Sarah Palin: My favorite sign was 'I am Joe Mama'
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Monday October 27, 2008

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At a rally in Leesburg, Virginia on Monday, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin spoke enthusiastically about the variations on "Joe the Plumber" with which many of her supporters have recently been identifying themselves. However, she may have overstepped the bounds of good taste when she suggested that among her favorite signs was one reading "I am Joe Mama."

"I really got to hand it to Joe the Plumber," Palin began. "A lot of folks around the country, they identify with Joe, and we see posters even here today. We saw posters recently -- Doug the barber, and Christine the florist, and Cindy the citizen. We've got Joe the plumber's son, Jack the hunter, Vickie the realtor. Yes!"

"One of my favorites last night, it was 'I am Joe Mama,'" Palin concluded, to laughs and shouts from the audience.

It seemed clear from the intonation with which Palin said the phrase and the laughs it received that she knew it was meant to mock the ethnic pronunciation of "Your mama."

Done knock-up style the joke might read:

Did you hear Joe was here?

Joe who?

Joe mama.

One poster at the liberal message board Democratic Underground quickly suggested, "There is the sound clip for the day. Fantastic. She is a total idiot." Another added, "The expression 'You mama!' coming out of that mouth is shocking enough. Puerto Rican dialect annuciates [sic] the "y" as "j"... Talk about shooting 2 moose with one bullet."

Palin's use of an ethnic accent is reminiscent in some ways of an incident in 2007 where Hillary Clinton was accused of making fun of southerners because she had adopted a southern accent to recite a verse of a gospel hymn during an appearance at a black church. However, in Clinton's case the charges were of pandering to her audience, not of racism -- and even those charges were shown to be misplaced.

One critic suggested at the time, "Andrea Mitchell, while narrating the segment on the political duel between Obama and Hillary in Selma, Alabama this weekend portrayed Obama as having authentic appeal, while picturing Hillary resorting to heavy-handed political tactics. But that heavy hand turned to flat out mocking with part of her speech that has been placed online. Clinton, once a resident of the Governor's mansion in Arkansas, tried to fake a southern accent and it came across as a cheap and nasty ploy."

Talking Points Memo then came to her defense, writing under the headline "Yet Another Wingnut Sliming Of Hillary Proven To Be Bogus" that "Hillary was actually quoting the hymn lyrics of someone else -- while clearly and very openly imitating (not very well, it turns out) the cadences she thought the lyrics would traditionally have been delivered in. There was nothing phony about it at all."

This video is from, broadcast October 27, 2008.

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