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Palin, bridge to nowhere and earmarks. Memo from the RNC

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All: Please see memo setting the record straight on Governor Palin, Barack Obama and earmarks. Thanks.



TO: Interested Parties
RE: Smear Machine Rolls On: Governor Palin And Earmarks
DATE: September 10, 2008

"Gov. Palin recently cancelled the Gravina Island Bridge near Ketchikan that would have connected the Alaska mainland with Gravina Island (population: 50)."
-- Alaska Democratic Party

Over the last few days, the Obama campaign has politically maneuvered to attack Governor Sarah Palin for killing a controversial project -- the "Bridge to Nowhere." This maneuvering has been skillful in light of Barack Obama's record of requesting nearly $1 billion in earmarks and actually voting to support the "Bridge to Nowhere" himself. It is no wonder that the Obama campaign would seek to distort the facts because Governor Palin is someone who will stand in the way of Barack Obama's wasteful earmark spending habits.

Please find the facts below:

· Despite the Obama campaign's claims, Governor Palin consistently opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere" once she was in office and officially stopped it. In December 2006, Governor Palin proposed her first budget for Alaska which included no state funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere." As she said at the time, "We have a limited pot of money, of course, and we need to make wise, sensible choices." In a report prepared by her transition team, the "Bridge to Nowhere" was criticized "as a severe drain on resources." Furthermore, the report concluded that the State's transportation plan relied too heavily on federal earmarks. The final 2007 budget contained no state funding for the "Bridge to Nowhere." In 2007, Governor Palin killed the bridge project.

· The Democrats' claim that the project was only canceled after federal funding dried up is also wrong. The money was left with the state to decide whether to spend money on the "Bridge to Nowhere" or other projects. Governor Palin could have decided to spend money on the "Bridge to Nowhere" but instead canceled the project.

· Congressional Quarterly: "It Is Not Inaccurate For Palin To Say She 'Stopped The Bridge To Nowhere.'" "She ended up firmly against it. And while there may have been other contributing factors, it is not inaccurate for Palin to say she 'stopped the Bridge to Nowhere.'" (Jonathan Allen, "Four Things You Need To Know About The 'Bridge To Nowhere,'" CQ, 9/9/08)

· Non-Partisan PolitiFact.com: "It's True That On Sept. 21, 2007, Palin Officially Killed The Project." (St. Petersburg Times/CQ's PolitiFact.com, "On Support For The Bridge To Nowhere," Politifact.com)

· Even According To The Alaska Democrat Party, Governor Palin Killed The "Bridge to Nowhere." Before they switched their website, the Alaska Democrat Party said, "Gov. Palin recently cancelled the Gravina Island Bridge near Ketchikan that would have connected the Alaska mainland with Gravina Island (population: 50)."

· Of all the presidential candidates, Barack Obama has the longest track record of supporting the "Bridge to Nowhere" -- he supported it before Sarah Palin even ran for governor. In 2005, Barack Obama voted for the final Highway Reauthorization Bill that included $223 million for the "Bridge to Nowhere." Unlike John McCain who instantly highlighted the "Bridge to Nowhere" in a press release the day the bill was passed, Barack Obama did not have the political courage to stand up to wasteful earmarks and only did when he started to run for president. Barack Obama's most egregious support for the "Bridge to Nowhere" came in October 2005 when he voted against stripping $125 million in funding from the bridge to fund rebuilding a bridge in New Orleans. When Governor Palin was presented with a similar choice, she chose to kill the bridge. When Barack Obama had to choose, he voted to build the bridge.

· Governor Palin ordered her administration to cut down on the number of federal earmark requests. In December 2007, Governor Palin order her administration to seek fewer congressional earmarks. Governor Palin did this recognizing that the state needed to improve its credibility after several scandalous earmarks such as the "Bridge to Nowhere." As Governor Palin's budget director said, "We really want to skinny it down." Governor Palin directed that earmark requests be made only out of compelling need and if they have a strong national purpose. As the Anchorage Daily News wrote at the time, Governor Palin's order is "appropriate and realistic" and "prudent."

· Earmark reform has been a leading source of tension between Governor Palin and Alaska's Congressional Delegation. In March 2008, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) -- known for his ability to bring back the pork -- said that Governor Palin's earmark efforts had led to questions about why the Alaska delegation was seeking "things that state doesn't want." As Senator Stevens said, "It is a difficult thing to get over right now, the feeling that we don't represent Alaska because Alaska doesn't want earmarks."

