The 11 Dumbest Things Sarah Palin Has Said So Far

Election '08

When Sarah Palin was first added to the Republican ticket, the McCain campaign went to almost comical extremes to guard her from press scrutiny. The Alaska governor was hustled through photo opportunities, kept from doing interviews and hidden from reporters at several events. Palin did prove adept at reading from a teleprompter in front of conservative supporters, though, so the campaign mostly had her do that.

When Palin finally made her teleprompter-free debut in an interview with Charlie Gibson, it became clear why McCain had effectively kept his running mate in quarantine: Palin was uninformed and inarticulate; she said embarrassingly stupid things; and she looked at Gibson as though he were pointing a loaded crossbow at her.

Since then, the Alaska governor has done little to dispel concerns that she can't articulate thoughts that aren't preprogrammed talking points. More than once, Palin has slipped into George W. Bush territory with statements so absurdly inane they seem closer to Dada art than standard political speech.

We've assembled the 11 strangest, dumbest, most alarming and most harmful statements to come courtesy of Palin since she joined the McCain ticket. Here is Gov. Sarah Palin, in her own words.

1. The News Makes Me Sad ... So I Don't Watch It

Sarah Palin at a North Carolina fundraiser:

At those times on the campaign trail when sometimes it's easy to get a little bit discouraged, when, you know, when you happen to turn on the news when your campaign staffers will let you turn on the news ... Usually they're like "Oh my gosh, don't watch. You're going to, you know, you're going to get depressed."
Maybe her handlers could put on a puppet show instead -- something fun that allows Palin to maintain her cheery optimism in the face of overwhelming evidence that the McCain campaign has imploded. There was once another politician similarly unconcerned with current events and the news: George W. Bush. That went well.

2. The People Don't Elect U.S. Presidents, God Does

Upon being asked by James Dobson if the McCain ticket's precipitous slide in the polls gets her down:
... [it] strengthens my faith, because I'm going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God's hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I'm not discouraged at all.
... and I can feel it too, Dr. Dobson. I can feel the power of prayer, and that strength that is provided through our prayer warriors across this nation.
Ah yes, the always helpful "prayer warriors," whose appeals to the Almighty actually count for more than the average American citizen's vote. Apparently the next president of the United States will be handpicked by God.

3. Palin Believes in "Divided" States of America

At a fundraiser:
We believe that the best of America is in these small towns that we get to visit, and in these wonderful little pockets of what I call the real America, being here with all of you hardworking, very patriotic, um, very, um, pro-America areas of this great nation.
Palin later apologized for the statement. But her backpedaling shouldn't get her off the hook for putting forth a deeply divisive vision of America. How would conservatives have reacted if, in an attempt to pander to uber-liberals, Obama said "I love visiting the parts of the country where people aren't close-minded assholes"? Probably not well.

4. The Vice President Is Supreme Boss of the Senate

Here's what Palin said when Brandon, an elementary school student, asked: "What does the vice president do?"
That's something that Piper would ask me! ... They're in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom.
To be fair, Palin had no idea what the VP does the last time the issue came up, so this is almost an improvement. Except that saying the vice president (who is only nominally head of the U.S. Senate) makes policy changes through Senate legislation reveals an embarrassing ignorance of our government's system of checks and balances. Also, it's a bit disconcerting to hear someone running for VP endow that office with God-like powers over a separate branch of government.

5. Delusional Response to Troopergate

"Well, I'm very, very pleased to be cleared of any legal wrongdoing ... any hint of any kind of unethical activity there," said Sarah Palin last Sunday, soon after she was found to have engaged in wrongdoing and unethical activity in the "Troopergate" investigation. Again, a propensity for denial and lies, a deep aversion to reality -- not the best ways to signal your commitment to "change" from "politics as usual."

6. Vicious Attack on Obama

The following quote needs little introduction. It's famous now, not only for its inaccuracy but also for how much this line of attack has fallen flat with voters and backfired on the McCain campaign:
Our opponent though, is someone who sees America it seems as being so imperfect that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country.
Outright deception is probably not something the American voters are looking to put in the White House; pretty sure they've had enough of that in the past eight years.

7. The Lord is a Pollster

While speaking in North Carolina, Palin decided to take a moment to thank God for a very small bump she and McCain experienced in their otherwise sliding poll numbers.
We even saw today, thank the Lord, we saw some movement.
People often thank God for things that appear to be outside the realm of divine intervention. An incredibly small bump in the polls though? Seems excessive. Not to mention, Obama now has the widest lead he has ever had in the polls. Should God be given credit for that too?

8. America's Teachers' Rewards Are in Heaven (but Nowhere to Be Found on Earth)

In the vice presidential debate, Palin had this to say about Sen. Joe Biden's wife's career in education:
You mentioned education, and I'm glad that you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and God bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right?
Governor, America's teachers should not have to wait until heaven; they should be praised and rewarded right here on Earth. Possibly with living-wage salaries.

9. I Read ... All the Publications

When Katie Couric asked Palin the complex trick question of where she gets her news, the two women had the following exchange:
Couric: And when it comes to establishing your world view, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this -- to stay informed and to understand the world?
Palin: I've read most of them again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media --
Couric: But what ones specifically? I'm curious.
Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
Couric: Can you name any of them?
Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news.
With all of the intensive reading Palin has done over the years, it's a wonder she's had time to do other important things, like govern Alaska and learn to play the flute.

10. Some of my best friends are gay, but ...

From the same interview with Couric:
One of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay and I love her dearly, and she is not my "gay" friend, she is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made, but ... I'm not gonna judge people.
Stating in no uncertain terms that being gay is a choice is an odd thing to do on mainstream, national television when medical and psychological associations have contended for years that sexual orientation is biologically determined. Then, she slimily criticizes that so-called "choice" by saying it is not one she would make. But hey, some of her best friends are gay ...

11. A Little Wet Behind the Ears ...

During the vice presidential debate, when Palin was asked which policy plans proposed by the McCain-Palin ticket would have to suffer due to the current economic crisis, Palin gave a pretty dubious response: none. When pressed on the issue, Palin decided that an easy out would be to fall back on her inexperience:
And how long have I been at this, like five weeks?
Uh ... wow, that actually wasn't dumb at all. In that case, she was absolutely right.

That's our list. Please make any additions you see fit in the comments below.

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by its writers are their own.

Editor's note: It was decided to leave out the many quotes having to do with foreign policy experience thanks to a proximity with Russia, as they are quotes that everyone has heard by now ... over and over and over again.

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