Yesterday, Jeff Gillan of NewsONE in Nevada asked Sen. John Ensign (R-NV), the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, if Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was “qualified to be President.” Ensign responded by saying that he didn’t think Palin was “experienced enough to be president”:
GILLAN: do you think she’s qualified to be President?
ENSIGN: well, I do not think that Barack Obama or her are experienced enough to be President of the United States — neither one of them, and Hillary Clinton was much more qualified to be President than Barack Obama was, but that who the nominee is. John McCain is much more qualified than Barack Obama and certainly Joe Biden is much more qualified than Sarah Palin is. I’d rather have the most qualified person at the top of the ticket, not number two.
Ensign is only the most recent conservative to challenge Palin’s qualifications for office. Just yesterday, former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger, who is a top McCain supporter, said that Palin was not “prepared to take over the reins of the presidency.” Here are some conservatives who doubt Palin:
— In a recent New Yorker interview, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) said, “I don’t believe she’s qualified to be President of the United States.” Palin “is arguably the thinnest-résumé candidate for Vice-President in the history of America,” added Hagel.
— On Meet the Press two weeks ago, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, said, “I don’t believe she’s ready to be president of the United States.”
— In an interview with CNN earlier this month, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney stuttered and hesitated when asked if Palin is “ready to be President.” “That’s something which I — I believe the American people will, uh, assess individually,” said Romney.
— Last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), who is one of McCain’s most ardent supporters, declared, “Thank God, she’s not gonna have to be president from day one.”
McCain, however, disagrees. He told Don Imus recently that Palin is “the most qualified of anyone recently who has run for vice president to tell you the truth.”
UPDATE: Secretary Eagleburger appeared on Fox News today to recant his statements from yesterday when he said “of course” Palin’s not ready to be Vice President. “I made a serious mistake yesterday,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking when I said it. … I was just plain stupid, and if I have given the flim flam artist Barack Obama some success with this, I am deeply apologetic. I did not intend it.” Watch it: