October 15th, 2008
12:45 PM ET
11 years ago

Palin unaware of Russian energy meeting in Alaska

Palin did not know that Russian oil officials would be visiting her home state this week.

Palin did not know that Russian oil officials would be visiting her home state this week.

DOVER, New Hampshire (CNN) - The campaign of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin said the Alaska governor was unaware of a visit by Russian energy officials to Anchorage on Monday.

Eight high-level officials from Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy conglomerate, traveled to Anchorage earlier this week to meet with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources and the chief executive of ConocoPhillips to discuss energy projects and the possibility of expanding into new markets.

The meeting on Alaskan soil comes at a time of chilly relations between Russia and the United States following Russia’s invasion of Georgia in August. Both Palin and John McCain have been critical of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the campaign trail, and Palin raised eyebrows last month in an interview by saying that Putin “rears his head” by dispatching Russian jets into Alaska’s airspace.

Palin has argued that her state’s proximity to Russia, as well as trade missions between Alaska and Russia, have helped give her the foreign policy experience necessary to be Vice President. But the campaign said the governor did not know that the Gazprom delegation was meeting with the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who is a Palin appointee.

Asked if Palin supports Gazprom doing business in Alaska, an aide to the governor said that “Alaska state officials routinely meet with government representatives from energy companies around the world.”

“Alaska has been, and will remain, very selective about companies with whom they do business,” said Palin spokesperson Tracey Schmitt.

UPDATE: The commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources, Tom Irwin, tells CNN he informed Palin’s chief of staff, Mike Nizich, about the meeting before it took place two days ago. Irwin did not know if Nizich had passed the information along to the governor.

Irwin told CNN that he exchanged emails with Palin on Wednesday about energy issues, but that neither of them mentioned the Gazprom meeting in their messages. Despite Palin's absence from the state, Irwin said “it remains business as normal, and the governor has stayed very involved in state activities and is still leading state government.”

He noted that Monday's meeting with the Russian officials actually took place in the governor’s conference room in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, which he said is a common practice for large meetings and only requires on-site approval by office staffers.

Irwin stressed that the meeting with the Russian delegation was simply “a presentation of what they do” and that there was no specific pitch made about any business interest in Alaska.

Watch: Palin on McCain's new economic plan


Filed under: Sarah Palin
soundoff (220 Responses)
  1. DebM, Allentown, PA

    Perfect description of Palin

    UNAWARE

    October 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. jason

    i thought she was supposed to be keeping putin out of alaska?

    October 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Brian

    Dear lord, this woman is demonstrating that she's not even competent enough to lead Alaska, let along become VP.

    I wouldn't be surprised if she was kicked to the curb in the next Alaska gubernatorial election.

    It was so cruel what McCain did to this poor woman and her family!

    October 15, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. the other jd

    Asked if Palin supports Gazprom doing business in Alaska, Palin responded that only heterosexual couples should be allowed to hold proms.

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. CS in PA

    All cynical thoughts to the side, the very thought of this lady being one step from the presidency is extremely frightening!

    Way to go Sarah – you really have a handle on things.

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  6. JD FROM NEW YORK

    SO YOU DIDN'T KNOW SARAH?

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  7. Rob Johnson

    The idea that this woman is an expert on ANYTHING, even oil drilling, is a bad joke. I shudder at the thought of her negotiating with the Russian oil monopoly, so it's probably a good thing she isn't involved with this meeting.

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. no fear

    Palin isn't aware of many things.
    It is mystifying how she came to be chosen as a potential vp.
    How can this happen?

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Rich in Seattle

    "Oh, say it ain't so Joe!"

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  10. TennTuxx

    Pitiful...as a leader, I may not always be IN the meetings that go on in my territory, but I DO know what meetings are happening and who's there! Any the people who work for me keep me informed...

    And she wants to LEAD the country? Guess she didn't see Putin's team "rear their ugly heads".

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  11. Doug in Renton, WA

    Clueless Sarah. Is anyone surprised at this point?

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  12. Deb

    Well I guess she was too busy inciting hatred at rallies or giving interviews to Rush and as Roland Martin put it...Sean "little ball of hate" Hannity.

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Robin in SC

    Why Am I Not Surprised...

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. YAM

    Thanx but no thanx...we want an ethical administration in 2009.

    October 15, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Muz

    "Well, Alaska and Russia are only separated by a narrow maritime border. You got Alaska here, this right here is water, and this is Russia. So, we keep an eye on them."

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. We are ALL "That One"

    She is "unaware" of alot of things. We already know this...no shock.

    BTW
    The J. Jackson story has already been debunked by the AP. Both Obama and Jackson have nice comments on this one.

    It is just more underhanded McCain Campaign spin garbage.

    Obama-Biden

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  17. TEXAS NICK

    "But the campaign said the governor did not know that the Gazprom delegation was meeting with the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, who is a Palin appointee."

    Even her own campaign is pointing out her own innept knowledge of today's events.

    but....but...but.... it's the liberal media's fault, right?

    wahhh wahhh wahhhh

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  18. Chilly

    You mean she didn't see them coming from her backyard???

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Wes B.

    I don't think Sarah Palin is very smart.

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  20. southcarolinadem

    Just when you think this womans incompetence couldn't be any clearer something like this comes up. When will you blind Republicans wake up to McCains total lack of judgement with regards to his VP pick? And if this is the biggest decision he has had to make as a Presidential candidate, what does it say about his judgement, or lack there of?
    Obama in a landslide!!

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Rhonda

    Palin is "unaware" of many things.

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  22. Travis- Atlanta

    I wonder how she'll dial back from this...

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  23. Micky

    It's true that Palin is just a clueless side-kick. Out of touch and out of time.This is just another sign that she (Palin) is not the person for any job.

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  24. park more

    Obama is unaware of many many many things even he is the chair.... CNN bla bla bla bla

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Vinson

    This woman is completely clueless about her OWN state.

    Pathetic, yet comical!

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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