In September 2008, then-Alaska governor Sarah Palin raised eyebrows when she appeared to link the invasion of Iraq to the Sept. 11 attacks, telling “an Iraq-bound brigade of soldiers that included her son that they would ‘defend the innocent from the enemies who planned and carried out and rejoiced in the death of thousands of Americans.’” The McCain campaign claimed at the time that Palin “was referring to al-Qaeda in Iraq, a terror group that formed after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 and claims to be allied with the global al-Qaeda organization.” But in an interview with CBS’s 60 Minutes last night, New York magazine’s John Heilemann, who is a co-author of a recently released book on the 2008 campaign, said that Palin “regularly” claimed during the campaign “that Saddam Hussein had been behind 9/11.” Watch it:
McClatchey’s Erika Bolstad posts the section from the book that describes Palin’s confusion:
Palin had “substantial deficiencies,” the authors report, and her “grasp of rudimentary facts and concepts was minimal.” Those deficiencies became apparent on Sept. 10, when she was getting ready to fly back to Alaska to see her son, Track, depart for Iraq, the authors report. She was also preparing for her interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson.
“Asked who attacked America on 9/11, she suggested several times that it was Saddam Hussein. Asked to identify the enemy that her son would be fighting in Iraq, she drew a blank. (Palin’s horrified advisers provided her with scripted replies, which she memorized.) Later, on the plane, Palin said to her team, ‘I wish I’d paid more attention to this stuff.”