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Palin: Sputnik Resulted In The Collapse Of The Soviet Union

Reported by Ellen - January 27, 2011 -

Ruh-Roh! Sarah Palin may have outdone herself in the foolishly ignorant comments department last night (1/26/11) - and this time she can’t blame Katie Couric or Charles Gibson or anyone in the “lamestream media.” No, this foolish ignorance came as the result of a simple question from Greta Van Susteren on Fox News, asking for Palin’s reaction to President Obama’s statement, “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment.” Not only did Palin misconstrue what Obama had meant by that, she made the astonishing claim that Sputnik “incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.” Van Susteren did not challenge any of Palin’s ridiculous remarks.

In the beginning of the second of their two-part discussion, Van Susteren asked, “Governor, there was a lot of discussion last night about the ‘Sputnik moment’ that the President talked about. Do you agree with him? Is this our moment?”

Fox News had billed the interview by saying that Palin would be discussing the State of the Union address.


So surely, Palin knew that she was going to be asked about Obama's speech. And since “Sputnik moment” was one of the main takeaways, Palin should have known about it. Besides, it wasn’t new. Obama had called for a new “Sputnik moment” in early December.

Palin said, “That was another one of those WTF moments that when (Obama) has so often repeated the 'Sputnik Moment' that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. He needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space. Yeah, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.”

Sputnik caused the Soviet Union to collapse? Really? BBC lists five reasons for the collapse of the U.S.S.R. and neither Sputnik nor the Russian space program are mentioned.

Palin continued, “So, I listened to that ‘Sputnik moment’ talk over and over again...” Really? Obama mentioned “Sputnik” twice and "Sputnik Moment" only once.

Palin added, “… and I think, ‘No, we don’t need one of those.’" She brought up some obviously pre-planned remarks about how we do need a “Spudnut” moment, referring to a successful bakery/coffee shop. "I wish that President Obama would understand that in that heartland of America what it is that really results in the solutions that we need to get this economy back on the right track," she said.

As CBS News noted, Palin seemed to completely misunderstand and misconstrue what Obama had meant by the term "Sputnik moment."

Mr. Obama was suggesting that when the Soviet Union beat the United States into space in 1957 with the launch of Sputnik, that victory spurred Americans to push science to the limits that led directly to the American moon landing in 1969.

Mr. Obama used the analogy to compare the U.S. to China and India and to suggest that those countries' investments in, for example, green technology and information technology should spur the United States to research and development better technologies so that the United States may remain a world leader. He wasn't cheering on the former Soviet Union.

Indeed. I wonder who Palin will blame this latest doozy of a gaffe on.