· Under Governor Palin, the number of earmarks requested by the Governor's Office has fallen by $150 million. From $350 million in earmarks requested by her predecessor, the total amount of earmarks requested by Governor Palin's office has fallen to $197 million. It is IMPORTANT to note that several news reports have confused earmark requests from Senator Ted Stevens and earmark requests that originated from the governor's office. Some news reports have attributed all of the earmark requests from Alaska and its congressional delegation to Governor Palin. This is wrong and purposely deceiving.

· As Alaska's chief executive, Governor Palin has vetoed nearly $500 million in wasteful spending. In 2007, Governor Palin vetoed $231 million in government projects in what the Anchorage Daily News said "may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history." As she said at the time, "We need to live within our means. ... Even though we have a surplus, that doesn't warrant a spending spree on an unlimited credit card." In 2008, Governor Palin vetoed $268 million in government projects.

· While Governor Palin was cutting wasteful projects, Barack Obama was requesting nearly $1 billion. In just three years in office, Barack Obama requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks - over a million dollars per working day. Barack Obama's pork record has earned him the ire of Citizens Against Government Waste and the Club for Growth.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Governor Palin Ordered Her Administration To Reduce The Number Of Earmark Requests

Governor Palin: "We Cannot And Must Not Rely So Heavily On Federal Government Earmarks." "Palin's speech was the big event of the first day, with many legislators looking to hear where the governor wants to take the state in the coming year. Palin said Alaska must become more self-sufficient and not so reliant on money steered home by the state's congressional delegation. 'We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks,' Palin said in the speech to a joint session of the state House and Senate." (Sean Cockerham, "90-Day Session Begins," Anchorage Daily News, 1/16/08)

Governor Palin "Ordered Her Administration To Seek Fewer Congressional Earmarks." "And she has ordered her administration to seek fewer congressional earmarks after Alaska's 'Bridge to Nowhere' became a national symbol of piggish pork-barrel spending." (Steve Quinn, "Alaska Governor Shows Fearlessness," The Associated Press, 12/26/07)

· Gov. Palin's Administration Instructed State Officials To Request Far Fewer Earmarks. "The Palin administration, citing a need to improve the state's credibility, plans to ask Alaska's congressional delegation for far fewer earmarks in the coming year. 'We really want to skinny it down,' said Karen Rehfeld, Gov. Sarah Palin's budget chief. Rehfeld recently wrote a memo to all state commissioners telling them that to 'enhance the state's credibility,' federal earmark requests for money should be only for the most compelling needs. They should have a strong national purpose, Rehfeld told the commissioners, not just to fill funding gaps in the state's budget." (Sean Cockerham, "Congressional Earmarks Lose Luster For Alaska," Anchorage Daily News, 12/10/07)

· Anchorage Daily News Editorial: Called The Palin Administration's Policy For Requesting Federal Earmarks "Appropriate And Realistic." "In this new climate, the Palin administration's standards for seeking federal earmarks are appropriate and realistic. The projects should be of national significance, her budget chief says, and agencies should aggressively investigate alternatives to a congressional handout. With stricter review on the front end, Alaska projects that make the official state list should be easier to defend in the congressional process." (Editorial, "Earmarks," Anchorage Daily News, 12/15/07)

· Anchorage Daily News Editorial: The Palin Administration Is "Taking Prudent Steps" To Wean Alaska From The Federal Dime. "In this anti-earmarking climate, that kind of welfare for a rich state is not politically sustainable. The Palin administration recognizes that and is taking prudent steps to prepare for a little less generosity from Uncle Sam." (Editorial, "Earmarks," Anchorage Daily News, 12/15/07)

· The Palin Administration's Effort To Reduce Earmarks Was Part Of A "Broader Effort To Weed Out Corruption And Waste In State Government." "Although Stevens' fervor for the earmarking process does not seem to have subsided despite the increased scrutiny, state officials have cooled to the idea. Earlier this year Karen Rehfeld, GOP Gov. Sarah Palin's budget chief, issued a memorandum to state agencies directing them to reduce the number of earmark requests they made to their Congressional delegation. Rehfeld argued in the memo that belt-tightening on earmarks was needed to 'enhance the state's credibility' and is seen as part of Palin's broader effort to weed out corruption and waste in a state government that has been rocked by a series of high-profile convictions of former state lawmakers." (John Stanton, "Stevens Adds Millions In Earmarks To Omnibus," Roll Call, 12/18/07)

Under Governor Palin, The Number And Size Of Earmarks Decreased Dramatically

Under Governor Palin, The Number Of Earmarks Requested By The Governor's Office Has Fallen By $150 Million. "Palin's staff is quick to point out that the governor's office has sliced its federal requests since she took office. For the 2007 federal budget year, the administration of former Gov. Frank Murkowski submitted 63 earmark requests totaling $350 million, Palin's staff said. That slid to 52 earmarks valued at $256 million in Palin's first year. This year, the governor's office asked the delegation to help them land 31 earmarks valued at $197 million." (Erika Bolstad, "Palin's Take On Earmarks Evolving," Anchorage Daily News, 9/5/08)

