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Could the Republicans 'refudiate' Sarah Palin?

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 20 July 2010

Fresh from her "repudiate" Twitter gaffe, Sarah Palin is facing stiff opposition for her place as potential Republican presidential contender from the so-called "queen of the right" -  Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.

Sarah Palin at a rally in the United States (Reuters)

Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann is a fast becoming a rising star in the eyes of US Republicans.

Bachmann has the right credentials: she has accused Obama of being a socialist threat to the American way of life; she vehemently opposed his healthcare bill with a stirring "blood brothers" speech, and perhaps most significantly, she has successfully brought the Tea Party movement to Congress.

Bachmann broke the news about her Tea Party victory on Twitter:

"Just got word that the Committee on House Administration officially approved the House Tea Party Caucus."

"Americans from all locations and backgrounds have united through Tea Parties to spread the timeless messages of fiscal responsibility and limited government," she added in a statement.

"And I have talked to many people who felt discouraged because no one in Washington DC seemed willing to listen. This caucus will change that sentiment and ensure the voices of the people are carried through the halls of Congress."

"From "refudiate" to Shakespeare - the linguistic journey of Sarah Palin
- Read more below

The Tea Party movement has taken the Republican party by storm since it was formed last year. It begun as a grassroots revolt against Obama's plans on taxation, health reform and economic reform, and is now threatening to become an established political ideology.

The group's focus is primarily anti-taxation and pro small government. They take their name from the famous Boston Tea Party groups that stood against colonial British taxation laws in 1773. Recently, however, there has been fierce debate over claims that members of the Tea Party hold racist views.

Bachmann has now successfully arranged for a Tea Party caucus to be held in Congress - essentially a place where congressmen and women who share the Tea Party ideals could meet in Congress to talk.

Sarah Palin has also been in the news over her tweets, but for all the wrong reasons. In a gaffe that echoed George W Bush's "misunderestimate" comment, she was caught tweeting a made-up word: "refudiate".

Critics are pointing to this mistake as an example of how Palin has become tarnished in the eyes of the media, and say Bachmann should replace her as potential presidential candidate.

Professor Shaun Bowler, a political scientist at the University of California, said:

"Bachmann is media-savvy, energising and charismatic, just like Palin. But unlike Palin, she is a seasoned politician. She is not a political lightweight; she is serious."

"From "refudiate" to Shakespeare - the linguistic journey of Sarah Palin

In addition to potentially being outshone by Michelle Bachman as Queen of the Right, Palin was recently in the headlines for coining an entirely new word on Twitter.

Tweeting about a proposal to build a mosque near Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center stood in New York, she asked peaceful Muslims to "refudiate" the idea:

"July 18, 2010: Ground Zero mosque supporters, doesn't it stab you in the heart as it does ours throughout the heartland? Peaceful Muslims, (please) refudiate."

Following that initial tweet, Palin tried to amend her message, changing "refudiate" for "refute" which proved equally puzzling to many.

Finally Palin settled for replacing the offending word with "reject" - and then a few hours later posted another tweet, apparently trying to close the issue by saying that English was a living language.

In it, she jokingly referred to George W Bush's infamous "misunderestimate" gaffe and then compared herself to William Shakespeare:

"'Refudiate", "misunderestimate", "wee-wee'd up". English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!"

But this is not the first time Ms Palin has used the word "refudiate".

During a Fox News interview last week, Palin angrily challenged the Obamas to "refudiate" claims by National Association for the Advancement of Colored (sic) People (NAACP) group that some supporters of the Tea Party movement were racist.

She said in the interview (shown right at 2' 30):

"The president and his wife, they have power in their words. They could refudiate what it is this group is saying and they could set the record straight."

Ironically, the NAACP itself made a similar claim earlier this month when it said:

"The resolution condemns the bigoted elements within the Tea Party and asks for them to be repudiated."

Only they chose to use the word "repudiate" instead.

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