Sunday, August 31, 2008

McCain’s Pick May Foster Bigger Campaign Role for Clinton

ST. PAUL Advisers to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Sunday that Senator John McCain’s selection of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska as his running mate would lead to a greater role for Mrs. Clinton as she campaigned this fall on behalf of her former rival, Senator Barack Obama.

Mrs. Clinton’s friends said she was galled that Ms. Palin might try to capitalize on a movement that Mrs. Clinton, of New York, built among women in the primaries.

And Democrats used strong words on Sunday to rebut the notion: Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts said that women would not be “seduced” by the Republican ticket, and Guy Cecil, the former political director of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, said it was “insulting” for Republicans to compare Ms. Palin to Mrs. Clinton..........

John McCain running mate Sarah Palin misled Republican supporters

Sarah Palin's record in office is facing increasing scrutiny after it emerged that she misled Republican supporters when she was presented to the nation as Senator John McCain's running mate.

Telegraph.co.uk

The Governor of Alaska gave a misleading version of events over a controversial bridge project in her home state when she made her maiden speech as the presumptive nominee.

Mrs Palin told a cheering audience in Ohio that she had turned down an offer from the US Congress to build the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere", which would have connected Gravina Island with Ketchikan International, an airport in Alaska's southeast serving just 200,000 passengers a year. Mr McCain routinely cites the £100 million project as a symbol of wasteful central government spending.

As she introduced herself to Republicans and the American public on Friday, the virtually unknown Mrs Palin said: "I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. In fact, I told Congress ... 'thanks, but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves."

However it emerged that in a 2006 interview with the Anchorage Daily News during her gubernatorial campaign, Mrs Palin had a different view of the bridge.

Asked "would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?" she replied: "Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now - while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

When Congressional funding was withdrawn because of an uproar in Washington about the expense of the project, she cancelled it, but in a regretful tone.

"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."

With a platoon of Senator Barack Obama's campaign researchers travelling to Alaska to pick through her record, Mrs Palin could face several awkward questions over the coming weeks. After less than two years running the state, preceded by two terms as mayor of a town of 9,000, presidential scholars have pronounced her the most inexperienced candidate on a presidential ticket in the modern era.

Discussing her credentials as vice-president, a Republican in Alaska said: "She's old enough. She's a US citizen."

In addition to her conservative social views, sportiness and raising five children, Mrs Palin, 44, is presented by Mr McCain as a fellow maverick and reformer and will be celebrated as such this week at the Republican National Convention, where she is due to accept formally her nomination on Wednesday.

A spokesman for the McCain campaign said: "Her sentiments on the bridge to nowhere and wasteful government spending are very clear."

However in 2007 her state received the highest per capita amount of federal funding, £253.16 ($506.34), according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a watchdog group which tracks "earmark" spending.

She also supported multi-billion-dollar tax increase on Alaska's oil industry, and approved a £250 million state subsidy to a Canadian company wanting to build a natural gas pipeline through Alaska.

She is already under investigation by the state's ethics commission for her dismissal of Walter Monegan, Alaska's public safety director, for refusing to sack her brother-in-law Michael Wooten, a state trooper who was allegedly guilty of several infractions and was separating from his wife, Mrs Palin's sister

Sarah Palin Loves Washington "Earmarks" supported Ketchikan ‘bridge to nowhere’ during 2006 race for Alaska governor

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

With another hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast, the so-called “bridge to nowhere,” championed by Alaska’s Congressional delegation on behalf of the people of Ketchikan, just won’t go away.

Three years ago, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the plan to spend hundreds of millions to connect Ketchikan with its airport on Gravina Island became a national symbol of Congressional excess, much to the dismay of Sen. Ted Stevens and Rep. Don Young.

Sen. John McCain has made it a habit to ridicule the bridge project during his presidential campaign.

McCain has promised to veto any bill sent to him by Congress with any earmarks. In July, the Associated Press reported that McCain wants to cut all earmarks and billions more to “punish lawmakers for past earmarks,” the AP said.

Stevens and Young have long argued that earmarks have been essential to the Alaska economy, funding everything from the Denali Commission to the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

In her introductory speech Friday as McCain’s running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin picked up on the Ketchikan bridge that was never built as a symbol of bad federal policy.

“I championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress,” Palin said at her first campaign appearance. “In fact, I told Congress — I told Congress, ‘Thanks, but no thanks,’ on that bridge to nowhere. If our state wanted a bridge, I said we’d build it ourselves.”

That is not how Palin described her position on the Gravina Island bridge when she ran for governor in 2006.

On Oct. 22, 2006, the Anchorage Daily News asked Palin and the other candidates, “Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?”

Her response: “Yes. I would like to see Alaska’s infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now — while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.”

Palin’s support of the earmark for the bridge was applauded by the late Lew Williams Jr., the retired Ketchikan Daily News publisher who wrote columns on the topic.

