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What Sarah Palin didn't know, as reported by Fox's Carl Cameron

(UPDATE: See below.)

Now it can be revealed, Fox News Channel reporter Carl Cameron just told network anchor Shepard Smith. Sarah Palin waves to supporters after John McCain gave his concession speech in the presidential race

There WAS tension between John McCain staff members and Sarah Palin (as other news outlets previously reported), and part of it stemmed from some rather glaring gaps in what the governor of Alaska knew about the rest of the world.

Cameron, the Fox beat reporter for the Republican presidential ticket, said he had been told by unnamed sources -- and on the condition he not report the details during the campaign -- that Palin could not name all of the countries that are part of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

He did not mention which one (or ones) she whiffed on, but there are only three: Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

Nor, according to Cameron, was Palin aware that Africa is a continent. (Perhaps she was hamstrung by the fact that no part of that land mass can be viewed from her homestate.)

Asked if she damaged the Republican ticket, Palin today expressed doubt. (See video below.)

Cameron also related that the anonymous McCain aides were frustrated that Palin blew off their suggestions that she put in a little prep time before her interview with CBS journalist Katie Couric. That sit-down in late September, it will be recalled, did not go so well for Palin.

(UPDATE: CNN has more on the dysfunction that marred the GOP presidential campaign. It reports that Randy Scheunemann, a senior foreign policy adviser to McCain who bonded with Palin while helping bring her up to speed for her debate with Joe Biden, was fired from the campaign last week for talking out of school with the media. It appears that tales of the conflict within the staff could well develop into a cottage industry.)

-- Don Frederick

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Palin might not be stupid, but she definitly doesn't know very much about anything except Alaska. She was brought in to run as VP to try and pick off Hillary Clinton supporters that didn't like Obama. She was 100% unqualified for the position of VP.

As for those of you bashing FOX news... FOX has always broadcast exactly what it wants you to hear. They are very very conservative and don't want to do anything that might negatively impact their views. They have always broadcast their idea of the "news" and nothing more. I don't blame Carl Cameron, but FOX in general. I'm sure if they had an incriminating interview with Biden it would have been plastered all over the station.

Barack Obama wasn't asked those questions. I'm sure he couldn't answer them because they would be as Obama once said, answering those questions with specificity, you know, is above his pay grade.

It doesnt matter if bush pardons stephens he just wont go to jail but they WILL still vote him out of the senate, nothing will make them happier at this point than to distance themselves with the unpopular sure to be even more unpopular president. They can vote anyone out for any reason if they muster enough votes and with all republican leaders asking for his resignation what democrat will refuse?

who is this steve Rodriguez moron? they did go after bill ayers and they went after rev wright at the last minute, ayers was a ridiculous non-issue by ridiculous republicans and rev wright is no worse than pastor hagee who endorsed Mccain. all pastors reverends and religious leaders say wacky inflammatory off the wall stuff, just one more reason i dont go to churches.

I was going to vote for McCain because I thought Obama didn't have enough experience. But I changed my mind the day he picked Sarah Pailin to be his running mate.

She is incredibly unqualified to to be veep and possibly president. She is uneducated, unaware of world affairs, and not very smart.

She needs to go home and take care of her dysfunctional family. Her husband did not finish high school. Her son in the army did not finish high school. He pregnant daughter and future son-in-law have dropped out of school. And why aren't those other children in school? She totes that baby around like a football. Children with down's syndrome are supposed to be getting physical therapy when they're a few months old.

Sarah herself went to 5 or 6 colleges to get a degree in journalism. She has no advanced degree. She may be the governor of Alaska, but she couldn't even get a managerial position in my office.

Anyone who examined Palin's own words and actions as reported over the years in the Anchorage Daily News and on official Alaska government web sites should have been appalled that Palin was on a major-party ticket. Instead, the Republicans and FOX did a great job of spinning her incompetence as mainstream media bias. America dodged a disaster in 2008, but 2012 still looms large in the minds of many mis-informed conservatives. Please continue to report any and all information about Sarah Palin that has been repressed during the campaign, so the other half of America finally hears the truth about the pitbull in lipstick.

