Sarah Palin happily displays her - bridge to nowhere T-shirt - but denies at GOP convention that she ever supported it. Now that she's a national politician, Sarah Palin says she told Congress "Thanks, but no thanks" when it came to the pork barrel bridge to nowhere.
It's a lovely story, but the idea that a sitting governor would turn down free money is an absolute joke. Such a thing never happens, and in this case, it did not happen.
Remember, when the Bridge to Nowhere was still a feasible option, Sarah Palin not only supported it, but she campaigned for it. In fact, Palin's eventual opposition to the Bridge to Nowhere only occured after Congress had already effectively killed it off.
But she still kept the money that Congress had appropriated for use on Alaska's transportation projects.
There's nothing wrong with what she did. The only thing that's wrong is that she's lying about it now.
Basically, what we're left with is two options:
John McCain is naive and gullible and actually believed Sarah Palin's false story that she had been against the fabled Bridge to Nowhere from the beginning; or
John McCain thinks voters are naive and gullible and is willfully spreading Sarah Palin's false story that she had been against the fabled Bridge to Nowhere from the beginning.
Whichever option it is, the fact remains that the basic story just isn't true. Here's some of the reporting that debunks the McCain-Palin fable:
Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.
The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.
"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.
"I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere," Palin said Friday in Ohio, using the critics' dismissive name of the project. "'If our state wanted a bridge,' I said, 'we'd build it ourselves.'"
While running for governor in 2006, though, Palin backed federal funding for the infamous bridge, which McCain helped make 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.
In the fall of 2005, Congress removed the language specifically directing the money to the bridge, but it kept the money in place and left it up to Alaska to decide which transportation projects the state would like to spend it on.
By the time Palin pulled the plug on the Gravina bridge project in September 2007, much of the federal funding for the bridge had already been diverted to other transportation projects. The bridge would cost $398 million, Palin said then, and Alaska was $329 million short.
"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," Palin said. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island."
Finally, after the bridge failed, Palin complained:
"Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here."
[/IMG]ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech accepting the vice-presidential nomination may have been well-received, but the man at the top of the Republican ticket must still persuade voters that he’s capable of addressing their economic anxieties, said Karl Rove, the former White House deputy chief of staff.
Former White House advisor Karl Rove speaks at Convention Conversations presented by Yahoo!, Politico and Pioneer Press. Topic: Can the GOP Compete in an Era of Rising Diversity?
“The most important thing for McCain to do is find a way to show a comfort with the kitchen table issues,” Rove said. “I think that’s the biggest challenge in tonight’s speech.”
While McCain often seems most comfortable discussing issues related to defense and national security, the man known as “the architect” of President Bush’s two presidential campaigns urged the Republican nominee to focus on economic issues.
“The American people have no doubt about his ability to be commander-in-chief,” Rove continued, but voters still want to know: “Does he get it, and does he know what he’s going to do?”
Rove’s expectation-setting comments came at a breakfast panel hosted by Politico, The St. Paul Pioneer Press and Yahoo! News. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, former Florida Republican Party Chairman Al Cardenas, Washington Times editorial writer Tara Wall and commentator Armstrong Williams also appeared on the panel.
Rove also advised McCain to open up on a personal level with voters.
“He needs to find a way to share his interior self,” Rove explained. Telling the story of his daughter Bridget’s adoption from Bangladesh, Rove asked: “Who knows that? Not enough people.”
[/IMG]Ken Blackwell discusses politics at Politico panel discussion.
When it comes to connecting with economically distressed voters, Blackwell argued that the McCain-Palin ticket could make progress by continuing to discuss energy.
“I think energy is a big issue in the state of Ohio,” Blackwell said, noting that sections of the country would stand to profit from increased coal mining. “That’s about jobs. That’s about growing our economy. That’s about reducing the pressure on working families.”
The former Ohio gubernatorial candidate also predicted McCain and his running mate would reach out to small-town and rural Ohioans during the home stretch of the presidential campaign.
“You look at the state of Ohio, you look at the real growth opportunities, it’s not Cleveland. It’s not Cincinnati,” Blackwell said, suggesting that Palin’s background as the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, would play well in much of his home state.
It’s not just small towns, though, that the panelists said McCain should target in the campaign’s final 61 days: Several argued that Hispanic voters remained the most promising untapped demographic for the GOP’s brand.