· In 2008, Senator Ted Stevens Requested More Than 350 Earmarks - About 300 More Than The Governor's Office. "Stevens said he's had more than 350 earmark requests this year from Alaska -- from municipalities, school districts, advocacy groups and others. That's more than ever before, Stevens said, something which he attributed to the condition of the economy." (Sean Cockerham, "Attitude On Earmarks Upsets Stevens," Anchorage Daily News, 3/13/08)

Alaskan Senator Noted For Earmarks Blamed Governor Palin For Creating Barriers To Getting Even More Earmarks

Anchorage Daily News: "Over The Past Year, [Earmarks] Has Been The Leading Source Of Tension Between Palin And The State's Three-Member Congressional Delegation." "And over the past year, it has been the leading source of tension between Palin and the state's three-member congressional delegation. Last year, when Palin announced the state was abandoning plans for the so-called 'bridge to nowhere' in Southeast Alaska, she was met with what could kindly be described as a frosty reception from the delegation." (Erika Bolstad, "Palin's Take On Earmarks Evolving," Anchorage Daily News, 9/5/08)

In March 2008, U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) Blamed Governor Palin's "Antagonism Toward The Earmarks He Uses To Steer Federal Money To The State" As Causing Difficulties For Him In Getting Earmarks. "Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens is aggravated about what he sees as Gov. Sarah Palin's antagonism toward the earmarks he uses to steer federal money to the state. 'The fact the state has seen fit to raise the issue of earmarks and the way they handled the bridge money has led to a lot of controversy back here and comment back here about the Alaska delegation and why they seek things the state doesn't want,' Stevens said in a recent telephone interview from Washington, D.C. Stevens said antagonism from the state is hurting his ability to get money for Alaska." (Sean Cockerham, "Attitude On Earmarks Upsets Stevens," Anchorage Daily News, 3/13/08)

· Senator Stevens: "It Is A Difficult Thing To Get Over Right Now, The Feeling That We Don't Represent Alaska Because Alaska Doesn't Want Earmarks." "He said it's tough to get earmarks now, and having them criticized in Alaska makes it harder. What's needed is for the state to chip in and share the cost of projects that receive federal support, he said. 'It is a difficult thing to get over right now, the feeling that we don't represent Alaska because Alaska doesn't want earmarks,' he said." (Sean Cockerham, "Attitude On Earmarks Upsets Stevens," Anchorage Daily News, 3/13/08)

Governor Palin Has Vetoed Nearly $500 Million In Government Spending In Two Years

In 2007, Governor Palin Vetoed $231 Million In Government Projects. "Gov. Sarah Palin vetoed nearly a quarter-billion dollars in projects from a proposed $1.8 billion state capital budget on Friday, a move that angered some lawmakers who hoped to fund hundreds of district projects with surplus revenue from high oil prices." (Sabra Ayres, "Palin Trims $231 Million From Budget," Anchorage Daily News, 6/30/07)

· Governor Palin: "We need to live within our means ... Even though we have a surplus, that doesn't warrant a spending spree on an unlimited credit card. Now is the time to save for the future." (Steve Quinn, "Palin Cuts $231 Million From Capital Budget," The Associated Press, 6/30/07)

· Anchorage Daily News: "Palin's vetoes, about $231 million, may be the biggest single-year line-item veto total in state history." (Sabra Ayres, "Palin Trims $231 Million From Budget," Anchorage Daily News, 6/30/07)

In 2008, Governor Palin Vetoed $268 Million In Government Spending - About 10 Percent of Spending For Hometown Projects. "Gov. Sarah Palin on Friday axed about 10 percent of the spending that state legislators approved for hometown projects. This is the second year in a row Palin vetoed projects dear to legislators. She said lawmakers stuffed the $2.7 billion state capital budget too full. ... Palin's $268 million in vetoes hit dozens of projects across the state. She reduced funding for things like artificial turf at Service and Palmer high schools, expansion of Covenant House for homeless and runaway youths in Anchorage and support of the group Arctic Power's lobbying in Washington, D.C., to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development. Palin eliminated other projects entirely. That includes study of a second bridge between Juneau and Douglas Island, a Cook Inlet Housing Authority community center for seniors, Ketchikan Little League batting cages and big utility projects through the Railbelt Energy Funds." (Sean Cockerham, "Palin's Veto Ax Lops $268 Million From Budget," Anchorage Daily News, 5/24/08)

Barack Obama Has Requested Nearly $1 Billion In Earmarks In Just Three Years In Office

