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From left: Sarah Brown, wife of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin and Wendi Murdoch, wife of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, attend a dinner hosted exclusively for women in New York, Sept. 24. (Jennifer Graylock/Graylock.com/Associated Press)

While most U.S. lawmakers were grappling with a domestic crisis this week, at least one politician had more global matters on her mind.

In a case of shuttle diplomacy, New York-style, Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin held a series of meetings with foreign leaders and other experts at various locations around the city on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The conversations were in private but the pictures were quite public, designed to reassure American voters about Palin's credentials ahead of a debate with Democrat Joe Biden, a foreign policy veteran.

Palin, who aides say got her first passport in 2006 and who has travelled outside North America once, took no questions during several of the photo opportunities.

Her discussions behind closed doors, though, were reported to touch on some of the world's touchiest topics, from the Taliban insurgency to Pakistan-India relations.

Randy Scheunemann, a McCain senior foreign policy adviser, and Steve Biegun, a former staff member of President George W. Bush's National Security Council, accompanied Palin on her tour.

"Her primary purpose was to develop a relationship and to listen," the International Herald-Tribune quoted Biegun as saying. "I think she's already fully prepared to be vice-president," he quickly added.

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Who she met

Tuesday

  • Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger
  • President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia
  • President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan

Wednesday

  • President Jalal Talabani of Iraq
  • President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine
  • President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia
  • President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan
  • Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India