“Hispanics are more in line with the Republican way of thought than just about any demographic,” said Cardenas, mentioning growth among Hispanic evangelicals and military families, and increasing numbers of Hispanic small-business owners as promising signs for the Republican Party.
“There is a real, exploitable opportunity there,” Blackwell agreed. “The greatest growth opportunity for expanding the base and getting a winning turnout will probably be in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, among the Latino votes.”
McCain could have an uphill climb among Latino voters: A Pew survey released in late July showed him losing among Latinos by 66 percent to 23 percent — a significant drop-off in support after Bush won approximately four in 10 Latino voters in his 2004 reelection campaign.
[/IMG] Perhaps reflecting this reality, some panelists advised McCain not to reach out to potentially unreceptive constituencies at the cost of energizing Republican stalwarts. Williams mentioned African-American voters as a group the Republican Party doesn’t have much hope of winning over.
“Black people are going to vote for Barack Obama, in many cases because he’s black, and we should just get over it,” Williams said.
Particularly given McCain’s past problems with conservative voters — apparently dispelled this week with his announcement of Palin as his running mate — it might not make sense for him to pursue traditionally Democratic constituencies too aggressively, panelists said.
[/IMG] “You need to make sure you’re taking care of the base,” Wall said, arguing that some conservatives still distrust McCain because of his stance on immigration reform and many nonwhite votes are simply not in play, anyway. “You need to make sure you’re reaching out to the black folks and Hispanics who support you, first.”
[/IMG]Colorado Delegate Marty Neilson, left, of Allenspark, and LeMoine Dowd, alternate delegate, of Longmont, right, wipe away tears as Karl Rove speaks about POW Bud Day, a cellmate of John McCain's, at the Colorado Republican delegates breakfast Wednesday.
[/font]Karl Rove, native son.
It's a label that gives Colorado Democrats the willies and Colorado Republicans a huge shot in the arm.
The master Republican strategist addressed Colorado's delegates at their breakfast Wednesday in a speech that combined the personal and political, as well as an another angle about John McCain's imprisonment in Vietnam.
"Fellow Coloradans," Rove began, and was immediately interrupted by whoops and hollers.
He was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in 1950 and spent the first nine years of his life in Arvada and Golden before moving out of state.
When Rove was in Denver last week to provide commentary at the Democratic National Convention, he regularly drove by his grandparents' former home in northwest Denver, where the family gathered every Sunday for fried chicken and to watch The Wonderful World of Disney.
Dick Wadhams, chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, said he first met Rove in 1975 in Denver when Rove was at the College Republicans' national convention. Rove was the president.
"Since then, neither one of us has been able to find a steady job," Wadhams joked. [/FONT]
Karl Rove checks his Blackberry before speaking to the Colorado Republican delegates Wednesday.
Some find it 'jarring'
After the speech, Colorado Republicans gushed.
"Colorado can claim Dick Wadhams and Karl Rove as native sons, which is why it's so depressing that we're a swing state," said alternate Kathleen LeCrone, of Centennial.
Several Colorado Democrats said they had no idea Rove was born in Colorado.
"That's jarring," said Jefferson County commission candidate Jason Bane. "He's probably a Raiders fan."
Rove, credited as the architect behind President Bush's successful runs in 2000 and 2004, talked about his family before touching on McCain's imprisonment and Barack Obama's candidacy.
He said his grandfather worked on a road crew in the San Juans during the Depression, selling knives on consignment from the back of his highway department truck.
He eventually founded a butcher supplies company.
"My grandmother claimed they started it with a $20 bill they found in the road when they were living in a shack," he said.
"Because America is what it is, he made a wonderful life for himself and his family. It's a really remarkable story."
Gasping and crying
Rove also had the audience alternately gasping and crying when he recounted a February dinner with Bud Day, a Medal of Honor recipient who spent time with McCain in a POW camp in Vietnam.
"The Hanoi Hilton," Rove said. "No frequent flier miles."
Day appointed McCain one of the prisoners' group chaplains for one reason: He knew McCain knew the liturgy because of the fighter pilot's ability to recall what he heard and read.
Day told Rove at their dinner that he can still remember the sermon McCain gave in 1971 almost word for word.
