Palin says her critique of Obama wasn't racist

Then-Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, speaks during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2008.
AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sarah Palin is defending her use of the term "shuck and jive" to characterize President Obama as evasive and dishonest, dismissing criticism that the term is racist.

"For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase 'shuck and jive,'" the 2008 GOP VP nominee and former Alaska governor wrote on Facebook. "I would have used the exact same expression if I had been writing about President Carter, whose foreign policy rivaled Obama's in its ineptitude, or about the Nixon administration, which was also famously rocked by a cover-up."

The controversy arose when Palin on Wednesday wrote a critical post on Facebook regarding the administration's response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. "President Obama's shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end," she wrote.

Palin was called out by some commentators for using such a racially loaded phrase.

In her defense, Palin said she uses the phrase not just in reference to the president, but also when she chastises her daughter Piper for procrastinating. "As she is part Yup'ik Eskimo, I'm not sure if this term would be deemed offensive when it's directed at her or if it would be considered benign," Palin wrote.

The former vice presidential candidate also pointed out that others, including MSNBC liberal commentator Chris Matthews, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and White House press secretary Jay Carney, have used the phrase.

When Cuomo used the phrase in 2008, seemingly in reference to Mr. Obama, CNN analyst Roland Martin explained why the phrase is offensive.

"'Shucking and jiving' have long been words used as a negative assessment of African Americans, along the lines of a 'foot shufflin' Negro.' In fact, I don't recall ever hearing the phrase used in reference to anyone white," Martin wrote. "There is a such thing as political correctness gone mad, with folks being too sensitive. But it's also about respect. And America's long racial and sordid history still has ramifications today."