The presidency is an important position. It should be reserved for people of the highest intelligence . . . perhaps the 99.99th percentile. That leaves out McCain.

The vice presidency should be considered with exactly the same regard as the presidency. That leaves out Palin.

A president or vice president should GLOW IN THE DARK WITH ACUMEN!

The purpose for cheerleaders is to lead the boneheaded jingos in mindless chanting. Drink your Duff beer and root for the team. Now hush children! Leave the presidency for the grown ups.


I am amazed at how quick people are to believe such ridiculous accusations by an "anonymous" source.
I don't believe them for one second.
Sarah Palin didn't get where she is by being stupid.
~cathy in georgia

I'd say Bush did most of the damage to McCain's campaign although McCain and Plain certainly helped. McCain's concession speech was the most eloquent and most practiced thing that's come out of his mouth since this began. Out of an entire rogues gallery of thieves, liars and fundies McCain was their last choice. Absolute last. Thats pretty telling. The rabid defense of McCain and company is the usual knee jerk response of the right. Its laughable. The Bush style spin control where what is said on Monday is the opposite of whats said on Tuesday. That old Rupert Murdoch magic to have stories unpalatable to the right quashed seems to have finally slipped away. I wonder how the right-of-center news media will get along with the White House. Maybe they'll finally have to act like journalists again and report on the news rather than their on political bias.

Didn't John McCain and Sara Palin get enough smear tactics from the liberal dems during the campaign? Why bring something like this up now when all is said and done? Shame on you! I'm very disappointed with fox for this! It's so beneath you!

I've said this from the beginning. Sarah Palin is absolutely unqualified and inexperienced to take over the mantle. Can you imagine not knowing that Africa is a continent??? She thought it was a country. Even a 7-year old can detect that error. It was in the news that Obama's family is from Kenya. What did she think Kenya was??? What was McCain thinking when he chose her??? Oh geez, the Republican Party ought to die for their incompetence.

"...dems feel a need to insult Gov. Palin to try and prove the point." - Posted by: Michael | November 05, 2008 at 06:32 PM

Not dems need to insult Palin. The pick of Palin as VP and her performance is an insult to the majority of Americans, especially those women who can think independently.

I have a source that says the LA TIMES is a bunch of high school drop-outs without a brain.


I can't believe all the ignorant (can't spell to save their lives) right-winger, moral minority wingnut responses to this article. In regards to Sarah "brainiac" Palin and the leaked truths for her own staff that have come out now that the election is over, what part of stupid ignorant beeatch did you not understand? She's not even qualified to be a sportscaster much less a public servant. I will concede however, that when it comes to looking down with contempt on, y'know, all that liberal elite stuff like science and knowledge, Sarah Palin is really at the top of her class.

Another example of the liberal media ( Carl Cameron is a traitor) not being fair to True Americans like Sara Palin.

We have had a great President for the past 8 years, and he didn't know anything about the un-godly foreigner part of the world either.

JUst because Sara Palin thought that Radio comedians from Canada were that Prime Minister guy from France, only shows how with her as President , a hockey mom would bring the human touch back to Foreigner Policy.

As for cavorting around in front of staff in a Towel, that's how you build loyalty....

GO SARA...........

I am extremely disappointed in FOX News (the only news channel I watch to this point) and exepcially Carl Cameron. That Cameron would drone on about these scurrilous rumors from "unnamed sources" with such apparent glee and lack of judgement has damaged him for the future. He used to be one of my favorite journalists. At this point, I will change the channel for any FOX show he comes on. Aren't he and FOX even embarrassed now that several of these claims are found to be unfounded and I am sure that more will be disproved? How can you spread such unfounded venom from people who either are trying to protect their reputations after running a terrible campaign or have serous psychological issues with assetive and successful women?

