Talabani of Iraq, Ali Asif Zardari of Pakistan, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India.
OK, Governor Palin has now trod upon the sector of the campaign minefield occupied by foreign leaders. Karzai and Uribe reported having been impressed and pleased by Palin in their respective meetings, so no tripped mines yet. So far, as far as the campaign minefield in general is concerned, there have been nearby explosions, but nobody’s been killed or maimed to date by any of the diciest aspects of the campaign so far.
Details and minefield highlights below the break.
Successfully navigated sectors of the minefield to date include:
- Her introduction Labor Day weekend. She was well received by audiences, and the media was so completely thrown they could barely get her name right.
- Her handling of her first scandal. Bristol Palin’s pregnancy could have been a huge problem, but the slime brigade at Daily Kos did her a huge favor by starting a rumor beforehand (perpetuated and augmented by Andrew Sullivan at The Atlantic) that her newborn baby Trig was actually Bristol’s. Not only did news of Bristol’s actual pregnancy put the lie to this rumor (unless she’s a medical miracle capable of overlapping preganancies), but after the Kos rumor it was actually a letdown and an embarrassment for her critics. The subsequent wedding plans and prominent appearances at the convention by a very happy-looking Bristol and fiancé Levi minimized any damage, turning a family millstone into a family milestone.
- Her convention speech. Feisty, funny, and fierce, Gov. Palin whipped up enthusiasm among Republicans that hadn’t been seen since the Reagan era. It was encouraging for the GOP in that it sent the message that not only does the party have a ticket worth getting behind, but they’ve still got a bullpen with some fire in it as well.
- Her first interview. As I blogged a while ago, the Charlie Gibson interview wasn’t great for her, but it turned out to be a lot worse for Gibson and his network than for Palin.
- Her second interview. Obviously FOX’s Sean Hannity isn’t exactly an attack dog when it comes to Republican candidates. That said, she was able to get a word in edgewise this time around, and could reasonably count on a faithful account of what she said, rather than CBS’s ridiculous selective editing of both the interview and her stock footage.
(On a side note, it’s really stunning how much support Palin has been able to draw from sympathy over unfair media treatment alone.)
Palin has also had a number of lucky breaks: continued blowback from the CBS interview, additional blowback from her underhanded disinvitation from the Iran rally this week, a PR company with ties to Obama staffers getting busted for releasing a grossly misleading viral ad on Palin and trying to cover it up once caught, and Sen. Joe Biden’s hamfisted attempts to knock her out of the news.
I’m curious to see how this afternoon’s meetings go. I’ll bet Saakashvili and Yushchenko are anxious to shake her hand, given how strongly she rallied to their respective sides in the Gibson interview and in subsequent speeches. I’m also interested to see how well (if well at all) she’ll handle the awkwardness of back-to-back meetings with India and Pakistan, allies to the U.S. but nuclear-armed adversaries to each other.