- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2015

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Sunday that President Obama should have carried a “big stick instead of a selfie stick” during his visit to her state last week amid recent reports of Chinese and Russian aggression.

“Let’s take his recent trip up here, which was pretty much a tourism jaunt, really,” said Ms. Palin on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “How about if he while he was up here he had as a president carried a big stick instead of a selfie stick? He could start publicly berating these countries that are sticking it to us with the messages that they’re sending.”

Five Chinese warships sailed into U.S. territorial waters in the Bering Sea near Alaska during the president’s visit last week to promote his climate-change agenda, while Russian bombers were intercepted July 4 off the coasts of Alaska and California.

During his visit last week to Alaska, in which he promoted his administration’s effort to combat climate change, Mr. Obama was shown using a selfie stick to take pictures of himself against the backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness.

Ms. Palin, the Republican vice-presidential nominee in 2008, accused Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country has planted a flag on the seabed of the Arctic Ocean, of “flagging undersea our resources [and] claiming them as his own.”

“What’s America doing about it? We don’t even have a seat at the table at the Law of the Sea treaty, we’re not even participating in fighting back, putting America first, saying, ‘No, these are our rich resources along our coast,’ and ‘No, Russia, hey, you lost out, man, you sold the territory of Alaska for 2 cents an acre way back when, you don’t get it back.’”

She said that, instead, “Putin is exerting power and China is exerting power. And it all has to do with natural resources, too, with energy — they need those of course to prosper and to grow their empires. America is sitting back.”

Mr. Obama also used the trip to rename Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, as Denali. Many Alaskans already refer to the mountain as Denali.

“I have one niece named McKinley, another niece named Denali,” said Ms. Palin. “That’s kind of indicative of a bit of the split among Alaskans.”

She said much of the criticism “was just that Obama would spend the time, the effort, the political capital even on such a thing when the Middle East is a tinderbox, our economy still sucks. So many things are going wrong right now that are under his purview.”

“And yet he would kind of make it a big darn deal to come up here and rename a mountain,” Ms. Palin said.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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