From NBC/NJ's Matthew Berger
ERIE, Pa. -- Palin painted her running mate Thursday as the more experienced candidate, who could balance both economic and foreign affairs, and said Obama was incapable of handling the multitude of challenges the next president will face.
"I think in this campaign a lot of Americans are realizing that a man can be admired in many ways, and he can show great promise, and yet still not be ready for the most important and demanding job in the world," Palin said after meeting with the campaign's national security advisors. "Rousing speeches can fill a stadium, but perhaps cannot keep this country safe though."
Palin used her first extensive comments on national security to raise the threat of a Democratic White House and Congress, saying they would cut 25 percent of defense spending.
"Let's not retreat from wars that are almost won," Palin said at Penn State University-Erie. "And let's not gut the defense budget, in a time of multiple conflicts and obvious dangers. And let's not entrust all the powers of the federal government to the one-party rule of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid."
Palin first met briefly with a panel that included former homeland security secretary Tom Ridge and former CIA director James Woolsey. But her embargoed comments were released before the meeting began, suggesting the content of the discussion had no impact on her statement.
Palin said while the country may be focused on economic issues, the terrorism threat remains, and she said Obama has tried to change the focus in recent days, including with his half-hour primetime television advertisement Wednesday.
"Now, Barack Obama didn't have much to say in that long infomercial of his last night about the stakes in the wars that America is fighting, or about the need to support the troops in the field, or why he supported cutting off funding for our troops in the war," she said. "He prefers it seems to wrap his 'closing message' in a kind o of that warm and fuzzy commercial message -- that was scripted. He wants to soften the focus in these closing days, hoping that your mind won't wander to the real challenges of national security that I believe he is incapable of meeting."
She said the next president will need to be as focused on Osama bin Laden and Iran as the economic crisis.
"One of the requirements of presidential leadership is to understand that the 'dangers of the world' do not disappear when our attention is diverted," Palin said. "In fact, if we remain distracted for too long, they become much, much worse."
She also used comments Biden made recently and in the primaries that suggested Obama would be tested as commander in chief.