Why do politicians insist on making things worse when in trouble?
Possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin has been running around the east coast in a big bus with her signature imprinted on it -- announcing at every opportunity that she is not seeking media attention. The media are partly to blame because if they weren't chasing her around asking absurd questions, she wouldn't have to keep coming up with equally absurd answers.
On June 2nd, while visiting Boston's Old North Church, someone asked her about Paul Revere's midnight ride. Palin said it was all about "warning the British" - which came as news to school children across our "One Nation."
Yesterday, Palin appeared on Fox News Sunday. Chris Wallace courageously asked her "you realize you messed up about Paul Revere, don't you?" The story had been in the news for three days. Palin had a ton of time to come up with a rational explanation. Instead she said this:
"What am I publicizing on this tour?’ I’m publicizing Americana and our foundation and how important it is that we learn about our past and our challenges and victories throughout American history.
You know what, I didn’t mess up about Paul Revere. Here’s what Paul Revere did. He warned the Americans that ‘the British were coming, the British were coming’ and they were going to try to take our arms. . . . But remember, the British had already been there . . . part of his ride was to warn the British that were already there that, ‘hey, you’re not going to succeed. You’re not going to take American arms. You are not going to beat our own well-armed persons, individual, private militia that we have.’ He did warn the British. And in a shout-out, gotcha-type of question that was asked of me, I answered candidly. And I know my American history.”
Here's the clip from Fox News:
Since she is definitely NOT running for President (at this moment) -- perhaps she does not have any competent media handlers on the bus. But it is hard to understand how any public figure would not have been able to come up with a better defense.
Palin supporters are riding around telling people that she was right -- and that Revere DID warn the British -- which is true to an extent. After he was captured by the red coats and held at gunpoint -- Revere reportedly told his captors "don't mess with Mass." or something like that.
We doubt Palin had this obscure fact in mind at the time of her initial response to a "gotcha" shout-out question. She would have been better advised to simply say -- "It was a slip of the lip, I meant 'warned ABOUT the British' when I said 'warned the British.'"
Instead -- she had managed to take a relatively minor incident and make it a multi-day news story. She must be getting media relations tips from Anthony Weiner.
Clearly, a revolutionary war scholar she is not. Sadly, Palin seems to have a lot more in common with Billy Madison than with James Madison -- which gives us an excuse to include this clip showing a reaction an imprecise statement on TV