Sarah Palin alluded to a suggestion made in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential campaign that she didn’t know Africa was a continent — and not a country — in an interview with the BBC published online on Monday.
“Rumors like I didn’t know Africa was a continent, that’s still out there, that’s a lie,” she told the U.K.-based outlet when asked about criticism of her intellectuality. The former Alaska governor reportedly seemed “tense” when she was confronted with the matter.
On the heels of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) loss to President Barack Obama in the 2008 race, intriguing details about the internal operations of the pair’s campaign began to trickle out. HuffPost’s Nick Graham reported at the time:
According to Fox News Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, there was great concern within the McCain campaign that Palin lacked “a degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, a heartbeat away from the presidency,” in part because she didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA, and she “didn’t understand that Africa was a continent, rather than a series, a country just in itself.”
In the wake of the revelation, Palin lashed out and called the suggestion “cruel” and “mean-spirited.”
“If there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA, and about the continent vs. the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context,” she said. “It’s immature. It’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”
Several years later, Palin is now stirring speculation that she could run for president in 2012.