During His Time In The U.S. Senate, Barack Obama Requested More Than 300 Earmarks Totaling Nearly $1 Billion. (Obama Senate Website, 9/6/08)

Citizens Against Government Waste Gave Barack Obama A Lifetime Rating Of 22 Out Of 100. (Citizens Against Government Waste, "CCAGW Challenges Presidential Candidates On Earmarks," Press Release, 12/27/07)

The Club For Growth Gave Barack Obama A Score Of 33 Percent For His Votes Against Anti-Pork Amendments. "[T]he Club for Growth released its 2007 Senate RePORK Card, compiling a scorecard of all senators' votes on fifteen anti-pork amendments throughout 2007. ... Obama (D-IL) Score: 33% Ratio: 2/6." (Club For Growth, "The Club's 2007 Senate RePORK Card," www.clubforgrowth.org, 11/5/07)

In Office, Governor Palin Would Not Fund The Project And Eventually Canceled It

PolitiFact.com: "It's True That On Sept. 21, 2007, Palin Officially Killed The Project." "It's true that on Sept. 21, 2007, Palin officially killed the project." (St. Petersburg Times/CQ's PolitiFact.com, "On Support For The Bridge To Nowhere," Politifact.com)

Congressional Quarterly: "It Is Not Inaccurate For Palin To Say She 'Stopped The Bridge To Nowhere.'" "She ended up firmly against it. And while there may have been other contributing factors, it is not inaccurate for Palin to say she 'stopped the Bridge to Nowhere.'" (Jonathan Allen, "Four Things You Need To Know About The 'Bridge To Nowhere,'" CQ, 9/9/08)

In December 2006, Governor Palin Proposed Her First Budget Which Included No Funds For The "Bridge To Nowhere" Saying "We Need To Make Wise, Sensible Choices." "Gov. Sarah Palin proposed a spending plan Friday that would increase the state operating budget by 5 percent while shaking the list of publicly funded construction projects down to the bare minimum. ... Palin's budget doesn't include money for mega projects that she supported as a candidate, such as the controversial Gravina Island bridge in Ketchikan. Asked if she'd changed her mind about the project, Palin said she will hash out where the bridge fits on the state's list of priorities with the help of the Legislature and public. 'We have a limited pot of money, of course, and we need to make wise, sensible choices,' she said." (Kyle Hopkins, "Budget Plan Calls For Belt-Tightening," Anchorage Daily News, 12/16/06)

In February 2007, Governor Palin's Transition Team Criticized The "Bridge To Nowhere" Project Concluding That It Was "A Severe Drain On Resources That Would Otherwise Be Assigned To Heavily Used Commercial And Passenger Routes." "Both the Juneau road and the Ketchikan Gravina Island Bridge project, known by its detractors as the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' drew criticism in the report. 'Statewide, these two projects are seen as a severe drain on resources that would otherwise be assigned to heavily used commercial and passenger routes,' the report said. The team said federal earmarks in Congressional appropriations trump all other priorities, including those in the State Transportation Improvement Plan, and the state suffers as a result." (Pat Forgey, "Palin Team Sees Low Morale In Southeast," Juneau Empire, 2/6/07)

The 2007 Budget Included No State Funding For The "Bridges To Nowhere." "The Alaska Senate on Friday tentatively approved spending $1.6 billion on capital projects in the next budget year, including about $460 million from the state treasury. ... Conspicuously absent from the 143-page document is any new money for three of last year's most contentious projects, the Juneau road and the Gravina and Knik bridges. The two bridges, which received funding as Congressional earmarks, came to national attention after critics of federal pork-barrel spending dubbed them 'Bridges to Nowhere.' Community leaders in Ketchikan are currently reviewing alternatives to the $400 million dollar bridge project. The capital budget includes $5.7 million to replace the vehicle ferry that currently serves the island." (Anne Sutton, "Senate Passes Capital Budget With Little Debate," The Associated Press, 5/12/07)

In September 2007, Governor Palin Ordered A Halt To The "Bridge To Nowhere.". "Gov. Sarah Palin ordered state transportation officials Friday to abandoned the 'bridge to nowhere' project that became a nationwide symbol of federal pork-barrel spending. The $398 million bridge would have connected Ketchikan, on one island in southeastern Alaska, to its airport on another nearby island." (Steve Quinn, "Alaska State Government Abandons Ketchikan Bridge Project, Dubbed 'Bridge To Nowhere'," The Associated Press, 9/21/07)

· On September 19, 2007, The Alaska Department Of Transportation Released A Statement Saying Governor Palin Ordered A Halt To The Bridge Project. "Governor Sarah Palin today directed the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to look for the most fiscally responsible alternative for access to the Ketchikan airport and Gravina Island instead of proceeding any further with the proposed $398 million bridge." (Alaska Department Of Transportation & Public Facilities, "Gravina Access Project Redirected," Press Release, 9/19/07)

