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. When is SNL going to do the Obama's?

    Are thy afraid? How about something on Michelle's big butt?

    December 15, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. yellow dog democrat

    Hey none of these folks have anything on me and my "gaffs" and quotes – no big what?? Not news – lets just laugh at ourselves and everyone around us.

    December 15, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  3. Seth

    Sarah Palin is not mentally challenged, she was just more mentally challenged by the press. They were constantly trying to catch her off guard and anyone could plainly see they didn't press Obama as hard on anything. The hardest question Obama was asked is what is his favorite color and how hard is it to be black.

    December 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. Steph

    Are these republican wackos for real? Apparently an entire group of people decided to stop taking their meds.

    Relax! The quotes are just plain funny, admit it.

    December 15, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  5. Rae

    Hilarious! We all need some laughs right now.

    December 15, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Seriously?

    People are STILL defending Palin? My big toe has more sense than that ignorant clown. Speaks VOLUMES of your character... (or lack thereof).

    December 15, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  7. Gerda Edwards

    These are just as dumb, but weren't included.

    "After this immediate problem, we've got the long-term fundamentals that will really make sure this economy grows." (Obama, a couple of weeks after McCain’s “fundamentals” quote) – Obama
    “Chuck, stand up, let the people see you,” (to wheelchair-bound Chuck Graham) – Biden
    “I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be the one of the most significant events to occur in Europe since the end of communism.” (Georgia is in Asia, not Europe) – Biden
    “I’ve now been in 57 states. I think one left to go.” (There are 50 states, 51 if you include DC) – Obama
    “For the first time in my adult life, I’m proud of America” – M. Obama
    “I can no more disown [Rev Wright] than I can my white grandmother” (a few days before he disowns Rev. Wright) – Obama
    “All you have to do is to go down Union Street with me in Wilmington and go to Katie's Restaurant” (even though Katie’s had been closed for over 15 years) – Biden
    “The idea he doesn't realize that Article I of the Constitution defines the role of the vice president of the United States, that's the Executive Branch.” (Article II defines the Executive Branch) – Biden
    “Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union; they don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us” (To be fair, he may actually believe this) – Obama
    “It's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them” (about people in small towns in PA) – Obama
    “They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?“ (Never materialized) – Obama

    December 15, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  8. sandee in Portland

    Boy, Rob, you are really out of it intellectually if you think the people of our nation are stupid enough to vote in another idiot for president. Even her constiuents in Alaska are realizing she's a mistake. Her approval rating has plummeted dramatically in her own state.

    December 15, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |

    the republicans shoot from the hips with their quotes; because they can't put a coherent sentence together...and invariably, shot themselves in the foot and lost the white house!!!!

    December 15, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  10. BRNDN

    @Linda: This *is* an objective list.

    December 15, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  11. Right is Red





    December 15, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  12. Mike, Syracuse NY

    The number of Obama supporters who think the Tina Fey quote was really made by Palin is just scary. These are the uninformed people who elected Obama.

    Gerda, great list. If the press had gone after Obama/Biden as enthusiatically as they did McCain/Palin, we'd have a different PE.

    December 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. Tay in Texas

    So, let me get this straight...Tina Fey (with her multiple Emmys, her stint on the Weekend Update Desk at SNL, her position as head writer of SNL and authorship of both Mean Girl and Baby Mama) is a "15 minte of fame" flash in the pan, but Sarah Palin is a legitimate political powerhouse with the knowledge, wisdom and experience to guide an nation of millions. Are you kidding me???????

    I'm so glad that I live in a vastly different America than some of you folks. Based on intelligence alone, I would vote for Tina in a heartbeat before I would cast my vote for "Shoot 'Em Up" Sarah. She has elevated knowing nothing and being proud of it to a freaking art form! If you can honestly look and listen to this woman and say that you would be proud to have her represent you, then you are an idiot!

    As for Obama's ignored "misstatements", if you honestly think that a Harvard Law School graduate doesn't know how many states there are in this country you are wither ignorant or...'re just unarguably ignorant.

    December 15, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Mike

    Gee, the grapes are really sour this year.

    December 15, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Len

    glad there's finally an official recognition of all the dumb things republicans say.

    maybe tina fey should run for president in 2012 instead of palin. she better represents palin than palin does.

    oh- and there are no obama or biden quotes because they are actually educated and know what they're talking about.

    December 15, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Keep you "change"

    That's right, do not include Obama in the top10. That would be bad bad bad, not to mention RACIST! Can you say Media Bias? The reason nobody pokes fun at the new messiah and his paperbag over the head wife, is out of fear of being called racist. They are OFF limits in every way, which is really sad. Last sounds heard from the USA, "mayday mayday".

    December 15, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  17. Mark

    Tsk, tsk, tsk. Such pettiness, liberals.
    Okay, for all you Kool-Aid drinkers, let me set the record straight. The question to Palin actually included the fact Russia could be seen from some parts of Alaska; she was simply echoing the question in her answer. Second, while many of you elite liberals may have time to read both the L.A. & N.Y. Times cover to cover, this nose to the grindstone woman has just a bit on her plate during the day to day to indulge in such frivolity.
    Based on what I read on the CNN blogs, it is quite clear conservatives have the upper hand when it comes to decency. I was a Democrat until the liberals took over my party (the liberal Democrats are quite different from the standard "free-cheese" Democrats, in case you didn't know).

    December 15, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. G.R.I.T.S. - Girl Raised in the South

    To Gerda Edwards –

    Wow, where did you copy this list from, Fox News? Love your last quote, "“They’re going to try to make you afraid of me. He’s young and inexperienced and he’s got a funny name. And did I mention he’s black?“ (Never materialized) Is that your opinion that this tactic never materialized or did you copy this from someone else, too?

    McCain, Palin, and the rest of the GOP continuously and vehemently argued that Obama was inexperienced and different. Ergo, the terrorist remarks, the monkey with an Obama sticker, the ridiculous "Hussein" comments. They tried everything they could to prey on Americans' fears of the unknown and of race. Thankfully, a majority of Americans rejected the "rights" fear-based arguments and innuendo. We will not fall victim to our own fears anymore. Of course, fear is still alive in the "red" states of the South, but that's another story for another time.

    December 15, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  19. mark

    ... she can also say .. I see a bright burning light on the horizon ...

    December 15, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. Toni

    So funny to watch the losers growl, snort and spit like junkyard dogs. Doesn't matter what the story is, they're just "Mad as Hell and won't take it anymore..." but they have to.

    You might have read today that even John McCain has refused to say if he would support Palin as a Presidential candidate. Hindsight's a mess, ain't it?

    December 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  21. joeb

    Get a grip folks! It's just humor. The Obama and Biden gaffes are not funny (yet), but I'm sure there will be enough in the next 4 years suitable for SNL skits. And by the way, Rob, you are need to take your meds.

    December 15, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  22. joeb

    that should read "..., you need to take your meds."

    December 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. Howie

    I think Obama's quote "I have now been in all 57 states" is the best. 57?????duh,duh

    December 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. lovable liberal

    "Oh c'mon folks. lay off Palin. It is in very poor taste to riducule someone who is mentally limited. You don't poke fun at the village idiot do you?"

    I have a button on my work table that says, "Somewhere in Texas a village is missing its idiot," so I guess I have to confess that in some limited circumstances, the answer is yes.

    December 15, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    "My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of this planet. I hope you will join me as we try to change it."–B Obama.

    Uhhh, change it to what?

    December 15, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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