Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, describing the need for more troops in Afghanistan, said the United States has achieved "victory" in Iraq.

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WASHINGTON — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, describing the need for more troops in Afghanistan, said the United States has achieved “victory” in Iraq.

It was an apparent misstep in Palin’s third interview since agreeing to become Republican Sen. John McCain’s running mate four weeks ago. These encounters have garnered enormous interest because Palin largely has walled herself off from journalists amid growing criticism that a vice-presidential nominee should be more accessible. In an NBC-Wall Street Journal poll this week, 57 percent of those surveyed agreed that “Sarah Palin does not have enough experience and understanding of foreign and military issues to be president.”

In an interview with CBS’ Katie Couric that aired Thursday night, Palin said that “a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq,” adding that “we cannot afford to retreat, to withdraw in Iraq.”

Palin struggled at times and appeared less comfortable than in her earlier sit-down with ABC’s Charles Gibson. When Couric asked why she cited Alaska’s proximity to Russia as part of her foreign-policy experience, Palin said: “It’s funny that a comment like that was kind of made to … I don’t know, you know … reporters — “

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“Mocked?” Couric asked.

“Mocked, yeah I guess that’s the word, mocked.”

Pressed on why her location enhanced her foreign-policy experience, Palin said: “Well, it certainly does, because our, our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of.” She added that when Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska.”

Asked whether her lack of a passport until last year indicated a lack of curiosity about the world, Palin said she was not one of those “kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say, ‘Go off and travel the world.’ No, I’ve worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids.” She said she learned about the world through education and books.


Witchcraft protection: A video on Sarah Palin’s hometown church Web site shows her being blessed three years ago by a Kenyan pastor who prayed for her protection from “witchcraft” as she prepared to seek higher office. The Oct. 16, 2005, video shows Palin standing before Bishop Thomas Muthee in the pulpit of the Wasilla Assembly of God church, holding her hands open as he asked Jesus Christ to keep her safe from “every form of witchcraft.” Palin formally announced her gubernatorial bid two days later.

Troopergate: The McCain-Palin campaign is “moving on many fronts” to stall an investigation into whether Gov. Sarah Palin abused the power of her office, Alaska lawmakers claimed in a court filing Thursday. The filing is in response to a lawsuit by five GOP state legislators seeking to halt the Legislative Council’s investigation into whether Palin abused her power when she fired Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan this summer. Palin had agreed to cooperate until she became John McCain’s running mate.

Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.

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