Williams wrote on Oct. 29, 2006, that Palin was the only gubernatorial candidate that year who consistently supported the Gravina Island Bridge, the Knik Arm Bridge and improvements to the Parks Highway.

Two months earlier, while campaigning in Ketchikan, Palin made a positive reference to the bridge, while also joking, as a resident of the Mat-Su Valley, about Sen. Ben Stevens’ slap at Mat-Su residents as “Valley trash.”

“OK, you’ve got Valley trash standing in the middle of nowhere,” Palin said on a stop in Ketchikan, a quote reprinted in the Juneau Empire Friday. “I think we’re going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project.”

A year later, she issued a news release as governor saying Ketchikan needed better airport access, but a $398 million bridge was not going to happen.

“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,” Palin said on Sept. 21, 2007.

The money was not sent back to the federal government, but spent on other projects.

That was hardly “Thanks but no thanks.”

In his statement announcing Palin as his running mate Friday, McCain said, “She put a stop to the “bridge to nowhere” that would have cost taxpayers $400 million.”

One of the immediate related questions for Alaska is whether Palin plans to change her position and accept McCain’s view that earmarks should be abolished and that any bill containing them should be vetoed.

This is significant because the state, along with dozens of local governments and nonprofit groups across Alaska, routinely asks Congress to fund everything from new buildings to docks and road work. The Alaska Railroad alone asked for about $80 million this year, while Nome wanted $13 million for wind generation, North Pole asked for nearly $7 million and the Fairbanks North Star Borough asked for about $25 million.

McCain has made his position clear.

“I will veto every bill with earmarks until the Congress stops sending bills with earmarks on them. I will keep vetoing. I will make them famous. You will know their names, ” McCain said in a speech on April 15, according to video on his Web site. He also said, “I have a clear record of not asking for a single earmark for my state.”

Alaska has a clear record of seeking earmarks.

In March, Palin’s Washington, D.C., representative, John Katz, wrote a defense of earmarks, published in the Juneau Empire in which he said the state is cutting back on its wish list.

The Palin administration requested 31 earmarks this year totaling $200 million and “we are not abandoning earmarks altogether,” Katz said, as they are a “legitimate exercise of Congress’ constitutional power to amend the budget proposed by the president.”

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-31-08

CNN's Velshi falsely claimed "no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico" because of Hurricane Katrina
On CNN Newsroom, Ali Velshi falsely claimed, "In 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 40 of these [offshore drilling] platforms, but still no oil shed into the Gulf of Mexico because of that." In fact, a 2007 report prepared for the federal government by an international consulting firm identified damage from Katrina to 27 platforms and rigs that resulted in the spilling of approximately 2,843 barrels of petroleum products into the Gulf of Mexico. Read More

Wallace did not challenge McCain's claim that Palin said of "bridge to nowhere": "We don't need it. And if we need it, we'll pay for it ourselves"
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain said that regarding the "bridge to nowhere" project, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "stood up and said, 'We don't need it. And if we need it, we'll pay for it ourselves.' " Chris Wallace did not note in response that during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Palin reportedly supported the proposal to build a bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding for the project. Read More

Wallace did not ask McCain about ethics investigation into "reformer" Palin
On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace did not ask Sen. John McCain about the current ethics investigation of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, despite McCain's statement that Palin is "a reformer" and that his selection of her as his vice-presidential running mate "brings a spirit of reform and change that is vital now in our nation's capital." Read More

Obama to end tax benefits to firms that ship jobs overseas

Washington, Aug 31 (PTI) Democratic Party's US presidential candidate Barack Obama has underlined his commitment to halt outsourcing of jobs overseas by ending tax breaks to companies that ship works to other countries, a policy that could adversely affect India.

In one of his first major campaign events in the aftermath of the Democratic Convention in Denver, Colorado, last week, Senator Obama stressed that he and his running mate Senator Joseph Biden is going to put an end to tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.

Making a strong anti-outsourcing pitch, Senator Obama said "Joe Biden and I are going to change this tax code".

"We're going to take away tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas. We are giving (will give) them to companies that invest right here," Obama said in Dublin, Ohio.

Playing to the gallery on the hot button issue of outsourcing, Obama kept up with the rhetoric on the subject that has been a staple during his campaign for the party's ticket.

"You are working harder and harder just to get by. Tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs have left. People have lost not just their job, but their healthcare, their pensions," Senator Obama pointed out.

The Democratic Party's leaders took broad swipe at the soon to be official Republican nominee Senator John McCain for being nothing but a shadow of what has transpired over the Bush era at the White House.

Flaying the Republican-led administration, he said, "John McCain and George Bush share the basic idea...That says you're on your own".

"They call it the ownership society, but it really means you're on your own. Your job gets shipped overseas, tough luck, you're on your own," Senator Obama noted.

Banks shift funds out of U.S. to Europe


WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Banks transferred funds out of the United States and into Europe in the first three months of 2008 as they turned to safer assets amid the global credit crunch, the Bank for International Settlements said.

