Sarah Palin said her comments were taken out of context
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has hit back at critics who said she thought Africa was a country not a continent, calling them "jerks".
Anonymous Republican Party aides cited in a Fox News report also said she did not know the three members of the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).
Mrs Palin said her comments on Africa and Nafta were taken out of context.
She also said she had not asked for the expensive clothes bought for her failed White House bid with John McCain.
Mrs Palin said the leaks about Africa and Nafta must have come from Republican campaign aides who helped her prepare for her debate against Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden.
"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," she told reporters in her home state of Alaska.
Palin also spoke about her campaign wardrobe and women in politics
"It's mean-spirited, it's immature, it's unprofessional, and those guys are jerks."
She said it was "cowardly" of the sources not to reveal themselves.
She also faced down accusations that she spent huge sums of money on clothes for the campaign.
"I never asked for anything more than a Diet Dr Pepper once in a while."
The Republican National Committee (RNC) spent more than $150,000 (£96,000) on a designer wardrobe and beauty treatments for Mrs Palin after she was chosen as John McCain's running mate.
"Those are the RNC's clothes. They're not my clothes," she said. "I never forced anybody to buy anything."
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