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So, looks like it was Charlie Gibson's gaffe on Bush doctrine, not Sarah Palin's

Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist, writes this morning that it was ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson who actually bobbled a question on the Bush doctrine during one of his recent interviews with new Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Testing Palin's foreign affairs knowledge, GibAlaska Governor and Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin talks with ABC News anchor Charles Gibsonson asked her if she agreed with "the Bush doctrine."

"In what respect?" Palin responded.

When Palin did not answer a follow-up, Gibson informed her that the Bush doctrine is "we have the right of anticipatory self-defense."

"Wrong," writes Krauthammer. "I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term" way back in 2001.

Krauthammer notes both in his Saturday column and on Fox News' "Special Report" Friday that over the years the Bush doctrine has actually had several different meanings and that Gibson's definition isn't even the latest.

The first was the Bush administration's unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty and Kyoto Protocol, which was followed by the post-9/11 "you're with us or you're with the terrorists," which was followed by the preemptive war in Iraq, which Gibson was thinking of.

The fourth incarnation of the Bush doctrine, Krauthammer explains, was the "freedom agenda" articulated in Bush's second inaugural address that "the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands."

"Yes," Krauthammer concludes, "Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Gibson. And at least she didn't pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain."

Wonder if there'll be time to cover this story on "World News" come Monday night.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Photo: ABC News

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Nice try at a bad spin. We all saw, heard, and understand that Palin didn't have a clue what Charles Gibson was talking about. Maybe next time he can be a little softer on her and just give her a multiple choice test instead of an essay test. Would that make the Republicans happy? Poor things.

What a terrible hack Andrew Malcolm is. Compare this headline:

"So, looks like it was Charlie Gibson's gaffe on Bush doctrine, not Sarah Palin's"

with this sentence from the post"

""Yes," Krauthammer concludes, "Palin didn't know what it is. But neither does Gibson. "

Let's assume, just to be fair, that we buy Krauthammer's line, the headline should be something along the lines of "Two Gaffe's for the Price of One of Bush Doctrine"

Instead, hack, ex-Bush staffer Malcolm goes with the pro-Palin line. Typical

Like the gays in the 2000 election, who helped put Bush over the top with their misplaced referendums, Gibson and like-minded media are pushing the electorate to McCain.

You kidding me? Bush doctrine?

There is no such thing unless the press would like to invent it as a by-product of their creation of the “news.”

A Gibson interview?
Charlie is all about Charlie. He wouldn’t let some one else in on the Charles Gibson gig. He’s just using Palin to do what he does best – further his career.

Senator Obama is a typical bolshevik..He wants your kids to work for nothing mandatory for the "public good". The problem with his so-called Public Service Academy is that it would be MANDATORY. Teenagers like freedom. I never forget what happened in our mandatory communism-enforced public service sessions. For example, we had to harvest corn. This great public service event become a corn-throwing fun. Unfortunately someone threw a cord towards our Biology teacher and the corn hit his head! I am for all public service. Our country, the great USA has the best approach to engage young people in public service; through a voluntary approach. If people volunteer the entire experience becomes personal and becomes part of your soul. It is pride that drives voluntarism not commands mandated by a bolshevik.

I agree that public service is very important. The USA has far more volunteers doing meaningful public service work than in any other nation in the world. We are the most generous giving money to charities.

Making public service mandatory is the main point in this blog. If public service should be made mandatory then donations to charities and serving in the army should be mandatory, etc., etc. History shows that Nazis and Communists used these ideas of mandatory “public service” to enslave entire nations. Hitler Jugend, Young Communist’s Groups, etc., were sold as “public service” for the country, or for the “liberation” of the world. So when I see Obama’s proposal of Public Service Academy I smell the old and discredited Nazi or Communist propaganda. The real intention is to control more and more through mandating more and more and more in the name of public service. This creates new Departments, state jobs for cronies, leads to loss of personal freedom and choices and ends anything that made this country the greatest and best.

Finally Obama was never a public servant. He was a community organizer meaning he was a propagandist for the Democratic Party knocking on doors to “convince” citizens to vote for his party. Then he becomes a fast-track career politician doing nothing but advancing in the ranks. This man is a very dangerous politician with plenty of Bolshevik ideas in his head.

It was a trick question either way. She didn't know to what he was referring, therefore she must be uneducated and lacking in foreign policy experience. Right?

However, had she known how to respond, everyone would be discussing how well versed she is in Bush policies and must be four more years of the same.

Either way - she can't win.

I personally think she handled it well.

Palin froze because she knew it was a "gotcha" question. Hardly anyone outside of a Washington think tank could have answered it in a way that would have impressed Gibson.

Should she have known the answer? It would have been nice if she did, but she really didn’t. She could have answered by telling Gibson, “The term ’doctrine’ sounds so academic. I think average Americans want to what Bush policies I agree with and which ones I don’t. So I’m going to tell you…””

That answer would have served to reinforce her populist persona, while also making Gibson look even more like the media elitist he is. It also would have served the American people by letting us know how much she knows about foreign affairs and how mush she agrees with Bush’s approach to them.

So what does it really say that she doesn't know about the “Bush Doctrine”? Nothing substantial.

An executive doesn't have to be an expert. They have to know where to find the experts, get their best advice, filter it through their own system of values and judgments, and make a decision. Gibson's question did nothing to undermine Palin in that respect.

All Gibson proved with that question is that Palin is not ready to be a fellow at the Bookings Institution.

