December 15th, 2008
08:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Fey, Palin, McCain dominate list of top 10 quotes for '08

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin was bested by Tina Fey for the No. 1 spot on the list of the top ten quotes for 2008, according to the Yale Book of Quotations.'"]
(CNN) – With less than three weeks left in the year, the Yale Book of Quotations is out with its list of the 10 quotes for 2008, and statements some politicians probably wish they could take back dominate this year’s list.

This year had “a particularly important and dramatic election,” said Fred Shapiro, editor of the Yale Book of Quotations, about the fact that so many political quotations appeared on the 2008 list. “An election that had a cast of characters among the candidates,” Shapiro added

Indeed, Tina Fey’s “I can see Russia from my house” impersonation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took the No. 1 spot on the list.

Palin herself was not far behind at No. 2 with an answer during one of her interviews with Katie Couric. "All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years,” Palin told Couric when the CBS anchor asked the then-Republican vice presidential candidate what newspapers she read.

McCain economic adviser and former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm took third place for saying “we have sort of become a nation of whiners,” about the struggling economy in a July interview with the Washington Times.

Not to be outdone by Gramm or Palin, Sen. McCain took two spots on the top ten list: he scored fifth place for saying “the fundamentals of the American economy are strong” and the Arizona senator was also awarded seventh place for suggesting the U.S. troops might remain in Iraq for 100 years.

Quotes from Republicans take center stage in this year’s top ten because they were all potentially game changers that might have cost the GOP ticket the White House, according to Shapiro who also noted that McCain was potentially misunderstood in both of the quotes that made the list this year.

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden had their own memorable quotes in 2008 that fell just shy of making the top ten. Shapiro cited Obama’s comment that rural Americans “cling” to guns and religion and Biden’s statement that leaders of other countries would test Obama if elected as statements that might have made the list in another year when there wasn’t a “super abundance” of political quotes from which Shapiro had to choose.

Celebutante Paris Hilton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. also made the list for their politically-oriented quotations.

Click here to read the entire list.

Updated: 3:15 p.m. with Shapiro quotes

Filed under: Jesse Jackson • John McCain • Phil Gramm • Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (319 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    Are there any normal people in the Republican party?

    They all seem to be old and just plain crazy. I think the 50's and early 60's "communist McCarthy crap"scare tactics must have scared you for life.

    December 15, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Buck O'Fama

    What about "it's above my pay grade"? What about what The Obamination said to Joe the Plumber?

    Of course these wouldn't dare make the top 10, pretty much for the same reason sharks don't eat lawyers.

    December 15, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Buck O'Fama

    Oh... almost forgot the "57 states" quip.

    December 15, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Jim

    Is anyone ever going to admit that the "57' states in his commit are really the 57 islamic states in the world?

    Nah, That would give cred to his statement that –if things get really bad, I'll come down on the side of islam.

    To recognize that would make the libs who voted him in look stupid!

    Let all hope that things don't get that bad!

    December 15, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  5. Brian from Fort Mill, SC

    Doug, New Jersey December 15th, 2008 2:40 pm ET

    Ha ha, lying dishonest libs act as if Biden never said that President FDR went on TV in 1929. Most libs probably think FDR was president then and that Americans had television in their homes as well.
    You're right about Joe Biden. Both VPs made plenty of dumb statements. Biden was able to get away with his because he was well known, and already had foreign policy street-cred.

    Even so, comparatively speaking, Palin still came across as a female version of Dan Quayle.

    December 15, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  6. No More Republicans That Court The Dumb Vote

    Palin's own comments were almost as bad as "I can see Russia from my house"

    Remember when she said ... "where is it that Putin goes, when he rears his ugly head .... it's right across the border... into Alaska".... She did try to claim "foreign affairs" experience based on proximity to Russia.... How weak was that?!

    Who can ever forget how funny Fey was just by repeating 99.5% verbatim, the words that came out of Palin's mouth?

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. MD

    What about Obama's quote that there will be no lobbyists in his adminstration? Guess outright lies don't get counted in the CNN list.

    December 15, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. TyWebb

    What about GW Bush – "Look out! Shoe!"

    December 15, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. Malcom

    Obama and Biden made a ton of quotes that were crazy, incorrect and sometimes absurd. Granted, they weren't usually featured in the news because they didn't fit "the narrative". But it takes the fun out of it if you are going to compile a list just to advance "the narrative". Heck, especially when the election is already over.

