Palin Exalts American Exceptionalism With Chuck Yeager Looking On

(CBS)
From CBS News' Scott Conroy:

(CARSON CITY, Nev.) If there was any doubt that Sarah Palin believed in the concept of American exceptionalism, Saturday's rally in front of a raucus crowd of several thousand here put it to rest. Four separate times, Palin juxtaposed variations of the words "America" and "exceptional."

Palin's first reference to American exceptionalism came in the context of encouraging people to make contributions to the victims of Hurricane Ike.

"We're gonna pull together and assist them because America is an exceptional country and you are all exceptional Americans," she said. "And out of all of our exceptional Americans, I want to take the time for all of us to join in honoring those of us who have served our country in uniform either today or our veterans of the past."

American exceptionalism is typically thought of as the belief that the foundation and development of the United States has been fundamentally unique in the history of nations, and many use the concept to support the argument that America has a distinctive role to play in the world. The first use of the term is credited to Alexis de Tocqueville—a French political scientist and historian—over175 years ago.

"You understand the need to put the pride back into America and into Americans because we can do this again," Palin said. "We are an exceptional nation."

Palin's emphasis on American exceptionalism may have been encouraged by the presence at the rally of Chuck Yeager—the American test pilot who became the first man to travel faster than the speed of sound in 1947.

"He may be the first man to break the sound barrier," Palin said. "Hopefully he maybe has a good idea how that first woman can break the glass ceiling once and for all."

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    Scott Conroy is a National Political Reporter for RealClearPolitics and a contributor for CBS News.