· "Palin Pulled The Plug On The Project Last Fall. The Bridge Would Have Connected The City Of Ketchikan To Its Airport On A Nearby Island In Southeast Alaska." (Mary Pemberton, "Palin Accused Of Using Bridge To Gain Stature," The Associated Press, 8/31/08)

· Governor Palin: The Bridge To Nowhere "Is Not The Answer" To Reach Ketchikan. "'Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer,' Palin said in a news release." (Steve Quinn, "Alaska State Government Abandons Ketchikan Bridge Project, Dubbed 'Bridge To Nowhere'," The Associated Press, 9/21/07)

· Governor Palin "Ruffled Feathers" By Canceling The "Bridge To Nowhere." "Palin ruffled feathers when she announced -- without giving the delegation advance notice -- that the state was killing the Ketchikan bridge to Gravina Island, site of the airport and a few dozen residents." (Sean Cockerham, "Attitude On Earmarks Upsets Stevens," Anchorage Daily News, 3/13/08)

The Alaska Democrat Party Credited Governor Palin With Killing The Bridge To Nowhere

Alaska Democrat Party: Governor Palin Killed The Bridge To Nowhere. "Conservative bloggers point out that in their campaign against Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, Alaska Democrats gave credit to Gov. Palin for helping to kill the Bridge to Nowhere. 'Gov. Sarah Palin said the $398 million bridge was $329 million short of full funding, and only $36 million in federal funds were set aside for it,' the Democrats say. 'She said it was clear Congress had little interest in spending any more money for it and that the state had higher priorities.' On another page the Dems say, 'Gov. Palin recently cancelled the Gravina Island Bridge near Ketchikan that would have connected the Alaska mainland with Gravina Island (population: 50).'" (Jake Tapper, "Fighting A Different Alaska Republican, Alaska Dems Credit Palin With Killing Bridge To Nowhere," ABC News, 9/8/08)

At The Time, The Media Agreed That Governor Palin Had Killed The Bridge To Nowhere

Chicago Tribune: "Governor Cancels 'Bridge To Nowhere.'" ("Governor Cancels 'Bridge To Nowhere,'" Chicago Tribune, 9/22/07)

CNN's Kitty Pilgrim: "A project championed by Senator Stevens that became a national symbol of congressional excess has been abandoned by the governor of Alaska. Governor Sarah Palin said the so-called bridge to nowhere is not the answer to the transportation problems of southeastern Alaska. The bridge had a price tag of almost $400 million. That is almost half-a-billion dollars." (CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," 9/21/07)

Los Angeles Times: "'Bridge To Nowhere' Is Canceled." ("'Bridge To Nowhere' Is Canceled," Los Angeles Times, 9/22/07)

National Journal: "Alaska State Government Abandons So-Called Bridge To Nowhere." ("Alaska State Governor Abandons So-Called Bridge To Nowhere," National Journal's CongressDaily, 9/21/07)

Newsweek: Governor Palin "Canceled" The Bridge To Nowhere. "In an interview with Newsweek, Palin said it's time for Alaska to 'grow up' and end its reliance on pork-barrel spending. Shortly after taking office, Palin canceled funding for the 'Bridge to Nowhere,' a $330 million project that Stevens helped champion in Congress." (Karen Breslau, "Now This Is Woman's Work," Newsweek, 10/15/07)

The Washington Post: "Alaska Governor Cancels 'Bridge To Nowhere' Project." ("Alaska Governor Cancels 'Bridge To Nowhere' Project," The Washington Post, 9/22/07)

Barack Obama Has A Long Track Record Of Supporting The "Bridge To Nowhere"

In 2005, Barack Obama Voted For The Conference Report For The Highway Reauthorization Bill. "Adoption of the conference report on the bill that would bring the total authorization for federal-aid highway, mass transit, safety and research programs, including fiscal 2004 funding, to $286.5 billion through 2009." (H.R. 3, CQ Vote #220: Adopted 91-4: R 48-4; D 42-0; I 1-0, 7/29/05, Obama Voted Yea)

· John McCain Voted Nay. (H.R. 3, CQ Vote #220: Adopted 91-4: R 48-4; D 42-0; I 1-0, 7/29/05, McCain Voted Nay)

