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

Palin unaware of Russian energy meeting in Alaska

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/15/palin4.jpg caption="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. T.O, New York, NY

    Duh.......Are we surprised?

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  2. Voice of Reason

    y'know – the ONE thing Sarah Palin had going for her was Energy. She has a clue about what's going on in Energy in Alaska.

    Everything else – it's like sandblasting a soup-cracker.

    And now she isnt even aware that "Putin is rearing his ugly head"? (IF you could even call it that ... apparently this is business as usual)

    Slow down Flossie, we dont want to overload ya...

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Christy

    Alsaka, a country of its own, negotiating energy contacts with other countries. Too Funny. GO AIP!

    October 15, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  4. Jeffrey

    I guess they came over during the middle of the night. It was dark and Gov. Palin was sleeping, which made it hard for her to keep an eye on Russia and she couldn't see them from her house.

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  5. Amy

    Hmm, that makes me wonder what else she doesn't know about is happening while she's away. You'd think her administration would keep her in the loop – unless they're used to this type of behavior.

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  6. SoCal

    Just listen to some her speeches, again and again.
    I don't know if she's just a puppet, or if she is smarter than that but accepted to act like a puppet.
    Whatever the case her speeches don't provide any kind of substances whatsoever.
    No surprise the now she doesn't even know what's going on in Alaska.

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  7. Kuilor2k

    It makes perfect sense that CNN (and it's in the tank attitude for Obama) would completely ignore the "spread the wealth around" comment by Obama. Like I want wealth redistribution (and I only make 80K a year, but according to Obama, that's enough to make sure I have to givve 500 bucks to some guy that doesn't want to work so he can get a free ride off my rear end!)


    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. Brook

    Figures. She's absolutely clueless and thank GOD America sees her clulessness.

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. Bruce

    Palin is unaware of MANY THINGS. The one thing she should be aware of is her HUSBANDS TIE TO AIP. The HATE Group that wants to form a seperate nation because they HATE EVERYTHING AMERICAN. Is that the kind of people to "PAL" around with?

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  10. Schneider (I) - CA

    Clueless...McCain must be cursing himself every day that he was forced to choose that fundamentalist airhead.

    Obama fans though don't get too cocky...polls are deceiving. Although most national polls have Obama up around 12 pts, the polls among likely voters is only a 5 pt lead. 5 pts can disappear overnight – with one miscue. The only way to secure an Obama win, is to not get overconfident and continue to push up to and through the election.

    October 15, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  11. we need change

    MCcain's hale mary is a BUST!

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. Bayside, Annap Maryland

    You can see Russia, and can deal with Russian threat, yet you don't even know when Russians come to your own State. . . That is the most Poetic thing yet. You Rock Palin! Go O n Joe!

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  13. Amy

    You'd think she would have been there...you know...to help burnish her foreign policy credentials!

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  14. Derrick

    Uh Oh! Is that Putin's head a-rearin'? For the love of God, Governor, SECURE THE AIRSPACE!

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  15. very big issue ?

    Obama : tell us why you and Biden are scared of American people in McCain's rally asking "legitimate" questions, and are angry at the state of affairs ?

    Why Biden should not be scared of Rezko and Rev Wright's ideology and Farrakhan's comments, and Bill Aiyers past deeds instead ?

    CNN moderator, these are valid points, nothing racial here, post it.

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. repub 4 obama




    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  17. Anne E.

    Guess Putin didn't want her to know he was invading "our airspace."
    I will be SO GLAD when this woman is nothing more than a bad political memory.

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  18. Jamie

    So if this fool doesn't even know what's going on with Russia and her state how can we trust her to be on top of things on the wold stage.
    Just say 'NO' to the Mummy and the Dummy.

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |

    Can't control your State you can't the country No WAY NO HOW NO PALIN

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  20. pat C.

    GOD THIS WOMAN IS SOOOO DUMB! so much for her being worldly and keeping up with what is going on around her huh?
    sarah palin is a joke and has ruined mccain 's reputation of honor and trust worthiness. he should send her packing today!
    his chioce of sarah palin will go down in history as the worst blunder ever made by a candidate running for office.
    maybe if he had vetted her he would have found out just how incompatant she is. her past is catching up with her now and unfortunately is bringing them both down! poor john mccain....be careful what you ask for ,you just might get it!

    October 15, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  21. john

    What kind of a Governor is she if she doesn't know that high-level Russian officials are visiting her state??? Please don't say, there's so much other business going on she can't know everything – this is Alaska, not so much going on. What makes it more egregious is that they are there to discuss her supposed area of expertise, ENERGY!!!! Alaska lives and dies by the energy industry and she didn't know? This woman is a joke. This does not bode well if Putin "rears his head" in the future!

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    I'm not surprised she didn't know about it - but perhaps more importantly:

    What was this meeting all about? New ways for Conoco to ship US oil to Russia? I've heard rumors that some US oil is shipped outside the country, but haven't seen it verified. Anybody have any facts about this?

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  23. GAWoman4Obama, Atlanta

    She is clueless, clueless I say. How she gonna run the country as a Vice President (2nd in command) & not know that officals from another country is in her state.

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  24. GA4OBAMA

    what happened palin? aren't you supposed to keep an eye out on russia? the one time russians came into alaska's air space and you missed it. HA!


    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  25. Eric-30-m-PA

    Now it's time to ask Barack the tough questions. There's a lot that he doesn't know either. Let's be fair now.

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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