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Sarah Palin’s Ridiculous, Pathetic Excuse For Writing Notes On Her Hand: That’s A Poor Man’s Version Of A Teleprompter

Reported by Ellen - February 26, 2010 -

Sarah Palin should have left bad enough alone last night (2/25/10) on Hannity instead of the ludicrous, insulting and unbelievable excuse she tried to pass off as an explanation for using crib notes on her hand during the Q&A at the recent Tea Party Convention. With video.

During Part 2 of her “analysis” of the day’s health care summit, Palin said, out of the blue, “Hey, remember those talking points that I had written on my hand a couple of weeks ago at the Tea Party movement?”

Sean Hannity laughed sympathetically.

Palin continued, “Because I’d done seven speeches in four days and I’m running up to the podium and, you know, writing on my hand. Well that’s a poor man’s version of a teleprompter.”

Right there, she had already cooked her own goose more ways than I can count. First of all, she wasn’t quite telling the truth about what happened. She may have intended to use the notes on her hand for her speech but she was caught using them afterward during a Q&A which, by definition, was supposed to be unscripted. And it’s not like she was facing a tough interview. Second, she had just suggested that those were the only notes she had used for her speech when, in fact, her speech was obviously read, not memorized nor extemporized. She used her hand notes after a speech in which she had just lambasted President Obama for using a teleprompter. So Palin was now explicitly saying, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Obama, on the other hand, (no pun intended) as the health care summit she was there to discuss now proved, could hold an extended policy discussion without a teleprompter. Also, one would think she'd have a better grasp of her material, not worse, if she had just given seven speeches. Her use of the term "poor man's version of a teleprompter" was unfortunate, too, given that she had commanded a controversial $100,000 speaking fee for what was supposed to be a populist, grass roots kind of event.

But wait, there’s more.

Palin continued, “I write on my hand: energy, tax cuts, lifting American spirits. Those are the things that candidates need to embrace in order to get elected and get this country back on the right track. It’s quite simple.”

Yes, quite simple. But she couldn’t remember those simple, core principles, even after a spate of speeches that presumably had just endorsed those principles.

In a scathing column in U.S. News & World Report, Mary Kate Cary, a former speechwriter for George H.W. Bush, summed it up nicely,

Unfortunately, Mrs. Palin didn't write down a reminder for an everyday errand. Instead she felt she had to write down basic political priorities, core issues for the GOP. That’s the problem. Imagine if President Obama were at a similar Q&A session and the camera caught the words "Hope ... Change" on his hand.

At a certain age and at a certain professional level, it's really not cool to write the big stuff down on your hand. Yellow stickies, maybe. BlackBerry, maybe. But if you were sitting in your doctor's office after an exam, and saw that he'd written on his hand: "Diagnose Illness ... Write Prescription," you'd be more than alarmed.

If Sarah Palin was nervous about taking questions, she had a lot of options: She could have sat at a table with notes in front of her, stood at a podium with an outline, or even sat on the couch like she did, but with index cards in her hand. People do that all the time in panel discussions and ask-the-candidate forums. Like the Tea Party keynote speech she gave and her book before that, this incident shows that she doesn't care to take the time to be prepared, to engage in serious policy discussions, or even to rely on issue briefing materials before speaking. She booked this appearance months ago and knew that both her speech and Q&A would be highly anticipated by the media and voters.

I can’t figure out which is worse: Palin’s pathetic excuse or the fact that she thought it might fly. Or that Hannity and Fox News let it fly.