One of the big claims that Senator John McCain has made has been that Governor Palin is a big reformer.Â She in fact stood up to some Republicans on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, but assertions that she somehow opposed the "Bridge to Nowhere" and wasn't interested in earmarks for Alaska seem somehow inconsistent with the facts.
On Fox today, Senator McCain had this to say about Governor Palin:
MCCAIN: Well, the fact is, I've been watching her. I mean, look, what she's been doing in Alaska - let's have some straight talk - has affected the representation in Washington, D.C.
We've fought against, frankly, the same adversaries, the same challenges.
We couldn't get the bridge to nowhere out, although we tried - people like Tom Colburn...
WALLACE: Which was the big pork barrel project.
MCCAIN: Yes, the pork barrel project - a $233 million bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it.
She, as governor, stood up and said, "We don't need it. And if we need it, we'll pay for it ourselves."
Now, that's - that's guts.
I saw that, and I said, this - this is what we need in Washington.
But is this really what Palin did as Governor?Â We are talking 'straight talk' aren't we Senator McCain?
As reported in USA Today:
"While running for governor in 2006, though, Palin backed federal funding for the infamous bridge, which McCain helped make it a symbol of pork barrel excess.
And as mayor of the small town of Wasilla from 1996 to 2002, Palin also hired a Washington lobbying firm that helped secure $8 million in congressionally directed spending projects, known as earmarks, according to public spending records compiled by the watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste and lobbying documents.
Wasilla's lobbying firm was headed by Steven Silver - a former chief of staff to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, a key proponent of the bridge project. "
"We need to come to the defense of 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," Palin said in August 2006, according to the Ketchikan Daily News.
The Anchorage Daily News quoted her in October 2006 as saying she would continue state funding for the bridge. "The window is now, while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist," she said.
Asked why she supported the bridge, Palin's communications director Bill McAlister said, "It was never at the top of her priority list, and in fact the project isn't necessarily dead ... there's still the potential for improved ferry service or even a bridge of a less costly design."
She changed her mind, he said, when "she saw that Alaska was being perceived as taking from the country and not giving, and that impression bothered her and she wants to change it. ... I think that Sarah Palin is someone who has the courage to reevaluate situations as they developed."
Wasilla, which in 2007 had 9,780 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, hired a lobbyist in 2000, public records show, paying him about $36,000 per year. In 2001, Palin was quoted in a local newspaper crediting Silver with helping secure federal funding for Wasilla.
Congressional spending items for Wasilla during Palin's term included $1 million for a regional dispatch center and $1.5 million for water and sewer improvements, according to Citizens Against Government Waste."
So really this isn't about straight talk.Â This is about a Governor who was FOR the bridge before she was AGAINST the bridge.Â Â She isn't about a reformer who is opposed to 'earmarks'.Â She definitely has some positive points to her slim resume.
But let's stick to the facts, shall we?Â Please Senator McCain---we miss that old true straight talk instead of all this 'spin'.