Sarah Palin misled us on “bridge to nowhere”

This one is pretty bad. The McCain campaign and GOP activists who are starved for someone to add excitement to this campaign have been touting Sarah Palin as a “reformer.” In her speech introducing herself to America, she bragged about being against the infamous “bridge to nowhere,” the ultimate example of government waste and earmark abuse.

Well, it turns out that she was actually FOR the bridge to nowhere back in 2006 when she was running for governor. The Anchorage Daily News has the details:

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center.

“I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere,” Palin told the cheering McCain crowd, referring to Ketchikan’s Gravina Island bridge.

But 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.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone — because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

This stinks. I’m sure she’s done some good things in Alaska, but this makes her look like the poster child of cynical politics and political opportunism. Alaska is notorious for living off of money from the federal government because they have slimeballs like Senator Ted Stevens funneling money to the state. Sarah Palin was happy to get that money, and she was happy to make the bridge a campaign issue when she needed to get elected governor.

Now she’s trying to claim the opposite position while ruuning for national office, AND she’s using it as an example of her “integrity.”

It’s galling that she would do this, but it’s amazing that she thought she could make this ridiculous claim without getting called on it.

Sarah Palin’s Troopergate scandal

One reason I’m surprised by the pick of Sarah Palin relates to the ethics issues she’s been facing in Alaska. TPM and other news organizations have been reporting on this issue.

As mentioned earlier, Gov. Palin is embroiled in her own trooper-gate scandal up in Alaska. In short, she’s accused of using her pull as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired as a state trooper. The brother-in-law is embroiled in an ugly divorce and custody with Palin’s sister. And after his boss wouldn’t fire the brother-in-law, she fired the boss. Palin originally insisted there was nothing to the story. More recently, she was forced to admit the one of her top deputies had pushed to get the guy fired.

This might not end up as a big story, but it could be a huge distraction for the McCain campaign.

Sarah Palin passes her first test

I know Democrats are trying to paint Sarah Palin as Dan Quayle with a pony tail, but so far she passed her first test.

McCain intoduced her at a rally in Dayton, Ohio, and Sarah Palin was very comfortable and well-spoken on stage. She didn’t have that “deer in the headlights” look that Dan Quayle made famous back in 1988.

I still think she is a very risky choice, and it remains to be seen how she handles the scrutiny and tough questions on the issues, but she has charisma and she’s very good in front of a crowd.

Obama gets his bounce

So far, we’re seeing a nice bounce out of the Democratic convention. The Gallup tracking poll jumped from even to 6 points yesterday, and then moved to 8 points today. This covers three days of the convention but still doesn’t factor in Barack Obama’s speech from last night.

The spectacle from last night was huge, so we’ll see if that further increases the bounce.

We’ll see how the McCain pick of Sarah Palin works out, but the timing was brilliant, as the McCain campaign will blunt the impact of Obama’s speech.

McCain picks Sarah Palin

McCain knows he’s down, and he makes a very risky pick.

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