McCain told his fellow prisoners not to pray for God to get them out of there because God didn't put them there.
Day wept as he recalled McCain's sermon, Rove said.
"(Day) said this was the most liberating message you can imagine for these people in hell, these people going through deprivation and suffering," Rove said. "It really made it possible for them to go on."
Karl Rove on
* Colorado's role in the election
"People are going to be knocking on your doors and ringing your phones. Colorado is one of the two or three most important states in this year's contest."
* Sen. Joe Lieberman's speech for McCain
"This election has had so many twists and turns. Remember where we were eight years ago, getting ready to campaign against a Gore-Lieberman ticket. That man (Lieberman). What courage."
* Democrats' claim that Barack Obama co-sponsored "landmark" nuclear legislation
"(This bill) was so much of a housekeeping measure it passed on a voice vote. It was so inconsequential that neither The Washington Post or The New York Times carried a single story about its passage."
* Obama's record
"Barack Obama, you name one big thing he's bothered to bother himself about in the last three years he's been in the U.S. Senate, and you can't come up with one."
Peggy Noonan, Mike Murphy Caught On Tape Disparaging Palin Choice: "It's Over," "Political Bullshit," "Gimmicky"
Wall Street Journal columnist and former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan and former John McCain adviser, Time columnist, and MSNBC contributor Mike Murphy were caught on tape disparaging John McCain's selection of Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his Vice Presidential running mate.
"It's over," Noonan said.
When Chuck Todd asked her if this was the most qualified woman the Republicans could nominate, Noonan responded, "The most qualified? No. I think they went for this, excuse me, political bullshit about narratives. Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and that's not what they're good at, they blow it."
Murphy characterized the choices as "cynical" and "gimmicky."
Watch (the dialogue in question starts 38 seconds in):
First we have Evangelical leader James Dobson flip-flopping over the Palin choice - now a call from Rove for more party Mojo! Sell, sell, sell the McCains on 'character and decency' - he said. On the economy - well maybe we had to be there!!
ST. PAUL, Minn. – Karl Rove, the architect behind the GOP's rise to power in Texas, told state delegates Monday that the party was losing ground and that they need to "re-energize our grass roots."
"Let's admit it, we've lost a little bit of our mojo," he said at a luncheon. "We got behind in the Legislature and then we fell back a little bit."
He reminded them that, when he was a precinct chair in the late 1970s, he and other Republicans took a "systematic" approach to winning down-ballot races, not just the top of the ticket.
"Our object is not simply to win for John McCain and to win for [GOP Sen.] John Cornyn. It's to have strength up and down the ballot and to run up the numbers.
"We've got plenty of material to use and sell, but it ain't gonna get sold unless you man the phones, walk the doors, register voters and encourage everybody to take an active role in this campaign in the 63 days left."
He praised former Secretary of State Roger Williams for his "important work" in heading "Victory 2008," a GOP get-out-the-vote effort, and then touted Mr. McCain's voting and service record over Barack Obama's.
Mr. Rove said biography isn't what's important in a candidate – it's "character and decency."
He cited the McCains' adoption of Bridget, now a teenager, when she was orphaned in Bangladesh.
"Everybody in here ought to know about Bridget," he said. "This is an extraordinary couple. They're not only right on the issues, they not only have the courage and decency we need, they've got the heart and the compassion that America wants to see in their president and first lady."
Perhaps McCain intended for the Christian Right will pray over these teen mothers ?? Given McCain's views it is doubtful that he knew Palin's daughter was pregnant - before he selected her as VP. And it seems - given Palin's views - she would not have choosen herself !!
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Republican John McCain, whose running mate disclosed that her unmarried 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, has oppos
ed proposals to spend federal money on teen-pregnancy prevention programs and voted to require poor teen mothers to stay in school or lose their benefits.
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's announcement Monday about her daughter, Bristol, was aimed at rebutting Internet rumors that Palin's youngest son, born in April, was actually her daughter's. Palin said her daughter intends to raise her child and marry the baby's father, who was identified only by his first name, Levi. The baby is due in late December.
McCain's record on issues surrounding teen pregnancy and contraceptives during his more than two decades in the Senate indicates that he and Palin have similar views. Until Monday, when the subject surfaced in a deeply personal manner, teen pregnancy and sex education were not issues in the national political campaign.
