Sarah Palin

Campaign Issues

U.S. Policy toward Africa

Palin's stance on U.S. policy toward Africa is unknown.

Democracy Promotion in the Arab World

Palin says she thinks the United States should “make every effort possible to help spread democracy for those who desire freedom, independence, tolerance, respect for equality.” In a September 2008 interview with the CBS Evening News, Palin said the promotion of democracy is the underlying goal in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. “It's not just to keep the people safe, but to be able to usher in democratic values and ideals [around] the world,” Palin said.

U.S. Policy toward India

Palin's stance on U.S. policy toward India is unknown.


Palin says additional troops are needed in U.S. military efforts in Afghanistan. In September 2008, Palin said the increased U.S. presence in Afghanistan “will lead to further security” (AP) for the United States.

Palin met with Afghan President Hamid Karzai (Reuters) in September 2008, reportedly to discuss the U.S. counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.

Military Tribunals and Guantanamo Bay

Palin's stance on military tribunals and Guantanamo Bay is unknown.

Domestic Intelligence

Palin's stance on domestic intelligence is unknown.

Energy Policy

Gov. Sarah Palin emphasizes U.S. energy security and advocates domestic drilling for oil to help free the United States from dependence on foreign energy sources. "With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers," Palin said in her September 2008 speech before the Republican National Convention. "To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly one-fifth of world energy supplies, or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia, or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries, we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas," she said.

Palin supports drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge [ANWR]. In an August 2008 interview with Business Week, Palin said she thinks some members of Congress "have misconceptions” about ANWR, and described the area of energy focus as “a swath of land that's about 2,000 acres in size—and that's out of a 20 million-acre plain that has been set aside." Palin also said the wildlife in the area would not be harmed by drilling because the state of Alaska has stringent oversight and would "even ramp up that oversight to a greater degree if people would understand the importance of unlocking that swath of land and let the development begin."

From 2003 to 2004, Palin chaired the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. She resigned from that position amid concerns (FOX) about ethical violations by her fellow Republicans on the commission.

In August 2008, the Alaska Senate authorized the TransCanada Corporation to build a 1,700-mile natural gas pipeline that will cost an estimated $30 million. Palin had pushed for the pipeline’s approval, saying it will allow Alaskan gas to "provide aid to those in the Lower 48, who are turning to Alaska, waiting and wanting Alaska to help."

Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Palin says she does not think the United States should “second guess (ABC) the measures that Israel has to take to defend themselves, and for their security.”  Palin met with AIPAC’s board of directors (MSNBC) in September 2008 to discuss the importance of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. In June 2008, Palin signed a resolution passed by the Alaska legislature congratulating Israel on the 60th anniversary of its founding, and affirming “strong bonds of friendship” between the United States and Israel.

Palin’s position on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is unknown. She has not publicly indicated whether she believes the United States should negotiate with Hamas.


Gov. Sarah Palin supports the U.S. war in Iraq, which she has called a "task that is from God" (AP). She says Iraq is the "central front" in the war on terror. Palin has also praised the troop surge in Iraq as a success (MSNBC). "In Iraq, change happened, and that's a great thing for America," Palin said in a September 2008 speech in Missouri.

In an August 2008 interview with Business Week, Palin spoke generally about the intersection of war and energy issues: "We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources, which is nonsensical when you consider that domestically we have the supplies ready to go."

Climate Change

Palin has said she is not sure human behavior causes climate change (Newsmax), but said in a September 2008 interview with ABC News that human activity "certainly can be contributing to the issue" and that "we have to make sure that we're doing all we can to cut down on pollution." In September 2007, Palin created a subcabinet state agency in Alaska to advise her on the "preparation and implementation of an Alaska climate change strategy." Changes to the environment "will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location," Palin said in August 2008.

Palin opposed adding polar bears threatened by melting sea ice to the government’s list of species to be protected under the Endangered Species Act, saying there is "insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future" (NYT). She opposed efforts by environmental groups to use the designation of polar bears as an endangered species to "force the government to either stop or severely limit any public or private action that produces, or even allows, the production of greenhouse gases." In a January 2008 New York Times op-ed she wrote that the Endangered Species Act is "not the correct tool to address climate change—the act itself actually prohibits any consideration of broader issues."

Homeland Security

Gov. Sarah Palin's views on general U.S. homeland security policy were not immediately known. As governor of Alaska, Palin oversees her state's homeland security operations and has command of the Alaska National Guard on homeland security matters and in natural disasters. Palin has supervision of military units whose responsibilities include manning elements of the U.S. missile defense system at Fort Greely, although operations of the missile interceptors at the fort come under the U.S. military chain of command (LAT).

Major General Craig E. Campbell, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard, has said Palin's primary responsibility in this area has been in recruiting new guard volunteers (BosGlobe). As governor, she called up the National Guard to handle wildfires in 2007, and in September 2008, Palin ordered the Alaska National Guard to deliver a planeload of supplies to Gulf Coast area victims of Hurricane Gustav.


Palin says a nuclear Iran under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s leadership would be “extremely dangerous to everyone on this globe.” In a September 2008 interview with ABC News, Palin said she thinks the United States and its allies should put “diplomatic pressure” on Iran to ensure that Iran does not obtain nuclear weapons. She said the United States should “pursue” and “implement” sanctions on Iran. “We cannot back off,” she said. Asked how she thinks the United States should respond if Israel were to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Palin said the United States “cannot second guess the steps that Israel has to take to defend itself.” Palin says she does not believe the United States should negotiate directly with Ahmadinejad without preconditions.

U.S. Policy toward Russia

Palin has said the United States should "keep an eye on Russia." In a September 2008 interview with ABC News, Palin criticized Russia's actions in its August 2008 conflict with Georgia. “For Russia to have exerted such pressure in terms of invading a smaller democratic country, unprovoked, is unacceptable," she said. Palin also said Georgia and the Ukraine should be admitted into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Once that happens, Palin said, a Russian invasion of Georgia might merit war between the United States and Russia. "If another [NATO] country is attacked, you're going to be expected to be called upon and help," Palin said. Still, Palin said in an interview with FOX News later that month that war with Russia should be “off the table.”

U.S. Policy toward Pakistan

Palin said in October 2008 that the United States should not advocate strikes against terrorists in Pakistan (CBS) without the Pakistani government's approval, arguing that such a maneuver would be "invading the sovereign territory of a troubled partner in the war against terrorism." In September 2008, Palin said she would "absolutely" support cross-border attacks into Pakistan (CBS) if it was necessary to "stop the terrorists from coming any further in."   Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) later retracted her comment (CNN), which was not in alignment with his position on the subject. McCain said Palin shares his views on Pakistan policy. Palin also followed up on her statement (AP), emphasizing in an interview with the CBS Evening News that a McCain-Palin administration would never "get out there and show our cards to terrorists, in this case, to enemies and let them know what the game plan was."

Palin met with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari (LAT) in September 2008.

Financial Policy

Palin says the U.S. financial regulatory system "is outdated and needs a complete overhaul." In a September 2008 speech (FOX), Palin praised the Federal Reserve and U.S. Treasury for deciding not to bail out Lehman Brothers, and said a McCain-Palin administration would stop "multi-million dollar payouts and golden parachutes to CEOs who break the public trust."