"In the first quarter of 2008, reporting banks continued their net transfer of funds out of the United States, a trend evident since the onset of the financial turmoil in mid-2007," the Swiss-based BIS said in its quarterly review of financial markets and banking activity, published on Monday.


It said European banks had cut dollar loans booked by their U.S. offices, resulting in a net outflow from those offices of $259 billion during the first quarter of year, following a net outflow of $238 billion during the second half of 2007. The BIS said banks stepped up their holdings in public sector debt, while their outstanding debt securities claims in the non-bank sector fell for the first time since 2001.

Canadian Wal-Mart workers win contract (starting pay goes from $8.40 to $10.89 per hour)

On Aug. 15, a Canadian Wal-Mart located in Gatineau, Quebec, was forced to honor a three-year contract for employees working in its lube and tire department. It is the only Wal-Mart in North America to have a union contract in place.

The workers, organized by the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada, will see an increase in their starting wages from $8.40 to $10.89 per hour. Although there are still 200 non-union workers at the same location, the workers have scored an important victory in the struggle to organize the world’s largest retailer.

This is not the first time the anti-union giant has been ordered to honor union contracts. In 2000, 11 meat cutters working at a Texas Wal-Mart won union recognition. Shortly thereafter Wal-Mart, Inc., eliminated the positions in 180 stores in six states, claiming lack of profits.

Wal-Mart recently reported profits of $3.45 billion—up 17 percent from $2.95 billion a year ago.

People Wait Hours for Tickets to Obama's Milwaukee (WI) Rally

Madison.com

Before 10 a.m., a line had begun to form outside Madison's Barack Obama for President campaign headquarters.

At noon, the campaign was going to begin distributing free tickets to a Labor Day rally featuring the newly nominated Democratic presidential candidate in Milwaukee at the Marcus Amphitheater.

Doors will open for the Monday rally, which requires tickets, at 3 p.m., and the program will begin at 6 p.m. The Marcus Amphitheater is on the Summerfest grounds.

The people in line on Sunday at the headquarters, 1709 Monroe St., were determined to get tickets, which were being distributed on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at noon.

Ana Wheelock said she and her daughter-in-law and 4-year-old granddaughter, Arkaya Graf, were all excited about going to see and hear the candidate.

"He provides a message of hope and change, and I really believe in the man's sincerity," Wheelock said. "I appreciate that he's not a mudslinger. I'm tired of that."......

McCain Camp Didn't Search Palin's Hometown Paper Archives

Huffington Post - Sam Stein

The McCain campaign has gone to great lengths to present the selection of Sarah Palin as one made after a careful, meticulous vetting process. But evidence continues to suggest that the Arizona Republican made his VP choice with surprising haste.

On Saturday, a Democrat tasked with opposition research contacted the Huffington Post with this piece of information: as of this weekend, the McCain campaign had not gone through old newspaper articles from the Valley Frontiersman, Palin's hometown newspaper.

How does he know? The paper's (massive) archives are not online. And when he went to research past content, he was told he was the first to inquire.

"No one else had requested access before," said the source. "It's unbelievable. We were the only people to do that, which means the McCain camp didn't."

The Frontiersman did not immediately confirm the revelation. And there is no indication from the Democratic source that anything nefarious or problematic will be found in the archives. But officials with the paper did not recall inquiries by the McCain campaign.

"I cannot confirm that information at this time," said publisher Kari Sleight. "I am not aware of the McCain campaign researching our archives, but archive requests do not usually go through me."

If true, the failure of the Arizona Republican to access the newspaper clippings becomes another in a growing list of revelations that calls into question just how and why he made his decision to choose Palin. A rudimentary clip search, such as this, is presidential politics 101 as campaigns not only look for the majority of background information on any high-level appointee, but also try to prepare themselves from future attacks.

It has been previously reported that the McCain campaign did not contact Public Safety Commissioner Walt Monegan, who Palin pushed to have fired after he refused to remove her sister's former husband from the state's police force. That controversy, an investigation of which will be made public in late October, could cause major headaches for Palin in the days leading up to the election.

In addition, the former Republican House Speaker of Alaska, Gail Phillips, admitted to reporters that she was shocked by McCain's choice of Palin, as "his advance team didn't come to Alaska to check her out."

Even McCain's own aides seemed unprepared by the choice. After Palin's name was announced, spokeswoman Nancy Pfotenhauer was asked about the governor's relationship with the Senator.

"You're running flat into the wall of my ignorance here," she said. "I truly have no indication whatsoever the extent of a relationship that exists with the Governor of Alaska."

In light of these reports, the McCain camp has sought to dispel the notion that Palin was un-vetted or chosen out of purely political motives. Even though the presumptive Republican nominee met his now-running mate only once before choosing her, aides have begun arguing, the two are "kindred spirits" and have shared ideological bearings. In a Washington Post piece Sunday, Rick Davis, McCain's campaign manager, said the Palin chose was not a last minute call. The process, he added, was rigorous and involved sifting through financial and other personal data, as well as an FBI background check.

