Tag Archives: 2008 Election

Palin “Didn’t Understand Africa Was a Continent”

First seen on Daily Kos (via Balloon Juice), here’s a Fox News interview reporting that Sarah Palin “didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA” and “didn’t understand Africa was a continent rather than a country just in itself.”

Here’s a partial transcript provided by Daily Kos diarist ksh01:

Smith: Now that the election is over, Carl, tell us more about those reports of infighting between Palin and McCain staffers.

Cameron: I wish I could have told you more at the time but all of it was put off the record until after the election. There was great concern in the McCain campaign that Sarah Palin lack the degree of knowledgeability necessary to be a running mate, a vice president, and a heartbeat away from the presidency. We’re told by folks that she didn’t know what countries that were in NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, that being the Canada, the US, and Mexico. We’re told she didn’t understand that Africa was a continent rather than a country just in itself … a whole host of questions that caused serious problems about her knowledgeability. She got very angry at staff, thought that she was mishandled…..was particularly angry about the way the Katie Couric interview went. She didn’t accept preparation for that interview when the aides say that that was part of the problem. And that there were times that she was hard to control emotionally there’s talk of temper tantrums at bad news clippings……

How any can say that McCain ran a responsible campaign after hearing this is beyond me. Hopefully this kills any chance of a Palin resurgence in 2012. Apparently she really hasn’t read a newspaper, at any time, ever.

Election Returns by Population Density

When nationwide maps of election returns are presented, one thing that bothers me is the disconnect between the size of a state (i.e., its physical landmass) and its population. Typical electoral maps (below) show vast swaths of red across the central United States, implying broad national Republican support, when in reality tiny Connecticut has more people than Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming combined.

When you adjust the map so that each state’s size is proportional to its population, the Democrats achieve a broader visual base of support.

Although that diminishes a bit when voting results are broken down by county in the same manner.

Of course, even the most liberal or conservative county doesn’t vote in concert (well, maybe a couple in Utah), so a map that’s color-coded to represent varying levels of voting support might be the best way to view the situation.

That’s America right there.

All images created by University of Michigan professor of Mark Newman, who does a much better job of explaining these concepts at his web site.