Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Palin takes questions at Michigan town-hall meeting

GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan (CNN) -- Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin took questions with her running mate Wednesday night, offering at one point to play "stump the candidate" with a mostly friendly Michigan crowd.

Gov. Sarah Palin greets supporters at a town-hall meeting in Michigan Wednesday night.

Asked for "specific skills" she could cite to rebut critics who question her grasp of international affairs, she replied, "I am prepared."

"I have that confidence. I have that readiness," Palin said. "And if you want specifics with specific policies or countries, you can go ahead and ask me. You can play 'stump the candidate' if you want to. But we are ready to serve."
GOP presidential nominee John McCain stepped in, pointing out that as governor of a state that is oil and gas plentiful, Palin was familiar with energy. She knows it to be "one of our great national security challenges," he said.

He also cited her nearly two years as commander of Alaska's National Guard. "I believe she is absolutely, totally qualified to address every challenge as the next vice president of the United States," McCain said.

The Alaska governor has largely avoided national news outlets since McCain named her his running mate August 29. Mostly unknown outside her home state, she has sat for interviews with ABC, People magazine and Fox News and had not taken questions at a campaign appearance before Wednesday.
"I think because I'm a Washington outsider, that opponents are going to be looking for a whole lot of things that they can criticize, and they can kind of beat the candidate here who chose me as his partner, to try to tear down the ticket," she said Wednesday night.

Palin also took questions about her family and women's rights during the hourlong forum. Asked at one point how she would respond to people who say she can't be both a mother of five and vice president, she said, "Well, let's prove them wrong."

Speaking after the federal government announced plans to rescue ailing insurance giant AIG and after Wall Street took its second nosedive in a week, McCain and Palin both called for reforming the financial markets "in Wall Street and Washington," as McCain put it.

"We're going to reform how Wall Street does business and put an end to the greed that has driven our markets into chaos," McCain said. "We'll put an end to multimillion-dollar payouts to CEOs who have broken the public trust. We'll put an end to running Wall Street like a casino. We'll make businesses work for the benefit of their shareholders and employees, and we'll make sure your savings -- IRA, 401(k) and pension accounts -- are protected."

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