"Nobody was vetted less or more than anyone in the final stages, and John had access to all that information and made the decision," Davis said. "It's really not much more complicated than that."

Barack Obama's Labor Day message

Run time: 02:32

Palin used 'Bridge to Nowhere' for gain - was for it before she was against it

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Gov. Sarah Palin was for the so-called infamous "Bridge to Nowhere" before she was against it, a change of position the GOP vice presidential running mate conveniently ignored Saturday when she bragged about telling Congress "thanks but no thanks" to the pork barrel project.

Federal funds for the $398 million bridge were tacked into an appropriations bill as an earmark, the practice by which members of Congress get special funding for pet projects. Sen. John McCain opposes earmarks as an avenue for pork barrel and special interest spending.

After McCain introduced her as his choice for vice president on the Republican ticket, Palin talked about her reform credentials, and said she stopped the bridge project as part of an effort to end of earmarking in appropriations bills.

The Alaska bridge pushed by Sen. Ted Stevens became a symbol of congressional misuse of tax dollars. It would have connected the town of Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport on it. Ferries and water taxis serve the island now.

"I have championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress," Palin said in her vice presidential campaign debut in Dayton, Ohio. "In fact, I told Congress, I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that Bridge to Nowhere."

"If our state wanted a bridge, I said we'd build it ourselves," she said.

She didn't talk that way when she was running for governor. The Anchorage Daily News quoted her on Oct. 22, 2006, as saying yes, she would continue state funding for the bridge because she wanted swift action on infrastructure projects. "The window is now while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist," she said.

McCain has used the Alaska bridge as a case study in what's wrong with the way Congress spends money. After the Ketchikan bridge became an issue and an object of ridicule, Congress dropped the earmark.

Andrew Halcro ran against Palin in the 2006 governor's race, receiving the third most voters, and remains a critic. In his blog and Web site, Halcro raised the bridge issue, saying Palin changed her position for political purposes..........

Obama set to send volunteers to hurricane area

Time

The Land of Lincolner says in a brief availability Sunday he’ll tap his huge network of donors, volunteers to help with the hurricane after it comes inland.

“I think we can get tons of volunteers to travel down there, if it becomes necessary,” he tells reporters after attending church in Lima, Ohio.

He says he’ll first ask officials in the affected areas what is most needed, which may not be known for a few days.

Read transcript here. Read pool reports of church visit here and here.




Before church, Obama spoke with Louisiana Lt. Gov. Landrieu. He’ll talk with Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff shortly.

Washington Post: Troopegate - Monegan to Palin: "Ma'am, I Need to Keep You At Arm's Length"

Washington Post

In his exclusive interview with the Washington Post on Friday, fired Alaska state police chief Walt Monegan detailed how Gov. Sarah Palin kept raising the issue of her ex-brother-in-law, state trooper Mike Wooten. Palin's sister, Molly, was involved in a bitter divorce and custody battle with Wooten.

Monegan, who was fired by Palin's office in July, told The Post that the subject came up when he invited the governor to a birthday party for his cousin, a state senator, in February 2007 during the legislative session in Juneau.

"As we were walking down the stairs in the capitol building she wanted to talk to me about her former brother-in-law," Monegan said in the first interview he has given since Sen. John McCain announced on Friday that Palin would be his running mate on the Republican ticket. "I said, 'Ma'am, I need to keep you at arm's length with this. I can't deal about him with you. If need be, I can talk to Todd."

Todd Palin, the governor's husband, had brought Monegan a dossier of information on Wooten compiled by Todd and a private investigator. Monegan looked at the information and determined that, "There was no new evidence, no new complaints." In 2005, when Gov. Palin's sister filed for divorce, her father had lodged several complaints with state police against Wooten: using a Taser on his 10-year-old stepson, shooting a moose without a permit and drinking beer while driving a patrol car.

An investigation sustained the allegations regarding the moose hunt and the Taser, and later also sustained the drinking charge after at first finding it unsupported. Documents say Wooten was reprimanded and suspended.

Monegan and John Cyr, chief of the troopers' union, said that Wooten's wife had obtained a permit to hunt moose but balked when she saw the prey. She handed the gun to her husband, who killed the moose. Cyr also said that Wooten told him he used the Taser on his stepson when the boy asked him to try it on him. Cyr said Wooten has a "spotless record" and no complaints in his file other than those filed by the governor's family.

After looking at Wooten's file, Monegan called Todd Palin back and said there was nothing he could do. "I tried to explain to him, 'You can't head-hunt like this,' " Monegan told The Post. " 'What you need to do is back off, because if the trooper does make a mistake, and it is a terminable offense, if can look like political interference.' "

Monegan also called Gov. Palin on her call phone. "I explained to her there as no new evidence, the issue was closed. She also was unhappy with that."

