Pressed on whether she could take over as president if necessary, she insisted: "I'm ready"

By Brian Orloff
September 11, 2008 07:30 PM
Chris Miller/AP

In her highly anticipated first major TV interview, GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin faced tough questioning about her on-the-job experience, her views on national security – and God.

Asked by ABC’s Charles Gibson whether she felt she had the experience to serve when John McCain asked her to join his ticket, the Alaska governor insisted she never second-guessed herself.

“I didn’t hesitate,” Palin, 44, said in the interview on ABC’s World News Tonight on Thursday, the first of five segments the network plans to air Sept. 11 to Sept. 12. “I answered [McCain] ‘yes’ because I have the confidence in that readiness and knowing that you can’t blink. You have to be wired in a way of being so committed to the mission, the mission that we’re on, reform of this country and victory in the war; you can’t blink.”

When pressed by Gibson whether she could take over as president if necessary, Palin answered: “I’m ready.”

Palin took a hard line on foreign affairs, saying the United States might have to go to war with Russia if that country again invaded its neighbor Georgia, a U.S. ally that is seeking to join NATO. Palin also sought to clear up a videotaped remark she made at an Alaska church that fighting in Iraq was “a task from God.”

Palin said she was alluding to a quote by Abraham Lincoln. “I would never presume to know God’s will or to speak God’s words,” she said. “But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that’s a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God’s side.”

Palin has a personal connection to Iraq. Her eldest son, Track, 19, was scheduled to deploy this month.

“I am so proud of his independent and strong decision he has made,” Palin said. “What he decided to do and serving for the right reasons and serving something greater than himself and not choosing a real easy path where he could be more comfortable and certainly safer.”