(CNN) - Sarah Palin is taking heat Wednesday for appearing to overstate the role of vice president, saying in a recent interview that she would be "in charge of the Senate" should John McCain win the White House.
The comments came in an interview with Colorado TV station KUSA in response to a third-grader's question, "What does the Vice President do?”
"[T]hey’re in charge of the U.S. Senate so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom," she said.
The comments have drawn criticism from Democrats and liberal blogs which note the actual role of the vice president when it comes to the Senate is simply to cast a tie-breaking vote in the event of a stalemate. According to Article I of the U.S. Constitution, the vice president is the "President" of the Senate, but has no executive position when it comes to presiding over the chamber.
Donald Ritchie, a historian in the Senate Historical Office told CNN that Palin's comment was an "overstatement" of what her role would be.
"The vice president is the ceremonial officer of the Senate and has certain ceremonial functions including swearing in new senators and can vote to break a tie," he said. "It’s a relatively limited role. It's evolved into a neutral presiding officer of the Senate.
Ritchie also noted recent vice presidents have played a behind-the-scenes lobbying role on Capitol Hill for an administration's policies, but called it "somewhat limited."
"It's not comparable to the Speaker of the House who is certainly in charge of the House," he said. "The slogan that political scientists use is that the House is ruled by the chair and the Senate is ruled by the floor…the senators are in charge of the Senate."
Maria Comella, a spokeswoman for Palin, said the Alaska governor was simply answering the question in a way a third-grader could understand.
"Governor Palin was responding to a third grader's inquiry," she said. "She was explaining in terms a third-grader could understand that the vice-president is also president of the U.S. Senate."
In an interview with CBS earlier this month, Democratic VP candidate Joe Biden also said he hoped to play an influential role in the legislative branch if Barack Obama wins the White House.
"I hope one of my roles as vice president will be as the person actually implementing Barack Obama's policy. You gotta get the Congress to go along with it," he said. "And it's presumptuous to say, but I know it pretty well. And I think I am fairly respected on both sides of the aisle."
Heard as she is walking back to Alaska on November 5, "Hey, can I at least keep the clothes?"
Not to worry Sarah. GOD will fix it!!
the whole VP pick of her was a misspeak
Once again she opens her mouth and her ignorance shows!
I really feel for Palin. Mc Cain (republican party) used this women, playing a political game – knowing that she was not ready. People who vote republican are sick people. May God bless America.
And she thinks she is so much more experienced than Barack Obama?
Read the Constitution – the VP is PRESIDENT of the Senate!!!! Duh, She's right!
Enough with the liberal bias, CNN! This was yesterday's non-story. Why are you bringing it up again today? Drew Griffin admitted the bias yesterday in his interview with Palin, and yet you continue to chug along doing everything and anything you can to ensure an Obama victory. I am shocked he isn't up 30 points in the polls!
SERIOUSLY, CAN SHE GET DUMBER?
Remember, it was only a couple months ago she didnt know what the VP did.... at least shes progressing.
Obama Biden 08
Open mouth, insert the Consitution!
This Palin-McCain ticket (Yes I said Palin-McCain) is dumber than a bag of rocks.
What does your comment have to do with the fact that Palin cannot correctly define what her job duties as VP should include? This is not media bias, just watch the video...she speaks for herself.
The McCain camp was right to muzzle her from the beginning. Every time she opens her mouth, something dumb comes out.
It is biased because if Biden had said it, it would never have been reported. Just ask Drew Griffin!
been running for the job that she does not know the role of....
Palin said this because she has a third grader's understanding of US History and civics.
My 5th grader knows more than this dimwitted woman.
Palin's worn me down to the point of being speechless.
Done commenting, can't take anymore nonsense, I have a headache.
I thought the main responsability of the VP is to wink at the camera during interviews...
The gift that keeps on giving....to Democrats.
Barack the Vote
America Unified in '08.
lol this woman is a goof! but this doesnt surprise me because she said it herself in a July 31st interview when she was being considered as a possible VP candiate that. she's not sure if she was interested she doesnt no exactly what a vice president does she wanted to find that out first. that was 30days prior to her being selected at mcsains running mate.
and i guess 4 months later she still doesnt know
(Rainman voice on) Very mavericky, yeah definitely very mavericky....Sarah's so sparkley – like a holiday, very sparkley
What a joke. Do us all a favor go back to monitoring Russia from your snow mobile.
Are we surprised? I listened to excerpts of her interview with Drew Griffin and I was astonished. I could not believe that she is running for the Vice President of the United States of America! How did she get this far? I could not understand anything she was saying. I kept listening and I just didn’t get it. I felt clueless and then realized it wasn’t me! LOL!