Monegan was fired by Palin's office on July 11. Her chief of staff told Monegan that the governor wanted "to go in another direction," Monegan said. "When I was let go, I was a little surprised. There was not a warning shot or anything." Gov. Palin at first denied that she or anyone in her administration had ever pressured Monegan to fire Wooten. But on Aug. 13, she acknowledged that a half dozen members of her adminstration had made more than two dozen calls on the matter to various state officials. "I do now have to tell Alaskans that such pressure could have been perceived to exist, although I have only now become aware of it," she said.

Also that day, Palin's office released a recording of a call made in February by Palin's chief of commissions, Frank Bailey, to a police lieutenant. Bailey said Palin "really likes Walt a lot, but on this issue ... she doesn't know why there is absolutely no action for a year on this issue. It's very, very troubling to her and the family."

Palin has said the Wooten made a death threat against her father.

"Wooten was not a model trooper," Monegan said. "On the other hand, the allegations pre-date her election. So, there is some issue about whether it was truly motivated by public safety concerns, or it was vindictiveness."



*UPDATE*

Extensive video's on the scandal at: http://www.veeppeek.com

TrooperGate - The Damning Audio Tape

Sun Aug 31, 2008

This damning audio tape of a recorded phone call from Palin senior staffer Frank Bailey to an Alaska Public Safety Department staffer.

First Palin claimed she knew nothing about any pressure from her office to fire her ex-brother-in-law, and her subsequent firing of the Public Safety Director Walt Monegan when he would not do so.

Palin now admits DOZENS of contacts to state police, both from her staff and from her husband, Todd, but admitted only after this TrooperGate recording surfaced.

Getting Real About Palin

TPM - Josh Marshall

I've noticed some people who should know better claiming that bringing up Gov. Palin's troopergate scandal is tantamount to making a victim of or defending her slimeball ex-brother-in-law who allegedly once used a taser on his stepson.

That's awfully foolish. So I thought I'd put together a post explaining why.

The person in question is state trooper Mike Wooten -- Palin's ex-brother-in-law who's embroiled in a bitter custody and divorce battle with Palin's sister. Back in the second week of August, well before Palin became a national political figure, TPMMuckraker was reporting on this story. And as part of the reporting we tried to get a handle on just how bad a guy Wooten was. Most people who are familiar with the ugliness that often spills out of custody and divorce cases know to take accusations arising out of the course of them with a grain of salt unless you know a lot about the people involved. And if you look closely at the case there are numerous reasons to question the picture drawn by the Palin family. Regardless, we proceeded on the assumption that Wooten really was a rotten guy because the truth is that it wasn't relevant to the investigation of Palin.

Let's review what happened.

The Palin family had a feud with Wooten prior to her becoming governor. They put together a list of 14 accusations which they took to the state police to investigate -- a list that ranged from the quite serious to the truly absurd. The state police did an investigation, decided that 5 of the charges had some merit and suspended Wooten for ten days -- a suspension later reduced to five days. The Palin's weren't satisfied but there wasn't much they could do.

When Palin became governor they went for another bite at the apple. Palin, her husband and several members of her staff began pressuring Public Safety Commissioner, Walt Monegan -- a respected former Chief of the Anchorage police department -- to can Wooten. Monegan resisted, arguing that the official process regarding Wooten was closed. And there was nothing more that could be done. In fact, during one of the conversations in which Palin's husband Todd was putting on the squeeze, Monegan told Todd Palin, "You can't head hunt like this. What you need to do is back off, because if the trooper does make a mistake, and it is a terminable offense, it can look like political interference."

Eventually, Palin got fed up and fired Monegan from his job. (Palin claims, not credibly, that she fired Monegan over general differences in law enforcement priorities.) This is an important point. Wooten never got fired. To the best of my knowledge, he's is still on the job. The central bad act was firing the state's top police official because he refused to bend to political pressure from the governor and her family to fire a public employee against whom the governor was pursuing a vendetta -- whether the vendetta was justified or not.

Soon after this, questions were raised in the state about Monegan's firing and he eventually came forward and said he believed he'd been fired for not giving in to pressure to fire Wooten.

After Monegan made his accusations, Palin insisted there was no truth whatsoever to his claims. Nonetheless, a bipartisan committee of the state legislature approved an investigation. In response, Palin asked the Attorney General to start his own investigation which many in the state interpreted as an effort to either keep tabs on or tamper with the legislature's investigation. Again, very questionable judgment in someone who aspires to be first in line to the presidency.

The Attorney General's investigation quickly turned up evidence that Palin's initial denials were false. Multiple members of her staff had raised Wooten's employment with Monegan. Indeed, the state police had a recording of one of her deputies pushing Monegan to fire Wooten. That evidence forced Palin to change her story. Palin said that this was the first she'd heard of it and insisted the deputy wasn't acting at her behest, even though the trascript of the recorded call clearly suggested that he was. (Hear the audio here.)

Just yesterday, Monegan gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he said that not only Palin's aides, but Palin's husband and Palin herself had repeatedly raised the Wooten issue with him and pressured him to fire him. And now he says he has emails that Palin sent him about the matter. (In an interesting sidelight, that may end up telling us a lot, Monegan says no one from the McCain campaign ever contacted him in the vetting process.)