    Wait a sec... I guess now the goal would be to advance "the narrative" to provide continuing cover for the incoming government. Ahhh... OK, now I understand. 🙂

    December 15, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Gerda Edwards why didn't Obama make the list right next to McCain's #5 when Obama said a couple of weeks later on Sept 29th? -

    "After this immediate problem, we've got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows."

    I know! Because he's a Democrat!

    December 15, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. doc

    " December 15th, 2008 2:38 pm ET

    Tina Fey’s “I can see Russia from my house” impersonation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took the No. 1 spot on the list.

    If I hadn't heard it come out of Palin's mouth, I wouldn't believe it. To justify her foreign experience, she made this silly remark on several occasions."

    you are a liar, you did NOt hear this come from palins mouth, it was said by that disgusting little skank on saturday night live, i have $1,000,000 in CSAH to ANYONE who can come up with videotape showing PALIN saying it. any takers?

    December 15, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  12. Erik


    No one denies what Biden said. It just isn't funny enough to make the list. "I can see Russia from my house" is top notch because it captures the triviality of the woman in one stupid statement.

    You should review your comments about the Democrats' penchant for hate and lies after reflecting on the Republicans' infamous Southern Strategy. Now who's guilty of double standards?

    Then again, I suppose in your own mind you believe you won the argument with cute little phrases like "libs." Good for you Doug.

    December 15, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. I'm Not Missing The Old Mule & Winky Half-baked Alaska

    And the Republicans wonder why they lost so badly. You need not look any further than the current Idiot-in-Chief for another clue.

    December 15, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Rob

    So here's a question, why is it that the SNL skit mocking the NY Gov is considered crossing the line, yet the skit saying that the Palin family committed incest was just considered funny?

    Wouldn't have anything to do with the political parties of those involved would it? Bet ya would've never seen a skit mocking Barrack's absent father during the election, would ya? Nope, didn't think so.

    December 15, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    And let's not forget, "It takes a Village-a Village of Idiots."

    December 15, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. Scott NYC Independent

    Palin is so dumb everytime I remember her non-sense answers I cringe

    December 15, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Ed, Santa Fe, NM


    December 15, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. rodlang

    Where are Obama and Biden's quotes?
    There are none because this guy is an admitted liberal democrat. He could have put any of the Biden gaffes on the list or Obama's quote about rural Americans bitterly holding onto their guns and bibles. But he conveniently left those off the list.

    December 15, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. rog

    To all Right minded people quit wasting your time reading
    the B.S. on this D.L.S.C. party site. Leave this site to the D.,L.S.C.
    PARTY COWARDS. Good by cnn.

    December 15, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. rodlang

    Tina Fey’s “I can see Russia from my house” impersonation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took the No. 1 spot on the list.

    If I hadn't heard it come out of Palin's mouth, I wouldn't believe it. To justify her foreign experience, she made this silly remark on several occasions

    No you didn't hear those words come out of Palin's mouth because she didn't say it. Tina Fey said those words.

    December 15, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Meh

    Chi Town> You're a troll, plain and simple. You constantly post the same garbage over and over. Stop being a sore loser.

    On topic: I don't think the media should give Palin any more coverage. Her 15 min. are up.

    December 15, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  22. Ken in Dallas

    Hey Doug,

    In 1929, FDR was Governor of the state of New York, appeared on the newsreels in that capacity, and vilified the bankers just as thoroughly as he could have done on TV.

    In other words, Biden got the story right, except for misidentifying a medium that disappeared from the US fifty years ago as TV. Chances are the film was played on a TV when Biden saw it.

    More succinctly: you're nit-picking, give it a rest.

    December 15, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Frederick in VA

    One of the best ones is when Joe Biden asked that guy to stand up so the audience could applaud. The problem was, that guy was in a wheelchair and couldn't stand up.

    Man that was funny, that was real. That should've made the list! I think he was just picking the quotes that made the news cycle.... so of course it is skewed toward McCain and Palin.

    December 15, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Jake in SD

    I love how these quotes just roll off the tongue. I am sure all of America will be repeating these for years. Who puts out this crap.

    December 15, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  25. Pete

    Hey, Republicans, stop living in such an echo chamber that you freak out with anger over a list of memorable quotes that is published every year. The thin skins you all show about Sarah Palin's utter lack of intellectual curiosity is breathtaking.

    December 15, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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