The vice presidential candidate got hit with questions about national security, the tricky proposition of an Israeli strike against Iran, and Russia's provocative move against Georgia. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin offered answers, stumbled a bit, but handled herself adequately. More to the point, Americans now know where she stands on some of the critical issues facing the country.
That's what's expected of candidates vying for the second-highest elected office in the land. And Governor Palin is no exception. She's entitled to respect, but not to deference. When someone aspires to be vice president of the United States and teams up with a presidential candidate who is 72 years old and a three-time cancer survivor, voters need to know what to expect should she move into the Oval office.
ABC's Charles Gibson didn't cut Mrs. Palin any breaks in her first televised interview, nor should he have. He asked tough questions on foreign policy, an area in which she has no experience and little familiarity, and pressed her when she didn't fully answer a question. On the Bush doctrine, which Mr. Gibson had to spell out for her (the president's post-9/11 principle of pre-emptive war), she eventually responded: "We have every right to defend our country" if legitimate intelligence shows a strike is imminent. She said she wouldn't presume to "second-guess" Israel's right to defend itself against Iran (and wouldn't explain any further), and suggested war with Russia was not off the table if Moscow invaded a NATO ally.
As the strong, decisive chief executive she claims to be, Governor Palin should have expected tough questions on national security from a veteran such as Mr. Gibson - we are a country at war and would likely remain so in a McCain administration. But theirs was a civil, professional exchange, and Mrs. Palin, who appeared confident if a bit tense, shouldn't shy from another.