PHILADELPHIA (CNN) – Sarah Palin partook in an established political ritual on Saturday night when she headed to Tony Luke's in south Philadelphia to order a pair of cheesesteaks with whiz and onions.
But as the kitchen sizzled and orders were barked out, Palin found herself talking politics, calling McCain's debate performance "awesome" and taking questions from a voter about the hunt for terrorists in Pakistan.
While waiting in line with her daughter Willow to place her order, a reporter asked Palin if she watched Friday's debate, and what her impressions were.
"I did, I did," she said. "McCain did awesome. He was great. He was absolutely on his game."
Palin added that she is ready to debate Joe Biden next Thursday in St. Louis.
"I am," she said. "Look forward to it. Look forward to getting to speak to Americans through that debate, absolutely."
The governor got a more serious interrogation moments later when Temple graduate student Michael Rovito approached her to inquire about Pakistan.
"How about the Pakistan situation?," asked Rovito, who said he was not a Palin supporter. "What's your thoughts about that?"
"In Pakistan?," she asked, looking surprised.
"What's going on over there, like Waziristan?"
"It's working with [Pakistani president] Zardari to make sure that we're all working together to stop the guys from coming in over the border," she told him. "And we'll go from there."
Rovito wasn't finished. "Waziristan is blowing up!," he said.
"Yeah it is," Palin said, "and the economy there is blowing up too."
"So we do cross border, like from Afghanistan to Pakistan you think?," Rovito asked.
"If that's what we have to do stop the terrorists from coming any further in, absolutely, we should," Palin responded, before moving on to greet other voters.
Those comments appear to contradict McCain's long-standing position of negotiating with Pakistan before carrying out attacks on terrorists within their borders. The GOP nominee criticized Barack Obama in Friday night's debate for his willingness to strike unilaterally inside Pakistan.
"He said that he would launch military strikes into Pakistan," McCain said. "You don't do that. You don't say that out loud. If you have to do things, you have to do things, and you work with the Pakistani government."
Obama responded saying, "Nobody talked about attacking Pakistan. If the United States has al Qaeda, bin Laden, top-level lieutenants in our sights, and Pakistan is unable or unwilling to act, then we should take them out."
Palin ordered the two sandwiches, but the managers refused to let her pay, so she slipped a bill into their tip jar. She did not eat at the restaurant, opting instead to take the food with her in the motorcade.
(updated with additional information)