It's a term usually reserved for young people who want to swear without swearing. But on Wednesday night, Sarah Palin tried to cleverly introduce a new group of people to a slang acronym that starts with "what," crams in a "the," and ends in "fu**." But the confusing word play she employed may have done more harm than good.
Speaking with Fox's Greta Van Susteren, Palin opened her criticism of President Obama's SOTU speech with a pun. Some have come to dub the president's remarks the "WTF" speech -- short for "winning the future," a term used in the speech. That obviously worked its way back to Palin, who couldn't resist swapping the shorthand out for the much more "popular" three-letter acronym:
VAN SUSTEREN: I'm very well, but there are a lot of Americans aren't. They need jobs. What are we going to do about jobs? Do you have an idea that's any way different from what the president said last night because we're looking for all options?
PALIN: Well, speaking of last night, that was a tough speech to have to sit through and kind of try to stomach because the president is so off base in his ideas on how it is that he believes the government is going to create jobs. Obviously, government growth won't create any jobs. It's the private sector that can create the jobs.
And his theme last night in the Speaker of the House was the "WTF," you know, "Winning the Future." And I thought, "OK, that acronym, spot on." There were a lot of "WTF" moments throughout that speech, namely, when he made the statement, Greta, that he believed that we can't allow ourselves to, I guess, eventually become buried under a mountain of debt. That right there tells you he is so disconnected from reality! The problem is, we are buried under a mountain of debt, and jobs cannot be created by the private sector. We cannot grow and thrive and prosper as a nation when we are buried under this $14 trillion debt. [Emphasis added]
But she wasn't done:
VAN SUSTEREN: Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin is still with us. And Governor, last night there was a lot of discussion about the Sputnik moment that the president talked about. Do you agree with him? Do you -- and is this our moment?
PALIN: That was another one of those WTF moments, when he so often repeated this Sputnik moment that he would aspire Americans to celebrate. And he needs to remember that what happened back then with the former communist USSR and their victory in that race to space, yes, they won, but they also incurred so much debt at the time that it resulted in the inevitable collapse of the Soviet Union.
Media Matters, the Huffington Post, ABC, the Washington Post, USA Today, and other outlets have picked up on Palin's pun. And if her goal was securing headlines, she's sure accomplished that.
But for someone in her position, who's thinking of convincing the country to put her in the nation's top office, a cheeky joke used by high school and college-aged kids wasn't all that presidential.