Sarah Palin on Fox says she thought Iraq was behind 9/11

By Andy Barr | 1/12/10 9:31 PM EST
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In her debut as a contributor to Fox News, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin admitted Tuesday that leading up to her 2008 vice presidential debate she thought Iraq may have been behind the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Interviewed by Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly on his show “The O’Reilly Factor,” Palin trashed many of the critical accounts of her candidacy in the new book “Game Change.” But one story from the book that Palin did not say was “made up” or “a lie” was the description of her uncertainty as to whether Iraq had a hand in the planning of the September 11 attacks.

“I did talk a lot to [campaign strategist] Steve Schmidt about the history of the war and where the attackers could have come from,” Palin said of her debate prep during the fall of 2008 – more than five years after the start of the war in Iraq and seven years after the terrorist attacks that hit New York and Washington.

“I do admit to asking questions about that,” she said.

Palin appeared for the first time as a paid contributor on the network, smiling and eagerly answering each of O’Reilly’s questions. “I’m grinning today and I’m so appreciative to be here with you today and the team at Fox News for the fair and balanced news that voters of America deserve,” she said.

Overall, Palin had a very negative take on the book written by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann.

“These reporters were not any part of what I was doing there as the VP candidate,” she said. “I don’t know who they are. I haven’t met these guys.”

Asked about the book’s assertion that she did not know that the Korean peninsula was separated into two vastly different countries, Palin responded: “That’s a lie.”

“It’s pretty made up,” Palin said of the book, which she said she has not read. Palin said she did not watch interviews with the two reporters or Schmidt on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday because she was warned it was “bull.”

During the “60 Minutes” interview, Schmidt relayed a story about how he was told Palin’s debate performance would be a “debacle of historic and epic proportions.”

Palin disputed Schmidt’s account, saying that the story “was not true. And Steve Schmidt told us how overjoyed he was by the debate.”

“I felt good about it,” she said of the debate. “Steve Schmidt felt great about it”

Palin said she was not worried by what Schmidt or the reporters said on the program because “the American people are immediately neutralizing programs like ‘60 Minutes.’”

But while Palin had issues with her depiction, she had no problem seizing on quotes within the book from Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who credited President Barack Obama’s attractiveness as a candidate to his lighter skin color and lack of a “Negro dialect.”

“You can’t defend those comments,” she said. “His thinking and articulation of that thought are quite perplexing.”

When O’Reilly pointed out to Palin that Reid was not standing by the remark, the former Republican governor responded: “He says he’s sorry.”