The investigator appointed by the state legislature began trying to arrange a time to depose Gov. Palin last week -- in other words, in the final days before her selection.

So let's put this all together.

We rely on elected officials not to use the power of their office to pursue personal agendas or vendettas. It's called an abuse of power. There is ample evidence that Palin used her power as governor to get her ex-brother-in-law fired. When his boss refused to fire him, she fired his boss. She first denied Monegan's claims of pressure to fire Wooten and then had to amend her story when evidence proved otherwise. The available evidence now suggests that she 1) tried to have an ex-relative fired from his job for personal reasons, something that was clearly inappropriate, and perhaps illegal, though possibly understandable in human terms, 2) fired a state official for not himself acting inappropriately by firing the relative, 3) lied to the public about what happened and 4) continues to lie about what happened.

These are, to put it mildly, not the traits or temperament you want in someone who could hold the executive power of the federal government.

John McCain doesn't care about displaced people in non-election years...

from last June:

Obama Blasts McCain for Voting Against Iowa Flood Funds




While speaking to the U.S. Conference of Mayors today in Miami, FL, Barack Obama hammered John McCain for going to inspect the flood damage in Iowa, but voting against levee and flood control programs for Iowa that he considered pork.

“And just the other day, Senator McCain traveled to Iowa to express his sympathies for the victims of the recent flooding. I’m sure they appreciated the sentiment, but they probably would have appreciated it more if he hadn’t voted against funding for levees and flood control programs, which he seems to consider pork.

Well, we do have to reform budget earmarks, cut genuine pork, and dispense with unnecessary spending, as we confront a budget crisis left by the most fiscally irresponsible administration in modern times,” Obama said.

.....

So who’s right? According to the Des Moines Register, McCain voted against flood control money for Iowa last year In fact contrary to the McCain camp’s protests, the Senator voted against the bill initially and also voted to uphold President Bush’s veto because he felt that the $23 billion bill was full of pork.

When he voted against the bill McCain said, "This legislation is fundamentally flawed, authorizing nearly 1,000 new projects without any method for prioritizing the needs of our national water infrastructure.” He added that the bill was "full of pork projects and unchecked government spending." So it seems that the McCain campaign is once again distorting his record on flood control. Obama told the truth today, while McCain was once again hiding his record of supporting George W. Bush.

McCain Defends Sarah Palin as Some Alaskans Question His Choice

Aug. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Senator John McCain defended Sarah Palin, his vice presidential choice, as a ``soul mate'' who will take on corruption in Washington, even as a growing chorus in the Alaska governor's home state questioned her credentials.

``She's a reformer,'' McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said today on Fox News Sunday. ``I have watched her for many years; I've seen her take on her own party.'' Asked whether Palin is the best person for the job, he said, ``Oh yeah.''

McCain and Palin will accept the presidential and vice presidential nominations at the Republican National Convention, which begins tomorrow in St. Paul, Minnesota.

``This is a person that will help me reform Washington,'' McCain said, adding, ``What this brings is a spirit of reform and change that is vital.''

Still, some Alaskans -- including a supporter of Palin's 2006 run for governor and a former staff member -- expressed reservations about the choice.

``She's not qualified, she doesn't have the judgment, to be next in line to the president of the United States,'' Larry Persily, who until June worked in the governor's Washington office as a congressional liaison, said in a phone interview yesterday.

A supporter of Palin's campaign for governor, Jim Whitaker, the Republican mayor of Fairbanks, also questioned Palin's readiness to serve as vice president in a phone interview yesterday.

`Avid Supporter'

Whitaker said that while he is ``still an avid supporter'' of Palin as governor, he will continue to back Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama.

Palin, 44, is less than halfway through her first term as governor. Before her election to that post, she served on a state commission that regulated the energy industry and was mayor of the town of Wasilla, which had an estimated population in 2007 of 9,780, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Persily, who worked for three different governors in the state's Washington office, said he left the job on good terms with Palin. He said he left out of frustration because the state was ``fighting the same old wars'' on trying to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil development.

`He Created Her'

Persily said Palin owed her election to the unpopularity of then-Governor Frank Murkowski, whom Palin defeated in the Republican primary by running on a platform of overhauling state government. ``He created her,'' Persily said. Murkowski declined to comment.

Two McCain backers who were mentioned as possible choices for the vice-presidential nomination expressed support for Palin today.

Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman, an independent, said on CBS's ``Face the Nation'' program that McCain made a ``bold choice'' in selecting Palin. ``This is about changing Washington so it works again,'' he said. ``John McCain has found a maverick who has done exactly the same thing at the state level that he's done at the federal level.''

McCain adviser Carly Fiorina said of Palin on CBS: ``This is a person of great accomplishment. I have heard from many women and they are truly excited about this pick.''

McCain contrasted what he said was Palin's willingness to take on senior Alaskan Republicans like Murkowski and Senator Ted Stevens with Obama's record.