· The Highway Bill Included The $223 Million Bridge To Ketchikan, AK. "Lawmakers packed $24 billion in special projects into the transportation bill that finally passed Congress yesterday, including $5.9 million for a Vermont snowmobile trail and $3 million for a documentary about Alaska infrastructure. ... One of the bill's biggest winners is Young's home state. It is awarded $941 million for 119 special projects, according to an analysis by the government watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. The group found that Young helped to secure $231 million for a bridge in Anchorage to be named Don Young's Way; $223 million for a bridge to Ketchikan; and $15 million for a Juneau access road, dubbed the Black Ice Highway by group analyst Erich Zimmermann because 'that's all you'll see in the winter if this project is built.'" (Shailagh Murray, "After 2-Year Wait, Passage Comes Easily," The Washington Post, 7/30/05)

· John McCain Noted That The Bill Included The "Bridge To Nowhere." "This section contains bridge construction or improvement projects, totaling $100,000,000 per fiscal year. These include: $12,500,000 per fiscal year for the Golden Gate Bridge; $18,750,000 per fiscal year for the construction of a bridge joining the Island of Gravina to the community of Ketchikan in Alaska; and $12,500,000 per fiscal year to the State of Missouri for construction of a structure over the Mississippi River to connect the city of St. Louis, Missouri, to the State of Illinois. The Gravina Island bridge is the infamous Bridge to Nowhere because the total population of the island is 50." (John McCain, "Statement Of Senator John McCain On Conference Report Accompanying H.R. 3, Safetea-Lu," Press Release, 7/29/08)

In 2005, Barack Obama Voted For The Senate Version Of The Highway Reauthorization Bill. "Passage of the bill that would bring the total authorization for federal-aid highway, mass transit, safety and research programs, including fiscal 2004 funds, to $295 billion through 2009. The bill includes $234 billion for highway programs and $54 billion for public transportation programs. It would increase the rate of return to states on their Highway Trust Fund contributions to 92 percent by 2009. It also would direct the Transportation secretary to notify state and local governments that receive federal funds of a new law related to minority-owned small businesses that compete for federal contracts such as federal highway projects." (H.R. 3, CQ Vote #125: Passed 89-11: R 46-9; D 42-2; I 1-0, 5/17/05, Obama Voted Yea)

· John McCain Voted Nay. (H.R. 3, CQ Vote #125: Passed 89-11: R 46-9; D 42-2; I 1-0, 5/17/05, McCain Voted Nay)

Barack Obama Voted Against An Amendment That Would Transfer $125 Million Of The "Bridge To Nowhere" Earmark Funds To Rebuilding A Bridge In New Orleans In The Fiscal 2006 Transportation Appropriations Bill. "Coburn, R-Okla., amendment that would transfer $125 million in funding from the Ketchikan-Gravina and Knik Arm bridge projects in Alaska to the reconstruction of the Twin Spans Bridge connecting New Orleans and Slidell, La. It would place remaining Alaska bridge funds into a general highway fund for Alaska." (H.R. 3058, CQ Vote #262: Rejected 15-82: R 11-43; D 4-38; I 0-1, 10/20/05, Obama Voted Nay)


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12 Comments

It is fair to compare the records of Palin and Obama on earmarks...but was and is disingenuous the way the campaign used the Bridge to Nowhere when Palin supported it until she saw that it wasn't going to work. The Republicans have no problem whatsoever with being sleazy and disingenuous in their marketing. Factcheck.org is full of examples of misrepresentations...very few for Obama.
If Palin was great governor, fine...she should stay governor and take some time to learn about the world. Three months ago she had no opinion about Iraq other that the war was "God's will." But no matter...you gave us George W Bush after all and look at the state of this country. NO wonder you want someone who's into the endtimes...they're coming fast thanks to Republicans liars, crooks and false leaders. Terrorists attacked from without, Republicans are destroying us from within.

It is fair to compare the records of Palin and Obama on earmarks...but was and is disingenuous the way the campaign used the Bridge to Nowhere when Palin supported it until she saw that it wasn't going to work. The Republicans have no problem whatsoever with being sleazy and disingenuous in their marketing. Factcheck.org is full of examples of misrepresentations...very few for Obama.
If Palin was great governor, fine...she should stay governor and take some time to learn about the world. Three months ago she had no opinion about Iraq other that the war was "God's will." But no matter...you gave us George W Bush after all and look at the state of this country. NO wonder you want someone who's into the endtimes...they're coming fast thanks to Republicans liars, crooks and false leaders. Terrorists attacked from without, Republicans are destroying us from within.

For all the women in America who think Sarah Palin isn't the right choice for vice president there is a web site to sign a petition -www.womensaynopalin@gmail.com. Women of all ages, religions and regions have signed this, check this out.

