Obama to Palin: What do you know about nukes anyway? Update: Video added

Wish I could give you a video clip but ABC’s being stingy until tomorrow. For now, we’ll have to make do with the Reuters transcript of his interview with Stephanopoulos:


Palin, the former vice presidential candidate, has not been shy about criticizing Obama’s policies and this week weighed in on his revamped nuclear strategy, saying it was like a child in a playground who says ‘punch me in the face, I’m not going to retaliate.’

“I really have no response to that. The last I checked, Sarah Palin is not much of an expert on nuclear issues,” Obama said in an interview with ABC News…

“What I would say to [Republican critics] is, is that if the secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff are comfortable with it, I’m probably going to take my advice from them and not from Sarah Palin.”

Are they comfortable with it, though? One of the unanswered questions about the new protocol promising no nuclear response (in most cases) to a biological or chemical attack is how much of it reflects — or rather, doesn’t reflect — Gates’s thinking. From a speech Gates delivered on October 30, 2008, just a few days before the election:

There is no way to ignore efforts by rogue states such as North Korea and Iran to develop and deploy nuclear weapons, or Russian or Chinese strategic modernization programs. As long as other states have or seek nuclear weapons – and potentially can threaten us, our allies, and friends – then we must have a deterrent capacity that makes it clear that challenging the United States in the nuclear arena – or with other weapons of mass destruction – could result in an overwhelming, catastrophic response…

Our nuclear arsenal also helps deter enemies from using chemical and biological weapons. In the first Gulf War, we made it very clear that if Saddam used chemical or biological weapons, then the United States would keep all options on the table. We later learned that this veiled threat had the intended deterrent effect as Iraq considered its options.

While some may not see a real nuclear threat to the United States today, we should be mindful that our friends and allies perceive different levels of risk within their respective regions. Here, our arsenal plays an irreplaceable role in reducing proliferation.


Maybe Gates has since changed his mind, but I’m not sure why he would have; the likelier explanation for the shift is that he’s simply going along with the policy of the new commander-in-chief.

Here’s the video of Palin’s comments on Hannity to which The One is reacting. You may remember that this topic also came up at her VP debate with Biden. You’ll find that video here.

Update: Here’s the clip. Skip ahead to 1:30.

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