A phone call to Palin spokesman Sharon Leighow requesting comment wasn't immediately returned.

`Executive by Nature'

Alaska Lieutenant Governor Sean Parnell defended Palin's readiness to serve as vice president. ``Of course she is,'' he told reporters on an Aug. 29 conference call. ``She is an executive by nature.''

Palin spokesman Bill McAllister said on the same call that Palin is older than John F. Kennedy was when he ran for president in 1960 and that ``of four people on two national tickets, she is the only one with executive experience.''

McCain, on Fox today, also sought to contrast Palin with his Democratic rival.

``Senator Obama has never taken on the leaders of his party,'' McCain said. ``She's been an independent spirit that has taken them on at every opportunity.''

Home-state newspapers have questioned McCain's choice. An Aug. 29 editorial in the Fairbanks News-Miner newspaper also raised questions about Palin's readiness for national office.

``Most people would acknowledge that, regardless of her charm and good intentions, Palin is not ready for the top job,'' the newspaper wrote. ``McCain seems to have put his political interests ahead of the nation's when he created the possibility that she might fill it.''

The Anchorage Daily News, the state's largest paper, noted in an editorial that Palin is enmeshed in a legislative investigation of her July 11 firing of the state's public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan. He has since asserted that he received pressure from Palin's family and administration to fire a state trooper involved in a contentious divorce from Palin's sister.

Kerry attacks Palin as "Cheney-esque"


Politico

Democrats have come up with a new line of attack line against John McCain's running mate Sarah Palin, saying she's another Dick Cheney. Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) described Palin as a member of the "flat-earth caucus," who McCain picked purely to please the conservative base.

"With the choice of Gov. Palin, it’s the third term of Dick Cheney," Kerry said on ABC News' "This Week." "He’s chosen somebody who doesn’t believe climate change is man-made."

Kerry added that Hillary Rodham Clinton supporters should be offended if people suggest Palin was selected to draw some of the female vote away from the Barack Obama-Joe Biden ticket.


"It’s almost insulting to the Hillary supporters," Kerry said, calling Palin a "Cheneyesque social conservative who’s going to satisfy the base. John McCain is a prisoner of the right wing, not a maverick."

2 dead from chemical exposure at US plant

EAST ST. LOUIS, Illinois - Two people have died after exposure to a dangerous chemical at a storage and mixing plant, a city official said Sunday.

At least eight people were sickened by exposure to the chemical on Saturday, and emergency rooms were quarantined at two St. Louis hospitals where those people sought treatment.

In a statement issued early Sunday, East St. Louis City Manager Robert Betts said two people had died.

The chemical was released when a barrel was dropped at the Ro-Corp. plant. The lid popped off the barrel and a white powder came out, said Fire Chief Jim Silvernail from Mehlville, Missouri.

"It's like what would happen if you drop flour - it got all over them," Silvernail said.

The eight men who were at the plant sought treatment at several hospitals in the area, with some of them driving themselves, officials said.

Betts told KSDK-TV in St. Louis that the FBI would investigate because of the nature of the exposure. He said it was not certain that the employees had permission to be at the company on a Saturday.

Authorities were "99 percent" certain the chemical was nitroaniline, a highly toxic material.

Nitroaniline is commonly used in the synthesis of dyes, antioxidants, pharmaceuticals, gasoline, poultry medicines, and as a corrosion inhibitor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Web site says it can cause vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, respiratory arrest and other symptoms and ailments.

There was no immediate comment from Ro-Corp. Calls to its office in East St. Louis went unanswered Sunday. A company Web site says Ro-Corp is a packaging/repackaging facility for dry materials.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin is the 12th cousin of John McCain......

Sarah Palin is the 12th cousin of John McCain, 8th cousin of George W. Bush and 10th cousin of Barack Obama.


Click on the "Pedigree" for each one. You can then click on "Display pedigree in text format" to see the extended pedigree for each person.

Media Matters Daily Summary 08-30-08

CBS' Schieffer asserted Palin was "against earmarks" and "bridge to nowhere" without noting her earmark requests, previous reported support for bridge
On the CBS Evening News, Bob Schieffer asserted that Gov. Sarah Palin is "[s]omeone, you know, who is against earmarks, who is against that bridge to nowhere." But Palin's administration has said it requested federal earmarks in 2008, and she reportedly initially supported the so-called "bridge to nowhere" project. Read More

Morris flip-flops on whether Palin has enough experience to be McCain's running mate
On August 29, Dick Morris said of Gov. Sarah Palin: "[I]t's OK if the Republicans nominated somebody for vice president who needs a little warm-up time 'til they become president." But discussing Palin on June 16, Morris said that Sen. John McCain "needs someone with a little more experience" for vice president. Read More

Offering no evidence, NY Times' Brooks claimed Palin "pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues," "talks about global warming quite a lot"
New York Times columnist David Brooks asserted of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin: "She's evangelical, but she's pretty progressive on gay and lesbian issues. She's for drilling in ANWR [Arctic National Wildlife Refuge], but she talks about global warming quite a lot." But Palin has reportedly said of global warming, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being man-made," a position at odds with findings by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; she has also reportedly opposed giving spousal benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. Read More