Palin herself said she opposes funding sexual-education programs in Alaska.
"The explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support," she wrote in a 2006 questionnaire distributed among gubernatorial candidates.
McCain's position on contraceptives and teen pregnancy issues has been difficult to judge on the campaign trail, as he appears uncomfortable discussing such topics. Reporters asked the presumptive GOP presidential nominee in November 2007 whether he supported grants for sex education in the United States, whether such programs should include directions for using contraceptives and whether he supports President Bush's policy of promoting abstinence.
"Ahhh, I think I support the president's policy," McCain said.
When reporters pressed McCain whether the government should provide contraceptives or counseling on contraceptives, he replied, "You've stumped me." McCain said later that he was sure he opposed government spending on contraceptives.
The McCain campaign on Monday did not respond to repeated requests for information.
In Senate votes, McCain has opposed some proposals to pay for teen-pregnancy prevention programs. In 2006, McCain joined fellow Republicans in voting against a Senate Democratic proposal to send $100 million to communities for teen-pregnancy prevention programs that would have included sex education about contraceptives.
In 2005, McCain opposed a Senate Democratic proposal that would have spent tens of millions of dollars to pay for pregnancy prevention programs other than abstinence-only education, including education on emergency contraception such as the morning-after pill. The bill also would have required insurance companies that cover Viagra to also pay for prescription contraception.
McCain voted for the Family Support Act in 1988, which passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and required teen mothers who receive public assistance to remain in high school and, in some cases, to live with their parents.
"Young parents who have not completed high school will be required to stay in or return to school to complete the basic education so necessary to a productive life," said President Reagan, as he signed the law in October 1988.
McCain cited abortion, sex education and birth control as some of the issues on which he differed with Joycelyn Elders, former President Clinton's nominee for surgeon general. He quoted Elders as telling lawmakers that abortion has had positive health effects, including reducing the number of children "afflicted with severe defects."
"As a father of a number of young children, including an adopted daughter who was born with a birth defect, I am deeply, deeply troubled by these views," McCain said in a 1993 speech opposing Elders' confirmation.
Palin's fifth child, a son named Trig, was born in April with Down syndrome, a genetic abnormality that impedes physical, intellectual and language development. Conservatives supportive of Palin as McCain's running mate have praised her choice to deliver Trig even after the family learned about his condition during prenatal testing.
McCain said the country unarguably had a problem with teen pregnancy, but said Elders' approach would only make it worse. He said Elders started a program to distribute condoms in schools, but the rate of teen pregnancy actually rose in those counties. When it turned out many of the condoms were defective, Elders decided to continue the program rather than halt it or inform the public of the risk, McCain added.
Back when the McCain camp was firmly pumping out oppo criticizing Barack Obama's experience, they knocked the Democratic nominee for never having been to Iraq or Afghanistan. And when Obama was poised to go to Iraq and Afghanistan, the McCain camp derided Obama for coming to strategic conclusions in advance of his arrival. And when Obama's trip turned into a smashing success, the McCain camp poked fun at how the trip was too successful. Somehow, America allowed this nonsense to happen.
But now that McCain has chosen Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his vice president, the "experience" argument has been torn into a million tiny little slivers. And that has forced McCain's surrogates to furtively scramble to pick up enough shreds with which to make some papier-mache.
One such surrogate was Lindsey Graham, out in force this Sunday, attempting to apply the new McCain alchemical hoodoo to Sarah Palin's lack of substantive foreign policy experience. ThinkProgress records the relevant exchange:
BLITZER: Has she met with world leaders like you have, like Biden has? Has she really gone around the world and done any of those things?
GRAHAM: I don't know where she's traveled to ... But it's not meeting people that matters. You know, President Bush met President Putin. And I don't think it matters just meeting people. You look at people's judgment.
One should note Graham's "I don't know where she's traveled to" statement, which is further proof that no vetting of Palin seems to have taken place.
Graham adds, "Governor Palin took on Ted Stevens. If she can take him on, she can take on the Russians." Graham also offered that bon mot on This Week, and at the time, I mused, "That's just the dumbest thing I have ever heard." After I wrote that, I thought better of it, and considered whether I may have been speaking prematurely. After all, just as Palin has enjoyed a coincidental proximity to Russia, I have five years experience living across the street from an Italian bodega, so maybe I have the sufficient experience to make delicious cannolis and just don't know it yet.
