Palin’s Fake Quote

Everyone’s talking about Palin’s botched Supreme Court response, but I haven’t seen much conversation yet about her answer to Couric’s question regarding the separation of church and state. Take a listen:

Katie Couric: Thomas Jefferson wrote about the First Amendment, building a wall of separation between church and state. Why do you think that’s so important?

Sarah Palin: His intention in expressing that was so that government did not mandate a religion on people. And Thomas Jefferson also said never underestimate the wisdom of the people. And the wisdom of the people, I think in this issue is that people have the right and the ability and the desire to express their own religious views, be it a very personal level, which is why I choose to express my faith, or in a more public forum.

And the wisdom of the people, thankfully, engrained in the foundation of our country, is so extremely important. And Thomas Jefferson wanted to protect that.

Not only does Palin get so twisted up in herself that it’s tough to remember what the question was in the first place, but I went hunting for the Jefferson quote she references and couldn’t find it. I did dig up this:

“It is not wisdom alone but public confidence in that wisdom which can support an administration.” –Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1824.

If this is what Palin was going for, she not only took it out of context, but she wasn’t even close.

Then I found this interaction on amongst chatters in the Sean Hannity forum, and they came to the same conclusion. There is no Jefferson quote.

You know you’re in trouble when the Fox peeps call your bluff.


started on-air as a sports reporter in Hagerstown, Md and was a one-woman-band - shooting, writing, editing, and working the teleprompter with my foot. I moved to NYC in 1999 and joined Pseudo.com - the world's first interactive TV network. Pseudo died Sept 2000, and the following years were filled with a series for Discovery International, a pilot for the History Channel, a pilot for the Travel Channel, and countless auditions. Client feedback research for a big investment bank paid the bills. In 2004, I took a gig with Kuma and made news reports for their reality-based video games. CNN called February 2005, and on Valentine's Day, I started covering the Internet as a beat on national TV. I left cable news in 2007, started this site, wrote a little for Americablog, and threw down the gauntlet. I said I'd leave TV to help fix health care if someone was taking a real stab at it. Someone was. I became the National Communications Director for Health Care for America Now. That was June 2008, and almost 2 years later - on March 25, 2010 - we won health care reform. I am currently at liberty.

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