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Palin to campaign for candidate who thinks Puerto Rico is a country

Sometimes the headline takes you where it takes you. Later Friday, Sarah Palin will hit the trail in Idaho, where she spent some of her youth, for congressional candidate Vaughn Ward, trying to take back the typically Republican 1st District from Rep. Walt Minnick (D). Ward has done some work for Democrats in the past -- that hasn't become much of an issue yet, as Minnick is a former Republican and has been endorsed by the Tea Party Express, scrambling the party lineup in the district.

But during a Wednesday night debate with his primary opponent, Raul Labrador, Ward made one of the more embarrassing flubs of the cycle. (Via the Hill.)

The candidates got a question on whether they supported statehood for Puerto Rico. Labrador, who is from Puerto Rico, said he didn't. And then Ward unleashed this:

The problem with extending statehood to some, to any other country, is that then, the infrastructure requirements -- everything that we have under our laws, regulations, then applies to them. The infrastructure needs, I have read, cost an enormous amount of money. It is not time to grow the United States. Not today, not tomorrow. I don't see a time when we would. We're 50 states, I want to see us stay at that. When you can show me we've balanced the budget, we've got things under control, we've got immigration under control, we've got jobs in America, we can start maybe then looking. But I don't see that happening in my lifetime. Let's focus on America first. Let's focus on what's important here. And it's about putting Americans back to work. It's about putting this country right again. And I don't see that -- I don't care what state it is, or what country that wants to become part of America. It's not time, it's not going to be time. Let's focus on us, first.

Labrador, who has been amazingly stone-faced during this, breaks in.

"I just need to correct," he says. "Puerto Rico's not a country. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It's about time that we take some civics lesson and we learned what Puerto Rico is."

Ward, unbowed, gives no indication that he misspoke and knew what he was talking about: "I really don’t care what it is. It doesn't matter."

"Obviously you don't," says Labrador.

Here's the video:

By David Weigel  |  May 21, 2010; 10:45 AM ET
Categories:  2010 Election , Sarah Palin  
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