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. Brendan

    I thought she could see Russia fro her doorstep? Shouldn't she have at least seen somebody coming over from Russia?

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Linda from Prescott AZ

    As Senators take a break from campaigning to vote on important US gov business; I would think Sarah would do the same when the Russians come to Alaska for a meeting.,

    October 15, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. anon

    Two words for this woman....


    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  4. Len in Washington

    If I were an Alaskan......I'd be asking for a refund.
    More like "Pretender."

    I have to wonder....is she putting in for per diem while she's on the campaign trail or does she only do that for when she's at home?

    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Dave

    Hey hey now...she only claimed to be on the watch when they were flying OVER Alaska. Flying TO Alaska is a completely different issue.

    This woman scares me.

    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. ET from OMAHA

    Everytime you talk about that woman, Obama gains more votes.
    CNN can you do us a favor by talking more about her?
    I would appreciate it.
    OBAMA 08 and 12

    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. Xavier, Saint Louis, Missouri

    Clueless airhead Palin is unaware of reality!

    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Independent Fred

    Not only is the good Govennor frightening but she's largely reduced John McCain's campaign to a running joke.

    Egging on ignorant racists at her rallies and bringing these nutcases out of the woodwork. It's a bloody shame because i really, really like John McCain.

    October 15, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Obama All The Way

    She's busy running for her ticket. I don't think it is acceptable that she doesn't know about this meeting. But, I will cut her some slack because she's in a whirlwind right now. I don't like Plain... AT ALL. But, I'll cut her a tiny bit of slack. She is still the governor though. She should know about important meetings with officials from foreign countries in her country.

    October 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. CW in DC

    I guess this is Obama's fault too eh?

    Let's see the Rethuglicans blame this on him.

    O/B 08

    October 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. FLewis

    are you sure this empty body shell of a so called-lady is really the Gov. of Alsaka? I'm beginning to have my doubts.

    October 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Yea Right, DC

    "the Alaska governor was unaware of a visit by Russian oil officials to Anchorage on Monday." ....Uhmmmm, so much for her experience.

    The McCan't/Failin camp will now say that Obama operatives invited the Soviet oil officials" to Alaska and did not tell the Govenor.

    October 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. katiec

    More proof of how unqualied Palin is for the job of vp.
    I too am concerned and worried about Jack Cafferty,
    I have e mailed numerous times to anyone and everyone
    I can reach at CNN, asking them to post on Jacks web
    how he is and when he is coming back.
    There are thousands of us fans who care about Jack
    and miss him.
    Have received nothing but total silence from CNN.
    They evidently do not care about our concerns.

    October 15, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. cjr

    i doubt that sarah knows where alaska is. we might have to leave a trail of cookie crumbs so she can find her way back after the election!

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  15. What she didn't SEE them???

    Poor Palin. She's going to ruin her political career before it even really gets started.

    Spreading hate at her rally's, proof of abusing power, and that nitwit comment about foreign policy and 'seeing' Russia from land in Alaska, and now Russians are in her home state, and she doesn't know about it.

    I am going to stock up on canned goods. We in trouble if this completely unprepared woman gets into the White House.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  16. Gabriel from Denver

    Give us a wink, Sarah, we know it's just a simple misunderstanding.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  17. Carol-Illinois

    Isn't Palin an oil expert? If so, wouldn't she want to be sure she would have input into any negotiations. She is a joke, and the United States can't afford a joke.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Tom in Delaware

    That's right, and Biden doesn't know that Pakistan is our ally, has never been a threat to Israel, and it's missles only have a range of 1,200 miles while Israel is 2,100 miles away.

    There's so much more but I don't want to break the Internet.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Valerie

    Sounds like someone at the Alaska DNR better watch out for their job. Not keeping the Queen in the loop...that will cost ya, you betcha. Expect a visit from the Todd the Enforcer.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. go away mongers- Ventura,CA

    Palin is "unaware" about MANY things- She will NEVER be elected VP-She is a scary, scary person.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. Seriously Sarah

    Ok this is VP wannabe can't control her own state, how in the world is she going to hold the second highest ranking office in government?

    Enough of the cutsy folksy talk Palin! We need a smart VP who knows her supreme court cases, can say NUCLEAR instead of NUCULAR and take control of the country in the event need be for a VP to take such a stand.........And that VP is not you PALIN!


    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Coop182

    Anyone surprised by this? Sarah Palin not knowing what's going on in her own state? Anyone?

    Of course she wasn't aware.

    She's far too busy spreading fear, hatred and lies to keep herself up on affairs of state.

    Of course, if she could be bothered to read a newspaper, she might have clued herself in.

    This woman clearly cannot be president. McCain should have known that, and he should have thought more carefully before choosing this nitwit as his running mate.

    It's Obama/Biden for me. Can't wait until tonight's debate, looking forward to the October 29 Obama message, and really looking forward to calling in sick on November 5th after excessive celebration.

    October 15, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. KJL

    How could she know? She wasn't home to watch out her window for them.

    This woman dosn't have the brains she was born with.

    October 15, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. Obamalism

    Where's the ticker showing Obama telling a Plumber that he wants to 'spread his wealth' to those that are behind him.

    He's not even attempting to hide his SOCIALIST ideology anymore.

    I would vote for freaking Bush again if I had to decide between his policies and a Socialist president with a Pelosi/Reid led Democratic Congress.

    We're in for a world of hurt, and all you can see is HOPE and CHANGE, HOPE and CHANGE...

    October 15, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Dave

    This woman is really on top of things in her State of Alaska. Heaven help us if she ever becomes VP or God forbid, President. What disgrace for the Republican Party!

    October 15, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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