Palin: "Well, first, McClellan did not say definitively the surge principles would not work in Afghanistan. Certainly, accounting for different conditions in that different country and conditions are certainly different. We have NATO allies helping us for one and even the geographic differences are huge but the counterinsurgency principles could work in Afghanistan. McClellan didn't say anything opposite of that. The counterinsurgency strategy going into Afghanistan, clearing, holding, rebuilding, the civil society and the infrastructure can work in Afghanistan. And those leaders who are over there, who have also been advising George Bush on this have not said anything different but that." Source: CNN.
The liberal media has taken this answer and spun it to say that "she called David McKiernan, the commanding general in Afghanistan, 'McClellan' (emphasis added)." When taken in context, it may seem that Palin didn't know who David McKeirnan and is clueless about foreign affairs. But the reality is, she was simply showcasing her vast historical knowledge of the Civil War and using it to make a brilliant allegory about herself. It turns out that George Brinton McClellan was a major general during the American Civil War. Palin was clearly using her reference to him to point out some similarities between the General McClellan and herself:
Military Command: George McClellan organized the famous Army of the Potmac and served briefly as commander in chief of the Union Army. Sarah Palin was commander in chief of Alaska's famous national guard.
Meticulous Preparation: According to Wikipedia, although McClellan was meticulous in his planning and preparations, these attributes may have hampered his ability to challenge aggressive opponents in a fast-moving battlefield environment. Similarly, although Palin is meticulous in her review of countless newspapers and magazines, that breadth of knowledge may have hampered her ability to answer basic questions asked by aggressive reporters in fast moving interview environments.
Leadership: McClellan's leadership skills during battles were questioned by President Lincoln. Despite this, he was the most popular of that army's commanders with its soldiers, who felt that he had their morale and well-being as paramount concerns. Palin's leadership is questioned by pretty much everybody, and yet, somehow, she is still popular among social conservatives.
Snappy Dressers: As the picture indicates, both General McClellan and Palin are snappy dressers.
Middle Names: General McClellan has a cool middle name - "Brinton." Sarah Palin also has a middle name.So, is the "McClellan" name-drop just another example of Palin screwing up? Heck no! It is 100% true that General McClellan didn't say definitively the surge principles would not work because he's been dead since 1885. For those of you who don't share Palin's encyclopedic knowledge base, that is way before we ever sent troops to Afghanistan. Isn't it ironic? The one time Palin says something that is true, and she gets criticized for it!
Some people might question why Sarah Palin would make such a sly reference to General McClellan in an answer about Afghanistan, given the fact that he has been dead even longer than Dan Quayle's career. She wisely anticipated this critique and addressed it during the debate: "And I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I'm going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also." Just in case the liberal elites didn't understand that explanation, she reminded us repeatedly that she is a maverick.