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McCain Gets Eagleburger's Vote On Foreign Policy

As the presidential election approaches, Talk of the Nation asks guests to make the case for John McCain or Barack Obama on the basis of foreign and domestic policy credentials. Former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger explains why McCain's international policy makes him the right choice in 2008.

McCain, he says, would most likely be "tougher" on countries such as Russia, Sudan and Afghanistan — in addition to supporting the war in Iraq — and also would try more diplomacy with foreign countries.

"He [McCain] has said and he means it that there is a great deal of repair necessary amongst our traditional allies," he says.

And what about the foreign policy credentials of McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin? They are not great, nor do they make everyone comfortable, Eagleburger tells NPR.

"I don't think at the moment she is prepared to take over the reins of the presidency," he says. "I can name for you any number of other vice presidents who were not particularly up to it either. So, the question, I think, is — can she learn and would she be tough enough under the circumstances if she were asked to become president?"

"Give her some time in the office and I think the answer would be — she will be adequate. I can't say that she would be a genius in the job," he adds.

Eagleburger was the secretary of state for George H.W. Bush, the undersecretary of state for political affairs for Ronald Reagan, and a U.S. ambassador to Yugoslavia.

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