Sarah Palin said she didn’t mess up on Paul Revere. She said he did warn the British.
Indeed, Revere did exactly that.
When he finished his famous ride to Lexington, he decided to embark on a new ride to Concord. During this ride, he was captured by the British and subsequently warned them about the colonial resistance.
However, there is a huge difference between being right and covering up one’s mistake with an obscure piece of history.
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To recap, Sarah Palin said the following about Paul Revere:
We saw where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager, which was something new to learn. He who warned the British that they weren't going to be taking away our arms by ringing those bells and by making sure that as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells that we were going to be secure and we were going to be free and we were going to be armed.”
Palin said “as he's riding his horse through town to send those warning shots and bells.” Clearly, she was referring to Revere’s famous midnight ride, not his capture at the hands of the British.
He warned the British verbally while captured, not with “warning shots and bells” while on horseback.
The context of Palin’s comments was her visiting of “where Paul Revere hung out as a teenager.” Her subsequent “he who” sentence was clearly shooting for what Revere is mostly known for, which is his midnight ride to Lexington.
Lastly, who is Palin trying to kid by setting herself up a history buff, patriotic intellectual, and Paul Revere scholar? What’s more credible, that she messed up on Paul Revere or that she was honestly trying to make an obscure reference?
Even the historian who spoke to the Boston Herald did not think Palin’s remarks reflected scholarship. Instead, he thinks she got “lucky” that her comments happen to be backed up by an obscure piece of history.
Palin messed up on Paul Revere, which is arguably excusable because people make verbal gaffes all the time. Vice President Joe Biden made many of them.
He once told a paraplegic, who was clearly confined to a wheelchair, to “stand up.” He once called “j-o-b-s” a three-letter world. He claimed that FDR “got on the television” to address the nation after the stock market crash of 1929, even though FDR wasn’t president back then and television wasn’t a widely available consumer product.
Palin, however, didn’t just make a gaffe; she also tried to cover it up with a lame excuse.
What she should have done is own up to her mistake and perhaps poke a little fun at Biden and herself.