On a side note, I wonder what Obama would have said to that question two weeks into his presidential run.

My response is to DEMS WAKE UP, posted 9/13/08 at 3:06 pm.

You said that Obama would stammer and give a 20 minute answer and say nothing in it. Where the heck have you been! You have obviously not watched any of the speeches in campaign or Obama in the Dem. convention. Anyone, D or R or I, admits that he is an excellent orator. For once a candidate gives details on his policies and goals, and explains what he wants to change. The actual fear (b/c I actually listen to both rep. and dem. broadcasts) is the opposite. Not that he doesn't say anything, that he says things so eloquently with detail, that the opposing side just retorts, "there's no way anyone can promise that much." Well at least he has a plan and is thinking of how to move forward and isn't focusing on what HE's done the last 25 years.

I can't imagine that you are happy with how the last 8 years have turned out. Rid your head of all the @#!! that the media stirs around and actually study what each candidate plans to do for our country....then make a decision.

P.S. Farsi???? Nice way to try to twist Obama's language skills around to make him seem like a bad person. Not too surprising, you're keeping up with the republican tactic of twisting things around (lying works too) to make the other party falsly appear radical, ammoral, or whatever is the ploy at the time. Obama has actually dealt with foreign affairs and knows how to handle it, so when he went to meet with Ahmadinejad, he brushed up on their language, which is what you would do if you were vacationing in any country.

If the question was asked to a bumbling fool like Obama, it would have been edited out. If it was asked to Biden, he probably would have put his hands up and said "that's call it, call Hillary, I am not doing this anymore"

Gibson was hard on Obama too. Gibson is without a doubt and equal opportunity @ss. He was an arrogant jerk with Obama too. I'm supporting the McCain/Palin ticket, but can't pretend Gibson wasn't tough on Obama as well.

A lot of governors who have made it to the white house had to be brought up to speed on foreign policy including Bush and Clinton, she'll do fine once she's elected in 2012. Four years under the master and she'll be kicking Gibson in the butt in these interviews.

Oh Adam,

Perhaps you weren't paying attention. Wikapedia give Krauthammer credit for coining the term. Don't you think he'd know if Gibson made a mistake.

Karl Rove took him over the coals for it.too. O'Reilly said he was sure what Gibson meant either and O'Reilly is politically speaking a pretty savy guy.

Its funny, Andrew,

I knew exactly what Gibson was talking about when he asked her the question.

The only News you have to report in this story is that Krauthammer's attempts to apply cosmetics to Bush's image have not worked.

Its funny, Andrew,

I knew exactly what Gibson was talking about when he asked her the question.

The only News you have to report in this story is that Krauthammer's attempts to apply cosmetics to Bush's image have not worked.

Krauthammer is a GOP stooge and about as trustworthy as the rest of McCain's campaign staff -- which is to say, not at all.

Not only did Charlie Gibson mislead Gov. Palin on the Bush Doctrine, he misled her on her "exact quote" to her church and he and ABC misled the public by editing out key responses of Gov. Palin.

Amazing chatter from the rabble is the majority of the comments I see here. It seems that most of the comments are fixated upon the ability of an interviewee to mindread the meaning of a question by the interviewer. I agree with the comments that Charlie Gibson did a poor job as a REPORTER and JOURNALIST. Reporters and journalists are supposed to ask questions in a clear and direct way that then can expose the truth of the respondent's answer. In other words, Gibson's duty was to be clear and intelligible, which he blew by insisting on a vague term like "Bush Doctrine." Even if you poli sci students out there can recite what you poli sci teacher has taught you to parrot back for the final exam, it does not mean that the term is universally understood, let alone known. It's as vague as it gets, and Palin's response "in what regard" to Gibson was appropriate.
Bigger picture: The Republican campaign strategy involves distancing themselves from politically loaded negatives like "Bush doctrine". Palin could not in her right mind simply answer a 'yes' or a 'no'. So, this entire debate on this Bush doctrine term is absolute rubbish. Next time, ask her if she agrees that we should have gone into Iraq as we did, and other SPECIFIC questions. Then let's debate those. How many Americans can state in one sentence what the 'Bush Doctrine' is? You'd get blank stares and multiple definitions. Vagueness. Confusion. Bad Charlie, Bad.

Please. There's only one Internet, not internets.

You sound like Dubya. He says 'the internets'.


In reading some of the later posts, I see others that commented as I did earlier: The question was baited, and there is no good yes or no answer. Palin was spot on in delaying to answer the question.
Enough said. Let's move on.

Gibson is in the tank for Obama with ABC. Fire him, here is why.

In 2001, Gibson himself defined it (bush doctrine) as “a promise that all terrorists organizations with global reach will be found, stopped and defeated.”

But when Palin tried to give a similar definition Gibson corrected her.

“I believe that what President Bush has attempted to do is rid this world of Islamic extremism, terrorists who are hell bent on destroying our nation,” Palin said in her first interview since being nominated as the GOP’s vice presidential candidate.

Gibson countered: “The Bush doctrine, as I understand it, is that we have the right of anticipatory self-defense, that we have the right to a preemptive strike against any other country that we think is going to attack us.”

Palin has more experience than Obama. People talk about how eloquent he seems to be. I have to disagree. He can't hold a candle to Bill Clinton, yet for some reason the liberal media creams themselves over this nobody. He is a nobody with no more depth than the word "change". As an intelligent voter I'll continue to pay my taxes and they can keep the "change".

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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