At the moment the Obama campaign is playing a dangerous game of gotcha, since the record shows both Obama and Biden to be solidly behind the most visible symbol of wasteful spending in Washington. Bridge to Nowhere originally appeared in the now-infamous bill of 2005. John Mccain stood in apposition along with three other lonely voices for fiscal responsibility and Sen. Obama and Biden both voted for the bill and its bridge of ill repute. 2006 the then governor of Alaska, Murkowski last budget included a $91 million down payment on the bridge. People assumed the new Governor Palin in 2007 would buckle under pressure from Sen. Stevens, and built the bridge to nowhere, she did not and pulled the plug on the bridge on Sept. 20, 2007.

Why did you print this as is? Did you check any of their facts/statements before running it?

A lot of it is misleading and false crap.

Lynn, wow----we've gone from George Bush, Iraq and needing more jobs, as the democrats message to Sarah Palin instead. And every rumor on her has been rebuked, by the way. Troopergate is turning out her former in-law state trooper is a guy who made death threats v. her father and tasered her 11 year old nephew. He should be fired ! The library and book-ban story turns out she wasn't even mayor no longer when it allegedly occurred. Her expense acct. was such she used less money in her entire time (she lives 600 miles from the capital) then Blagojevich has spent flying home all the time from Springfield. And 80% less then her predecessors. And as far as 'the bridge to nowhere', I say be careful. One, she stopped it. Two, what happens if comparisons are mentioned. You know, Byrd's highways to nowhere in W. Virginia and Massachusett's "Big Dig", which were never stopped. This making Palin the focus of the campaign could backfire. Especially when the democrats have as their VP candidate a guy twice-caught for plagerizing and taking more from lobbyists then anybody.

The argument isn't that Palin killed the "Bridge to Nowhere", it is that she supported it before she was against it! Also, even though she killed it, she still kept the money! She just reallocated it to projects such as the "Highway to Nowhere" which is an even bigger waste of money! Barack is not denying that he ever requested earmarks for Illinois, but that Palin's "maverick" status against earmarks is a flawed argument seeing that her $27 million dollar earmark meant $295 per citizen, whereas Obamas total for earmarks equalled about $25 per person. That is a pretty big gap per capita! Also, we are all being naive if we believe that 99.999% of all politicians don't try to get federal earmarks for their constituents. How do you think projects like the Dan Ryan Expressway get built without federal funds. Don't become a hypocrite much like the McBush-Palin ticket!

Fact Check: Palin and the Bridge to Nowhere
3 days ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A new ad from John McCain's presidential campaign contends his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, "stopped the Bridge to Nowhere." In fact, Palin was for the infamous bridge before she was against it

THE SPIN: Called "Original Mavericks," the ad asserts the Republican senator has fought pork-barrel spending, the drug industry and fellow Republicans, reforming Washington in the process, and credits Palin with similarly changing Alaska by taking on the oil industry, challenging her own party and ditching the bridge project that became a national symbol of wasteful spending.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton came back with fighting words. "Despite being discredited over and over again by numerous news organizations, the McCain campaign continues to repeat the lie that Sarah Palin stopped the Bridge to Nowhere," he said.

Burton said McCain would merely carry on supporting President Bush's economic, health, education, energy and foreign policies, and that means "anything but change."

THE FACTS: Palin did abandon plans to build the nearly $400 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport. But she made her decision after the project had become an embarrassment to the state, after federal dollars for the project were pulled back and diverted to other uses in Alaska, and after she had appeared to support the bridge during her campaign for governor.

McCain and Palin together have told a broader story about the bridge that is misleading. She is portrayed as a crusader for the thrifty use of tax dollars who turned down an offer from Washington to build an expensive bridge of little value to the state.

"I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere," she said in her convention speech last week.

That's not what she told Alaskans when she announced a year ago that she was ordering state transportation officials to ditch the project. Her explanation then was that it would be fruitless to try to persuade Congress to come up with the money.

"It's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island," Palin said then.

Palin indicated during her 2006 campaign for governor that she supported the bridge, but was wishy-washy about it. She told local officials that money appropriated for the bridge "should remain available for a link, an access process as we continue to evaluate the scope and just how best to just get this done."

She vowed to defend Southeast Alaska "when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that's so negative" — something that McCain was busy doing at the time, as a fierce critic of the bridge.

Even so, she called the bridge design "grandiose" during her campaign and said something more modest might be appropriate.

Palin's reputation for standing up to entrenched interests in Alaska is genuine. Her self-description as a leader who "championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress" is harder to square with the facts.

The governor has cut back on pork-barrel project requests, but in her two years in office, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. And as mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million.

By Calvin Woodward.

“Governor Palin ordered her administration to cut down on the number of federal earmark requests. In December 2007, Governor Palin order her administration to seek fewer congressional earmarks. Governor Palin did this recognizing that the state needed to improve its credibility.” This is not a statement of fiscal reform advocacy; it is a statement that recognizes that the state of Alaska has a big PR problem that might be damaging to future earmark requests.

