Smarter than a third-grader? Palin flubs question on VP’s role

In an interview with Adam Schrager of Denver’s NBC affiliate KUSA-TV taped Monday, Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin answers a question posed by a local third-grader — and manages to mangle the constitutional separation of powers with a smile and a wink.

It’s true, Palin isn’t one of those Washington insiders, but even a fair share of civics students from her state of Alaska know the vice president isn’t “in charge of the United States Senate,” but only presides on “ceremonial occasions” and casts the rare tie-breaking vote.

Here’s what she said:

Schrager: Finally, governor, we’ve been trying to engage some local grade-schoolers in the last few elections. We do a feature called “Questions from the Third Grade.” Brandon Garcia wants to know, “What does the vice president do?”

Palin: That’s something that Piper would ask as a second-grader also. That’s a great question Brandon, and a vice president has a really great job, because not only are they there to support the president’s agenda, they’re like the team member — the teammate to that president, but also they’re in charge of the United States Senate, so if they want to they can really get in there with the senators and make a lot of good policy changes that will make life better for Brandon and his family and his classroom and it’s a great job and I look forward to having that job.

Schrager: Gov. Sarah Palin, thank you so much for being on “Your Show.”

Palin: Thank you so much, appreciate you.

And here’s the video:

Palin on KUSA-TV

In fact, it’s the majority leader who is “in charge of the United States Senate,” and he didn’t think much of Palin’s answer. A spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid sent out the following statement:

This comment is all the more puzzling because this is at least the 2nd time she has said this. Gov Palin needs to re-read or perhaps read for the first time the Constitution. While the Vice President presides over the Senate, he or she is not in charge of it. Article 1 says The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.

The Senate is part of a co-equal branch of the federal government.

Before she takes more questions from third-graders, Palin might want to consult Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution:

The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no Vote, unless they be equally divided.

Watch the entire interview with Schrager here.

h/t Think Progress

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