Unfortunately for Palin and Graham, however, I can now reassert the essential stupidity of that statement, because, as it turns out, Palin doesn't have that good a record where standing up to Ted Stevens is concerned:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin began building clout in her state's political circles in part by serving as a director of an independent political group organized by the now embattled Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens.
Palin's name is listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the "Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.," a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. The group was designed to serve as a political boot camp for Republican women in the state. She served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.
Palin, an anti-corruption crusader in Alaska, had called on Stevens to be open about the issues behind the investigation. But she also held a joint news conference with him in July, before he was indicted, to make clear she had not abandoned him politically.
So, I'd say that Vladimir Putin has little to fear from America's Next Top Caribou Huntress
If the Democrats ever doubted what the Republicans will do to stay in power - enter Palin - whipped so quickly from the hat - a herd of lawyers are now up in Alaska - cutting the strings - and ironing out the damage Palin left behind.
The Christian Right - desperate for anyone at all to show them some respect - in the hopes - of one day lifting their Christian pro-life and muted science agenda to the fore. Likely they will get used once again for their all important Republican vote - but how can you convince someone otherwise - when they have religious conviction. The Christian Right - is like the moth to the GOP light - mostly they get burnt but they still fly towards it.
Where McCain was weak - one of his strongest critics for his lack of Christian creds - Dobson – now says that having an unmarried pregnant teenager - is living in line with pro-life values.
Above: This is such a good picture as it demonstrates what McCain has done. Palin is the great distraction - he stands back she talks - he compliments her, hugs and kisses her - as she grabs the limelight.
Political strategist Karl Rove, freed of his White House role, is encouraging major Republican donors to give their money to organizations that operate independently of the Republican Party and are poised to spend upwards of $100 million trying to elect conservatives this fall.
Mr. Rove, the architect of President Bush's election victories, has been telling Republican benefactors across the country that giving to official Republican Party fundraising committees will not be enough this year, according to people familiar with his pitch over the past few months.
They said Mr. Rove has regularly expressed concern that Democrat-leaning organizations such as MoveOn.org and labor unions could swamp the Republican Party's money machine and overwhelm the presidential campaign of Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican.
Political strategist and former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove has been encouraging wealthy Republican donors to fund outside attack groups such as Freedom's Watch.
To counter that wave, Mr. Rove has been asking elite Republican fundraisers to pour their millions of dollars into nonparty groups like Freedom's Watch, which is gearing up to spend tens of millions of dollars to help elect conservatives - primarily Republicans - to Congress and the White House.
Freedom's Watch has purchased advertisements that help Republican candidates by emphasizing issues rather than the candidates and do so without coordinating with the Republican Party.
Independent groups such as Freedom's Watch on the right and MoveOn.org Political Action on the left will fuel much of the on-air and on-the-ground skirmishing this fall between Democratic and Republican candidates. Well-heeled donors often prefer using these organizations as conduits for their contributions because they often can remain anonymous and because the groups' expenditures are not disclosed until after they are made, if at all.
Mr. Rove declined to comment about his discussions with Republican fundraisers.
But his spokesman, Mark Corallo, acknowledged that Mr. Rove, when asked, has encouraged people to fill the coffers of groups that in effect act as adjuncts to the Republican Party.
The message, Mr. Corallo said, was: "Conservatives, when interested, ought to contribute generously to groups that advocate their goals."
Could this 17 year old be pregnant with Sarah Palin's 5th child - the one she did not abort?
In any case what does this say about conservative values - get ready for this - because she did not have an abortion - the family shows their pro-life values - funny we don't hear the same - when a poor ghetto kid gets pregnant !!
The Christian Right fling themselves behind the GOP like loyal slaves - but they are never going to lift the woman's right to choose - where would they go when they wished to discreetly getting rid of their own daughters' indiscretions. To the back street clinics? In Indonesia where abortions is illegal - have more abortions per person than do Americans - and many of these woman fall ill as a result of complications and unsanitary conditions. Many women choose to have their babies - nothing to do with being on the Christian Right - the law is there to protect women - whichever way they choose. But for votes the Republicans pay lip service to it every time.