Sarah Palin thinks President Barack Obama needs a history lesson on the space race between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union.“He needs to remember that, uh, what happened back then with the communist U.S.S.R. and their victory in that race to space,” the Fox News contributor said Wednesday night, reacting to Obama’s reference to Sputnik in his State of the Union speech. Palin called the Sputnik name drop one of the “W.T.F.” moments in the speech, a play of the President’s call for “winning the future.”
“Yeah, they won but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union,” Palin said.
Not quite. Yes, the Soviet Union won many of the early contests in the space race (including putting the first man in orbit, which may have been what Palin meant by “race to space”). But it was the U.S. that walked away with the biggest trophy in the space race when it put a man on the moon.
While the Soviet Union did eventually collapse, that wasn’t until 1991 — a full 22 years after the U.S. put a man on the moon, and the collapse came amid stagnant economic growth after years of unsustainable Soviet defense spending of which its space program was a relatively small part.
Palin’s comments on Sputnik are in the second part of the interview, embedded below.