Earlier today Mead Treadwell and Nick Stepovich, members of the Alaska delegation, were talking with noted humorist Dave Barry on the floor of the Republican National Convention, when the issue of Sarah Palin’s national security experience came up.
Feeling humorous himself, when asked if Alaska’s proximity to Russia made Palin more prepared for national office, as some supporters have suggested, Stepovich asked, “If you stand next to Einstein, does that make you a genius?”
Treadwell, chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, quickly interjected. Alaska, he said, shared a billion dollar fishing industry with Russia and is the home of a national missile defense system.
He said he had personally participated with Palin in meetings with foreign leaders. Asked which countries, he said, “Iceland and Mongolia. Admittedly, not major nations."
"The point is," he went on, "the governor has to deal with national security options more than others.”
Stepovich, whose father was the governor of Alaska during the years leading up to statehood, and is acting as the delegation’s whip, spoke up again to emphasize that his first comment was a joke.
“She’s the only one of the three candidates that has executive experience,” he said. “There is a lot of interaction between Russia and Alaska.”