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. repub 4 obama

    why is she saying the MEDIA WON'T LET HER TALK!!!


    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Get over the Rev Wright stuff already..

    People why are still beating a dead horse. Reverend Wright isn't any more guilty then some of the other wacko preachers.

    McCain let racial slurs lose. Pastor Haggi has said extremely controvsional things.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Greg in AR

    Obvisously she is unable to multi-task...she allowed the Russians to sneak into Alaska....guess you can't question someone elses qualifications.....AND....do your own job at the same time.....

    Very, very, very scary person that wants the second highest job in the country.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  4. Kelly (Colorado Springs)

    Guess she was too busy slinging mud for McSame. If I were on McSame's staff, I would have made sure she was "aware" so she could have attended the meeting, at least for a photo op.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. Jane CO Battleground

    Maybe she should invest in a BlackBerry. Doesn't even know what is going on in her "neck of the woods" how in the WORLD will she know about all the things that go on. She isn't ready – No way, No How

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  6. SYLVIA (Georgia)

    I call this dumb and not in touch just like Mcain.

    October 15, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  7. Kristina, Seattle

    Well if she were in her HOUSE, she would have seen them coming!

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  8. Mavwreck

    Clueless Sarah
    You betcha!

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Dan, Mpls

    It's amazing that some people are willing to turn over running this country to a couple of idiots who can't even run a campaign successfully.


    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  10. Ginny

    Can something be funny, sad and scarey at the same time?

    Maybe she should go back home and watch Russia from her patio.

    God help America if this woman goes anywhere near DC. We're all in trouble.

    O/B -08

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  11. Beverly Wilkins

    I said this before...somewhere in America we have a women well qualified to lead as VP or President...but not Sarah Palin.

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  12. norb

    Anybody got the feeling that John McCain has sold his soul to the devil?

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  13. Fred

    She is a joke. She should be making comedy show instead. The only thing she can do is read a script.

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  14. MEP

    I guess it's just not enough to look out your window. The only thing worse than being excluded from the talks, is her aid sharing this singular lapse with the world. Maybe she is not the maverick she would like us to think she is.

    October 15, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  15. Sanjeev

    I would like to see Sarah Palin giving more interviews to national channels. To me, she is trying to get into the white house through the back door. She needs to be more aggressive and answer more tough and real questions from national journalists. She doesn't seem to come out of her comfort zone by giving useless speeches in her rallies...etc. People need to know more about her and see whats her stand on many issues.


    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Ted:Canada


    WOW another Republican asleep at the switch – must be something in their coffee.

    By the way – a meeting with a "Russian oil company" really means meeting with the "Russian Government"

    1. Were there pre-conditions as spelled out by McCain?
    2. Did McCain know?
    3. Did the Republican federal government know?

    Putin is going to use Sarah – like a mop!

    After eight years of pure disasters – four more years??- ARE YOU GUYS KIDDING?

    We will build a border fence – if it happens!

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. True Blue Ohio

    Surprising? Something else Sarah Palin knows nothing about.

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  18. Gaffer in Dover, NH

    I'm ashamed she's here right now, but at least I know what's going on in my own state.

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  19. Jason in SDY

    This article is extremely important. She tried to tout her foreign relations experience with Russia and she doesn't even know there is a Russian delegation in her state?!?

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. William

    Pssst! Here's a secret the Republicans apparently aren't in on: Sarah Palin is a JOKE. And if you take her seriously and get enthusiastic about her, someone will be by your house in the second week of November to laugh in your face and tell you "You've been punk'd!"

    Republicans are losing all credibility by rallying around such a total nothing.

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  21. jayel

    Watch it Wooten. Now that she's been cleared of any wrongdoing in Troopergate this trooper Wooten is toast.

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  22. Jeez

    What? You mean she didn't get a chance to yell "WOLVERINES!"?

    October 15, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. fromTampa

    She's amazing. John McCain picked her to be VP. I wouldn't hire her to be a janitor.

    October 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Don

    I'm just dumbfounded that anyone that stupid can be elected to leader of anything.

    I feel sorry for the people of Alaska who have to endure two more years of her vapid cluelessness when she goes back in November.

    October 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  25. Bob from Pittsburgh


    Give her a chance...!!

    After all lately she has received advice from Dan Quale..

    SNL must love her, more as as much as they loved dan Quale..


    October 15, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
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