'We can and must continue to develop our economy, because we cannot and must not rely so heavily on federal government earmarks,'. This is not a statement of advocacy against earmarks; it is a statement of the reality that earmarks will no longer be readily forthcoming for every request made by Alaska.

"In this anti-earmarking climate, that kind of welfare for a rich state is not politically sustainable. This statement by Palin supports the conclusions above.

Governor Palin: "We need to live within our means ... Even though we have a surplus, that doesn't warrant a spending spree on an unlimited credit card. Now is the time to save for the future." This does not say that Palin advocates for less spending; it says, “we will spend the money later”.

In 2008, Governor Palin Vetoed $268 Million In Government Spending. How many governors could not claim to have vetoed millions of dollars approved by their state legislators? This is an empty claim as proof of Plain’s fiscal conservative.

Your attempt to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse or, dare I use another cliché, put lipstick on a pig is weak at best. You have done nothing more than create a page of talking points for those who do not think critically. These are half truths (which makes them lies in straight talk). You are a political hack who has no conscience.

In her two years in office as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million (although not all of it earmarked) in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.

As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks totaling $27 million for the town of 5,469 (2000 census) people at that time. That would be approximately $4,937 for every person in Wasilla. That doesn’t sound like much but try running the total if every city in the USA had requested the same amount per capita in 2000: $1,389,273,000,000,(1 trillion, 389 billion…dollars).

As for your statement that Obama and Bidden SUPPORTED the “Bridge to Nowhere" because they voted affirmative on the Highway Reauthorization Bill that included $223 million for the "Bridge to Nowhere”, this assertion is so ludicrous as to be laughable if it did not show such utter disdain for the truth about the reality of voting on a bill that contains hundreds of provisions. Are you ignorant or just trying to lie to those who do not understand the process? (no need to answer, that was a rhetorical question).

Palin, Cheney and Facts

VP Cheney repeated public insistence that Iraq had a role in 9/11 — even after both American and foreign intelligence services found that unlikely.

Palin repeated public insistence that she said "No but no thanks" to the congress on "bridge to nowhere" — even after several investigations showed inaccuracy.

...and many other claims.

Not a good sign!

Man, I just took at a peek on youtube about McCain lies and there are hundreds of videos of McCain saying one thing and later saying something else. When I checked google news, there seems to be a mounting of evidence in print as well. And his ads on Obama are way out of bounds. Worse, the lies continue in a day and age when it is easy to research the net to see who is telling the truth and who is not. McCain is hanging himself. He should try discussing the issues.

I must admit, McCain is good...I believed him...but the evidence is too compelling and his last two ads on lipstick and sex education on Obama turned me off completely. Those ads compelled me to research further and what I found was shocking. These type of tactics seem to be done by the type of man who is comfortable with lying. My eight year old son has more integrity than this man. Even if such things were true (which I was able to find the truth by searching the net) a man of honor would never use such tactics. I'm sure he was a POW, but I'm starting to wonder how much he embellished that story after the mounting evidence of lies he has told during this campaign. This guy in the White House would be a disaster.

McCain seems like the real actor between him and Obama since his lying is so convincing, or this tells me after 26 years in congress what a typical politician is like. I guess McCain is right, we do need to clean up Washington, starting with him.

Since the Republican party backs all of McCain's lies and after years of distortion from Bush, I'm starting to see what the Republican platform stands for. Twenty-three years in the military, I always voted Republican, but these type of Republican tactics are not honorable and the American people deserves better. If you can't prove it, the Republican policy is to make it up OR tell half truths OR distort the truth OR cherry pick your words OR, etc, etc, etc. Why would I want such a party to represent my family using such tactics? I hope no father ever teaches his son this is how to win. Disgraceful!

An excellent video is here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IH0xzsogzAk

I keep hearing that the "Bridge to Nowhere" connects Ketchikan and Gravina Island, population 50. It seems that no one mentions that the bridge isn't for the Gravina residents, most of whom live there because they like the isolation. The point is that Ketchikan's airport, served by Alaska Airlines, is located on Gravina.

To catch a flight out of Ketchikan, one must drive or walk onto a ferry and cross the channel and then dock at the airport. When a guest arrives by plane, they must take the ferry to Ketchikan. Since this is Alaska there are times when the waters are very rough (and times when the ferries are not allowed to cross in extreme storms).

If one walks onto the ferry, one has to haul their luggage from the ferry dock up a steep hill to the terminal

I am not for or against the bridge, but as someone who lived in Ketchikan many years, I do want the information to at least be accurate.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 11, 2008 8:26 AM.

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