Sour grapes. This is FOX NEWS reporting this..not the BIASED, LIBERAL media. She was unvetted, unqualified, and completely in over her head. The big gamble failed miserably.

Once all the chatter over her incompetence goes away, I'd love to stop hearing about Gov. Palin. Just her religious beliefs makes her nauseating. She's not worth our time anymore.

Just give her binoculars back so she can protect our nation from her front porch.

demand sources, Sarah Palin was not the right pick. why is that the dems fault. she was never more than a piece of clay, ready to be molded into whatever the rebs wanted it to be.

We can only hope that attempting to make Sarah Palin VP was the last gasp of a bygone era in which politicians were simply actors, reading from a script provided by their handlers. Palin has no business even thinking that she could handle the job of President of the United States.

I am an Ivy League grad with an IQ of over 150, but if McCain had knocked on my door and said, "hey you want to be VP", I would have thought about it long and hard before I answered. In her own words, Palin "didn't blink" becasue she didn't even think about what was involved. She knew that she would be given speaches to read and policy to follow, and she had unfounded confidence that she could do the job.

There was a study done several years ago (and another similar study done this year I believe) that showed that the person least likely to question their own ability is most likely to be unqualified. Palin, and Bush before her demonstrated how accurate the study was.

liberal media, watch some more fox. the media reports the news. yes, news, like when gov. employees spend more than they're budget. and when mavericks aren't mavericks. why so quick to silence the people. we'll know more in two months

It seems to be politically correct to bash Palin these days. The constant rumors about her remind me of National Enquirer stories, like "70 year old bears alien's baby", that kind of thing. Those cowardly unnamed sources join in now to try to "finish her off" with more junk rumors, probably to put her out of contention for the 2012 race instead of their own preference for nomination. Their tender egos are also sore about her not taking their advice any longer, advice which almost ruined her and the campaign. Well, now we've got rumors #212 and #213 and #214.... and Fox is unprofessional enough to print them.
Look at her record as governor and tell me she is stupid! You won't, though, will you?

The VP selection was a choice out of desperation. The GOP would not accept McCain's first choice of Libermann. She was a puppet and not a maverick. They dressed her up and supplied her with cute little one liners. They thought she could be effective in this role. I hope she is not part of the National ticket in the future.

'I get it. I get it. The Republicans are really dumb and the Democrats are really smart. For some reason, dems feel a need to insult Gov. Palin to try and prove the point.'

Michael, it's not that the dems get some twisted joy out of humiliating an honest woman who made mistakes, it's that Sara Palin is quite honestly the worst political candidate for anything I've ever seen. The woman shouldn't be allowed to use a glue gun unattended let alone be the VP.

Maybe the knowledge of Africa as a continent is not of paramount importance to the governing of the USA, however, considering that second graders learn the names of continents, perhaps it would be best for the vice-president of the ''greatest country in the world'' to have a working knowledge of second grade knowledge, yeah?

And now we know it's a hoax. Carl should be fired for unprofessional journalism. Americans deserve the truth.

Carl, you went over the top. Sarah Palin is a very refreshing GOP. You were a favorite of mine on FNC. No more. To report something like this is not your taste. For a person to be brought to the limelight for only 5 or 6 weeks and take the National Enq. low ball really hurts me. A long time FNC night watcher. I will get over it but I will not feel the same toward you. Jim Sullivan

Carl, I watched fox news non stop until the day you wholesale gossipped to millions about Sarah Palin. She was the only qualified candidate with executive experience on either ticket. I have turned your station off and will not tune in again. We had a terribly run campaign by the republicans and they wanted a "scape goat". It is sad what was done to the person that has brought more fresh air and honesty to politics than I've seen in years. Did anyone listen to her refute this garbage in her interview? That was humble truth that is a rarity in DC. I will tune in again when you, Carl, are fired or ask Sarah for forgiveness for your lies.

Sara's a good looking woman, but let's get real she doesn't bring a thing to the table. She just repeats the clown stuff that most radical right wingers have already said.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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