The Republican vice presidential candidate and her comedic doppelganger, Tina Fey, took the top two spots in this year’s list of most memorable quotes compiled by Fred R. Shapiro.
Palin’s quotes were pivotal, said Shapiro, associate librarian and lecturer in legal research at the Yale Law School who compiles the list.
“This quote helped shape the election results,” he said of the Russia quote. “As it sank in the public realized this was someone really, really inexperienced and perhaps lacking in curiosity about the world.”
Shapiro said that when he began the list he thought he would select the most profound, eloquent or witty quotes. But the celebrity culture and political discourse led him down a different path.
“What I have come to do is pick some quotes that really say something about our culture and they tend almost exclusively to be quotes that are notable for negative reasons rather than being admirable or eloquent,” Shapiro said.
#10- “Barack, he’s talking down to black people… I want to cut his balls off.” — Rev. Jesse Jackson, overheard over a live microphone before a Fox News interview, July 6
#9- “Anyone who says we’re in a recession, or heading into one — especially the worst one since the Great Depression — is making up his own private definition of “recession.” — commentator Donald Luskin, the day before Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy, The Washington Post, Sept. 14
#8- “I’ll see you at the debates, bitches!” — Paris Hilton in a video responding to a McCain television ad, August 2008
#7- “Maybe 100.” — McCain, discussing in a town hall meeting in Derry, N.H., how many years U.S. troops could remain in Iraq, Jan. 3.
#6- “Decisions by the Secretary pursuant to the authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency.” — the Treasury Department’s proposed Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, September 2008.
#5- “The fundamentals of America’s economy are strong.” — McCain, in an interview with Bloomberg TV, April 17
#4- “It’s not based on any particular data point, we just wanted to choose a really large number.” — a Treasury Department spokeswoman explaining how the $700 billion number was chosen for the initial bailout, quoted on Forbes.com Sept. 23
#3- “We have sort of become a nation of whiners.” — former Sen. Phil Gramm, an economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, quoted in The Washington Times, July 10.
#2- “All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.” — Palin, responding to a request by CBS anchor Katie Couric to name the newspapers or magazines she reads, broadcast Oct. 1
#1- “I can see Russia from my house!” — Comedian Tina Fey, while impersonating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on “Saturday Night Live,” broadcast Sept. 13.