Saturday, April 10, 2010

Obama and Palin exchanging jabs over nuke policy

In an interview on Fox News, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took aim at the new doctrine of nuclear retaliation that the White House outlined in what is known as the Nuclear Posture Review. The recently announced shift would rule out nuclear attacks on countries that have signed the nuclear nonproliferation treaty in cases where they attack the U.S. with non-nuclear weapons. It does not rule out nuclear attacks on countries like North Korea and Iran who have not signed onto the nonproliferation treaty. Even so, Palin said that it all put her in mind of an ineffectual tactic in a schoolyard fight.

"No administration in America's history would, I think, ever have considered such a step that we just found out President Obama is supporting today," she proclaimed. "It's kind of like getting out there on a playground, a bunch of kids, getting ready to fight, and one of the kids saying, 'Go ahead, punch me in the face, and I'm not going to retaliate. Go ahead and do what you want to with me.'"

Palin also unleashed a slew of anti-Obama-nuke-policy comments on her Facebook page. (Palin, who was unreachable by Yahoo! News, has recently opted to make public statements through her controlled social media presence rather than speak to reporters.)

But Palin did get a bit of pushback from Obama himself. On Friday, in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America," the president essentially brushed off Palin's remarks as less than fully informed.

Watch the interview (after a commercial introduction). Video courtesy of ABC News. For more on the story, go to

"I really have no response. Because last I checked, Sarah Palin's not much of an expert on nuclear issues," Obama said when George Stephanopoulos asked him about Palin's comments. "If the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff are comfortable with it, I'm probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin."

Palin has already lashed back at the president's gibe — albeit a bit coyly. In remarks Friday before the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, she attacked Obama's failure to rein in the nuclear ambitions of North Korea, making pointed reference to "the president, with all the vast nuclear experience he acquired as a community organizer, and as a part-time senator, and as a full-time candidate."

Obama's new policy on nuclear deployment has won the support of at least one prominent Republican with an extensive nuclear weapons background: former Reagan Secretary of State George Shultz. In an interview with the Daily Beast, Shultz said that "President Obama has picked up on the notion that we can seek a world free of nuclear weapons, and that was very strongly felt by President Reagan," Shultz said. And praising Obama's recent treaty with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to reduce nuclear stockpiles in both countries, Shultz said that it was "important" to get the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty ("proposed by President Reagan [and] expired last December," he noted) "replaced with a treaty that has verification permissions in it and continuous investigations."

No word as yet as to whether Palin has pronounced that George Shultz is a 98-pound weakling.

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