I can see Russia from my house -- almost

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin: I can't see Russia.

Did Tea Party star Sarah Palin ever utter the words I can see Russia from my house? Actually, she didn't. It was Tiny Fey of Saturday Night Live who said the words, poking fun at Palin's lack of foreign policy experience. We tell you what Sarah Palin really said about Russia.

We have to refer you to an interview with ABC's Charles Gibson -- we give you Gibson's question and Palin's answer:

GIBSON: What insight into Russian actions, particularly in the last couple of weeks, does the proximity of the state give you?

PALIN: They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska, from an island in Alaska.

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin. See Palin's lingerie

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin. See Palin's lingerie

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin, runner. See Palin's lingerie

OK, so now it is not as bad as it once seemed. It is true that when Sarah Palin campaigned with John McCain in the presidential election of 2008, she was so lacking in foreign policy experience and know-how that she kept falling into traps and holes of her own making.

She had cited proximity of Russia to the United States as a reason that she, as governor of Alaska, knew more about Russia than many Washington insiders. After all, you cannot see Russia from Washington, though there are probably more Russian decision makers in Washington than there are in Wasilla, Alaska.

Sarah Palin is not an intellectual. She is not well read. Unlike Obama, she cannot hold her own during in-depth discussions with academics and foreign leaders. In fact, she embarrasses herself and her supporters when she tries to be what she is not.

President Obama is a Harvard graduate. Palin barely scraped through college.

She attended Hawaii Pacific University in the fall of 1982 and North Idaho College in the spring and fall of 1983. She attended the University of Idaho in the fall of 1984 and spring of 1985, and attended Matanuska-Susitna College in the fall of 1985.

She returned to the University of Idaho in the spring of 1986, receiving her bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism in 1987. No Ivy League elitism in that educational background!

But that is part of Palin's considerable appeal. There's a huge chunk of the American population that's suspicious of the Ivy League, Washington insiders, Hollywood, academics, intellectuals, indeed anyone occupying a position of power in any organization considered mainstream, i.e. liberal.

Vast swathes of America, almost the entire country between East and West coasts is far-right conservative, Christian fundamentalist, mistrustful of government, more or less racist in that they don't like to see black people or hispanics in power ver them.

The only type of government spending they want is on the military, border protection, and preventing the liberal agenda of gay marriage and wealth redistribution -- even though many Palin supporters are poor and uneducated and would benefit from wealth redistribution from richer people to them.

Palin's supporters yearn for strong American industry but they hated the bailout to save the car industry and the banks. It is unclear whether they would have preferred to see the car industry fail and disappear rather than be saved by taxpayer money.

Whether Palin and the populist Tea Party right has enough support within the GOP for her to become the party's presidential candidate remains to be seen.

She is immensely popular among in the church-going heartland. At the moment, she has power without much repsonsibilty, so she can pretty much do and say what she wants, including promoting fools such as Christine O'Donnell.

But as Karl Rove recently stated, there are many Republicans who think Palin lacks the gravitas to become president.

A well-known Republican insider quipped, Most Palin supporters will need to Google to find out what 'gravitas' means.

In short, Palin is seen as a frivolous, power-hungry celebrity whose best job is firing up the grass roots. Just don't let her lead anything important.

See Sarah Palin's lingerie picks.

By Athina Simonidou