VP Candidates On Church-State Separation

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Sen. Joe Biden and Gov. Sarah Palin have put in some very long days reparing for their Thursday night debate. To give voters a better sense of who they these candidate are, and where they stand on a number of issues, CBS News anchor Katie Couric asked Biden and Palin some "Vice Presidential Questions." This installment: "Thomas Jefferson wrote about the First Amendment: 'building a wall of separation between Church and State.' Why do you think that is so important?"

Click here to read more of what the vice-presidential candidates had to say and see our series, "Presidential Questions."

Katie Couric: Thomas Jefferson wrote about the First Amendment, building a wall of separation between church and state. Why do you think that's so important?

Sarah Palin: His intention in expressing that was so that government did not mandate a religion on people. And Thomas Jefferson also said never underestimate the wisdom of the people. And the wisdom of the people, I think in this issue is that people have the right and the ability and the desire to express their own religious views, be it a very personal level, which is why I choose to express my faith, or in a more public forum.

And the wisdom of the people, thankfully, engrained in the foundation of our country, is so extremely important. And Thomas Jefferson wanted to protect that.

Read the transcript of the candidates' interviews on Roe v. Wade

Biden: The best way to look at it is look the every state where the wall's not built. Look at every country in the world where religion is able to impact ... the governance. Almost every one of those countries are in real turmoil.

Look, the founders were pretty smart. They had gone through, you know, several hundred years of wars - religious wars. And they were in the midst of religious wars in Europe. And they figured it out: The best way to do this is to keep the government out of religion. They took religion out of government. But they didn't mean religion couldn't be in a public place, in the public square.