Palin’s Sputnik Moment

By Eliza

Jan 28, 2011 5:29pm

ABC News' John Berman reports: Sarah Palin understands the history of Sputnik. That is the case she is making today on Facebook, clarifying remarks made earlier in the week that left some people confused.

In a Wednesday night appearance on Fox News, Palin was asked what she thought of President Obama’s declaration that it is now America’s “Sputnik Moment;” a moment similar to 1957 when the U.S. government, shocked by the Soviet launch of the Sputnik satellite, redoubled its efforts to win the space race.

Palin’s response on Wednesday left some room for interpretation:

"When [The President] 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 led to the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union."

Was Palin suggesting that the Soviets won the space race?  Was she suggesting that the collapse of  the Soviet Union was somehow an unenviable result of America’s 1957 Sputnik moment?  No.  Not according to what she posted Facebook today.  Today, Palin implies that her comments about the “Sputnik Moment,” were not about America’s perspective at the time (which was clearly the context of the President’s remarks and the Fox News question to her), but the consequences of Sputnik for the Soviets.

Palin quotes from an Op-Ed written by the Hoover Institution’s Research Fellow Peter Schweizer, that says “Sputnik was the sort of government bureaucratic program that got the Soviet Union in trouble; it’s an example of what eventually did them in.”

And once again, Palin says she would rather the country turn its focus from Sputnik to Spudnut, a coffee shop in Richland, WA.

At Spudnut, Palin says “you’ll find an all-American success story of a family owned small business that for over 60 years has been serving up a product that people want to buy. Businesses like this coffee shop don’t receive big government bailouts. They produce something with their own ingenuity and hard work. And here we see the former communist Soviet Union’s advancement (before its government debt-ridden demise) vs. America’s small businesses that are the backbone of our economy.”

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