In her second "CBS Evening News" interview with Katie Couric, Sarah Palin was asked why she didn’t get a passport until 2006. Did it, as some of her viewers wonder, show a lack of curiousity and interest about the world and other cultures?
She told the CBS newsperson that she had to work, sometimes two jobs, and that’s why she didn’t backpack around Europe like privileged kids do.
"I’m not one of those who maybe come from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduated college and their parents get them a passport and a backpack and say, ‘Go off and travel the world.’ Noooo. I worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life, until I had kids. … I was not part of, I guess, that culture."
Turns out she’s not the only one without wanderlust or the abiity to travel.
According to a 2007 report in USA Today, only 74 million Americans have valid passports. This figure may have increased now that a passport is required for travel to Mexico.
According to a 2007 count, the U.S. population is 281 million. That means a surprisingly small percentage of American citizens travel outside the country. And now that the value of the dollar has dropped so drastically, foreign travel is likely to take a hit.
But let’s talk about Palin being able to see Russia from her house. The Alaska governor rolled her eyes when discussing how her comment "I can see Russia from my house," was, as Couric put it, "mocked" by reporters.
Couric pressed, asking why Russia’s visibility enhances her foreign policy credentials.
]]>"Well, it certainly does," Palin replied. "Our next-door neighbors are foreign countries, there in the state that I am the executive of."
Has she ever been involved in any negotiations with the Russians?
"We have trade missions back and forth, we do" said Palin. "It’s very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia. As Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state. "
What did you think of Palin’s Russian view? Do you have a passport? Does traveling outside the U.S. change a person’s worldview?
Is it important for a vice president — for all US citizens — to travel to foreign countries and understand their diverse cultures and our place in the world?
To read the full transcript and see the complete video interviews, click HERE.