While there’s been plenty of speculation that Gov. Palin is a potential sheCheney, I’m becoming slightly more worried that she’s possibly something even worse:  the next George W. Bush.

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told ministry students at her former church that the United States sent troops to fight in the Iraq war on atask that is from God.”

In an address last June, the Republican vice presidential candidate also urged ministry students to pray for a plan to build a $30 billion natural gas pipeline in the state, calling it “God’s will.”

Palin asked the students to pray for the troops in Iraq, and noted that her eldest son, Track, was expected to be deployed there.

“Our national leaders are sending them out on a task that is from God,” she said. “That’s what we have to make sure that we’re praying for, that there is a plan and that plan is God’s plan.

We’ve heard all this before, the difference here being that Gov. Palin has thrown in a prayer for a new pipeline for good measure.

Right on cue, Adam Nagourney of the New York Times reminds us of Gov. Palin’s immediate task and the importance of the office for which she’s running.

From here, Ms. Palin moves into a national campaign where she will have to appeal to audiences that are not necessarily primed to adore her. She will have to navigate far less controlled campaign settings that will test not only her political skills but also her knowledge of foreign and domestic policy. And she must convince the country she is prepared to be vice president at a time when the definition of that job has been elevated to the status of governing partner – something voters might have been reminded of Wednesday by images of Vice President Dick Cheney embarking on a mission to war-torn Georgia.

“The people who are in the hall – they’ve already been sold, they are the choir,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri. “Now the question for her and for McCain and for everybody who is inside the hall is how to clarify their message to the American people.”

It’s pretty clear what exactly that message will be.

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