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. Sarah

    Well Sara you don't have the power no more. They shut you out of this one honey. Maybe next time when they call to talk to you the McCain will let you answer your own calls instead of screening them. They screened you out a good ticket to see Putin on the ground instead of the air. ArrowHEAD.

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. Anita

    Vice Presiden't Cheney's heart problems and Governor Palin's lack of knowledge about the business affairs of the country or her own state give me pause.

    Pause on the one hand for the welfare of our existing VP and on the other hand on the welfare of a country that would identify this Governor for the job of the VP.

    Much Pause and Trepidation.

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. Kayropro

    The one time she could have actually shown some foreign policy connection and she blows it. You have to laugh at that. The McCain campaign is run by idiots. I guess they're too busy covering their butts over connections to Saddam and Freddie / Fannie that they can't do their jobs. Johnny and Cindy are getting ripped off and I'm having a good laugh.

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. Letha

    Palin is STAR struck, she's on the back burner, I don't blame Alaska for not telling her, who wants a liar sitting speaking to foregin countries. Especially Putin

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  5. Christine CT

    ...but "I can see Russia from my house!"

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  6. BC

    who cares? She is well on her way to being a has-been joke – this year's Ralph Nader...

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Biff

    so... let me guess.... this is the media being "in the tank" for OBAMA,,,, BECAUSE "REPORT" SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED... RIGHT??



    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Sesay

    Russia should not be allowed to do business anywhere in the U. S.

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. idiots for McPalin

    i thought this moron keeps an watchful eye on Putin's head as it rears into Alaska airspace.

    The only airspace Palin should be aware of is the one between her ears. Hey your changing hairstyle is not gonna win votes maybe stepping down would do it instead.

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  10. Connie

    Now is the time to ask Obama the tough questions , do you like the blue drapes or red ones in the oval office. Palin is just another one of McSeniles bad, bad jokes. OBAMA/BIDEN 08
    Connie from Indiana

    October 15, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  11. josephine

    I think she did know cause when she answered that she was unaware of the meeting, she winked and did one of her patented smirk like saying you guys just got punked again. ha ha

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Lisa, IN

    Palin has no morals. She did exactly what McCain told her to do. Then she had the nerve to go on Rush Limbaugh's and say "I don't have anything to lose." Well Sarah, America has a lot to lose, and we won't gamble away our future with YOU.

    America 08
    Barack Obama & Joe Biden 08

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  13. Brandi from J-ville

    I guess she blinked.

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  14. anon E mus


    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  15. Joe

    She had no idea of their arrival because she wasnt looking out of her window during the time.

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. Francheska

    Another day, another laugh Palin gives me!! 😉

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  17. Obvious

    More coverage on Palin's ties to the Anti-American Alaska Independence Party please, CNN!

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Joe

    Well now there ya go Vladimir rearing ya head again. Just gonna have to get back to ya, when I stop this here campaigning. You bethca.

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. mitchell

    That is just dumb article, as if CNN wouldn't be critical if she went to it after the Georgian invaision.

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. bruja

    Please Jack Cafferty: We like to hear your comments.............

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Vincent, Great Lakes, Illinois


    Aren't you the Governer? Shouldn't you know these things? But then again, you knew nothing of those poor souls that had to pay for their own rape kits when you were Mayor.

    Just what we need. An uninformed V.P in a position to become President if conditions warrent it.

    And they talk about G.W as being an idiot.

    October 15, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  22. Obamalism

    Bushwacked in Eugene –

    US oil goes on the global market like any other commodity. Sorry, no conspiracy theory here.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. CNN, WHAT IS UP???

    Who cares!
    Why are you burying the story on the AIP. You actually are going to backdown because of a McCain campaign threat. Are you serious? Run the story, tell the American People what you know. I'm sure you won't post this. You go after Obama for a hangnail. This is serious business, the AIP story. Do your job for the American People and run your stories. Why are you afraid?

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Foxhole Atheist

    Bible Spice, unaware? Shocking.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  25. LIP

    I love these liberal "meeting places" blogs. So much hatred and bias and racism and sexism, all in one place.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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