Opinion: So, looks like it was Charlie Gibson’s gaffe on Bush doctrine, not Sarah Palin’s


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Charles Krauthammer, the conservative columnist, writes this morning that it was ABC News anchor Charlie Gibson who actually bobbled a question on the Bush doctrine during one of his recent interviews with new Republican vice presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Testing Palin’s foreign affairs knowledge, Gibson asked her if she agreed with ‘the Bush doctrine.’

‘In what respect?’ Palin responded.

When Palin did not answer a follow-up, Gibson informed her that the Bush doctrine is ‘we have the right of anticipatory self-defense.’


‘Wrong,’ writes Krauthammer. ‘I know something about the subject because, as the Wikipedia entry on the Bush doctrine notes, I was the first to use the term’ way back in 2001.

Krauthammer notes both in his Saturday column and on Fox News’ ‘Special Report’ Friday that over the years the Bush doctrine has actually had several different meanings and that Gibson’s definition isn’t even the latest.

The first was the Bush administration’s unilateral withdrawal from the ABM treaty and Kyoto Protocol, which was followed by the post-9/11 ‘you’re with us or you’re with the terrorists,’ which was followed by the preemptive war in Iraq, which Gibson was thinking of.

The fourth incarnation of the Bush doctrine, Krauthammer explains, was the ‘freedom agenda’ articulated in Bush’s second inaugural address that ‘the survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands.’

‘Yes,’ Krauthammer concludes, ‘Palin didn’t know what it is. But neither does Gibson. And at least she didn’t pretend to know -- while he looked down his nose and over his glasses with weary disdain.’

Wonder if there’ll be time to cover this story on ‘World News’ come Monday night.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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