Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Sarah in the spotlight

SUMMARY: We fact-check statements from Sarah Palin's first major news interview since being named the vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party.

Sarah Palin's first major interview since being named John McCain's running mate was with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

The conversation was wide-ranging, from "next door neighbor" Russia to "extremely dangerous" Iran.

We're going to check several statements from the full interview, but for starters we focused on two things: comments she had made about "God's plan" and Iraq, and her statement that "man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change."

"God's plan" and Iraq: Gibson asked her, "You said recently in your old church, 'Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God.' Are we fighting a Holy War?" And Palin said: "That's a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words, when he said, first he suggested, never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words, but what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was, let us not pray that God is on our side, in a war, or any other time. But let us pray that we are on God's side. That's what that comment was all about, Charlie."

We compared Palin's words and Lincoln's words side-by-side to see if Palin's words were a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's, and found they're similar in that they both express a hope that a plan meets with God's favor. We find Palin's statement to be Mostly True.

On whether global warming is man-made: Gibson prefaced his question by saying that Palin, before being selected for the ticket, had said global warming was not caused by human activities. That would conflict with the views of her running mate John McCain. "Do you still believe that global warming is not man-made?" Gibson asked.

"I believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change," Palin said. "Regardless of that, John McCain and I agree that we gotta do something about it, and we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution. ..." After a followup question, she said: "I'm attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now."

Gibson said he detected a change in her position, but Palin said she hadn't.

We found two clear statements that Palin didn't believe that human activity contributed to global warming. Earlier this year, to the Web site Newsmax. And in an interview to a Fairbanks newspaper in December 2007. We rule this one a Full Flop.