Palin fires back at leaks questioning her smarts

Republican vice-presidential nominee Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin waves to the crowd after Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain delivered his concession speech at their election night rally in Phoenix, November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin fired back on Friday against post-election claims by aides to Republican presidential candidate John McCain that she thought Africa was a country, not a continent, calling the anonymous sources “jerks.”

Palin, McCain’s running mate in their unsuccessful White House campaign, told CNN the allegation “is not true.” She said the leaks could have come from people who helped her with preparation for her debate against Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden.

She said she remembered having conversations during debate preparation about Africa and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

A Fox News report cited unidentified campaign sources who said Palin did not know Africa was a continent and could not name the three countries in NAFTA -- the United States, Canada and Mexico.

“I think if there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA or about the continent versus the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context, and that is cruel and mean-spirited, it’s immature, it’s unprofessional, and those guys are jerks,” Palin said.

It’s not fair and it’s not right,” she said.

She also described accusations that she spent exorbitant amounts of money on clothes for the campaign as “sexist.”

Reporting by Karey Wutkowski; Editing by Peter Cooney