From The Boston Globe:
NEW YORK – Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin threw herself into a crash course in diplomacy at the United Nations yesterday, beginning her first of two days of meetings with foreign leaders, including Afghan president Hamid Karzai, Colombian president Álvaro Uribe, Pakistani president Ali Asif Zardari, and Iraqi president Jalal Talabani.
The meetings with Palin, who had never met a foreign head of state before and who traveled outside North America for the first time last year, were designed to bolster her foreign policy credentials and introduce her to close US allies with whom she would work if she became vice president.
But the carefully orchestrated visits also highlighted the degree to which John McCain’s presidential campaign will go to shield the first-term Alaska governor from the press. Until CNN threatened to withdraw its pool camera crew, Palin’s aides initially banned reporters, who are traditionally allowed to briefly view private diplomatic meetings that are being photographed, and are sometimes allowed to ask questions.
Palin – who was escorted by Randy Scheunemann, John McCain’s top foreign policy adviser, and Steve Biegun, a former National Security Council member – met with Karzai yesterday for about a half hour.
Reporters were allowed in for less than a minute, and heard the self-proclaimed “hockey mom” of five discussing Karzai’s only child, who was born in January 2007.
After meeting with Karzai, during which aides said she discussed the need for more troops in Afghanistan, Palin traveled by motorcade to the Colombian mission to the UN, where she met with Uribe and talked about a proposed US-Colombian Free Trade Agreement, which McCain and Palin support but Obama opposes, according to Biegun.
Then Palin met with former secretary of state Henry Kissinger at his consulting firm’s offices for what was perhaps her most substantive meeting of the day. Palin talked for more than an hour with Kissinger, who tutored President Bush during his first White House campaign and has kept in close contact with him through his presidency.
Kissinger and Palin spoke about Russia, Iran, and China, Biegun said. In recent weeks, Kissinger has stated that he believes the United States should meet with Iranian leaders without preconditions – the position that has been taken by Democratic nominee Barack Obama and that McCain has repeatedly ridiculed.
Diplomacy has been replaced by speed dating. Good thing she has lots of people behind her who have real diplomacy chops, like the one who put out this press release:
We regret the mix-up and were happy that the pool had access to the Governor’s meetings with President Uribe and Dr. Henry Kissenger.