NRO's Pollowitz falsely claimed Palin visited troops in Kuwait "a year before" Obama "felt the need to go"
National Review Online's Greg Pollowitz falsely claimed that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin visited troops in Kuwait "a year before Senator [Barack] Obama felt the need to go." In fact, Obama first visited troops in Kuwait in January 2006, a year and a half before Palin's visit. Read More

FRANK RICH: Obama Outwits the Bloviators

NYT


STOP the presses! This election isn’t about the Clintons after all. It isn’t about the Acropolis columns erected at Invesco Field. It isn’t about who is Paris Hilton and who is Hanoi Hilton. (Though it may yet be about who is Sarah Palin.) After a weeklong orgy of inane manufactured melodrama labeled “convention coverage” on television, Barack Obama descended in classic deus ex machina fashion — yes, that’s Greek too — to set the record straight. America is in too much trouble, he said, to indulge in “a big election about small things.”

As has been universally noted, Obama did what he had to do in his acceptance speech. He scrapped the messianic “Change We Can Believe In” for the more concrete policy litany of “The Change We Need.” He bared his glinting Chicago pol’s teeth to John McCain. Obama’s still a skinny guy, but the gladiatorial arena and his eagerness to stand up to bullies (foreign and Republican) made him a plausible Denver Bronco. All week long a media chorus had fretted whether he could pull off a potentially vainglorious stunt before 80,000 screaming fans. Well, yes he can, and so he did.

But was this a surprise? Hardly. No major Obama speech — each breathlessly hyped in advance as do-or-die and as the “the most important of his career” — has been a disaster; most have been triples or home runs, if not grand slams. What is most surprising is how astonished the press still is at each Groundhog Day’s replay of the identical outcome. Indeed, the disconnect between the reality of this campaign and how it is perceived and presented by the mainstream media is now a major part of the year’s story. The press dysfunction is itself a window into the unstable dynamics of Election 2008.

At the Democratic convention, as during primary season, almost every oversold plotline was wrong. Those Hillary dead-enders — played on TV by a fringe posse of women roaming Denver in search of camera time — would re-enact Chicago 1968. With Hillary’s tacit approval, the roll call would devolve into a classic Democratic civil war. Sulky Bill would wreak havoc once center stage.

On TV, each of these hot-air balloons was inflated nonstop right up to the moment they were punctured by reality, at which point the assembled bloviators once more expressed shock, shock at the unexpected denouement. They hadn’t been so surprised since they discovered that Obama was not too black to get white votes, not too white to win black votes, and not too inexperienced to thwart the inevitable triumph of the incomparably well-organized and well-financed Clinton machine.

Meanwhile, the candidate known as “No Drama Obama” because of his personal cool was stealthily hatching a drama of his own. As the various commentators pronounced the convention flat last week — too few McCain attacks on opening night, too “minimalist” a Hillary endorsement on Tuesday, and so forth — Obama held his cards to his chest backstage and built slowly, step by step, to his Thursday night climax. The dramatic arc was as meticulously calibrated as every Obama political strategy.

His campaign, unlike TV’s fantasists, knew the simple truth. The New York Times/CBS News poll conducted on the eve of the convention found that the Democrats were no more divided than the G.O.P: In both parties, 79 percent of voters supported their respective nominees. The simultaneous Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll also found that 79 percent of Democrats support Obama — which, as Amy Walter of National Journal alone noticed, is slightly higher than either John Kerry and Al Gore fared on that same question (77 percent) in that same poll just before their conventions.

But empirical evidence can’t compete with a favorite golden oldie like the Clinton soap opera. So when Hillary Clinton said a month ago that her delegates needed a “catharsis,” surely she had to be laying the groundwork for convention mischief. But it was never in either Clinton’s interest to sabotage Obama. Hillary Clinton’s Tuesday speech, arguably the best of her career, was as much about her own desire to reconcile with the alienated Obama Democrats she might need someday as it was about releasing her supporters to Obama. The Clintons never do stop thinking about tomorrow.

The latest good luck for the Democrats is that the McCain campaign was just as bamboozled as the press by the false Hillary narrative. McCain was obviously itching to choose his pal Joe Lieberman as his running mate. A onetime Democrat who breaks with the G.O.P. by supporting abortion rights might have rebooted his lost maverick cred more forcefully than Palin, who is cracking this particular glass ceiling nearly a quarter-century after the Democrats got there first. Lieberman might have even been of some use in roiling the Obama-Hillary-Bill juggernaut that will now storm through South Florida.

The main reason McCain knuckled under to the religious right by picking Palin is that he actually believes there’s a large army of embittered Hillary loyalists who will vote for a hard-line conservative simply because she’s a woman. That’s what happens when you listen to the TV news echo chamber. Not only is the whole premise ludicrous, but it is every bit as sexist as the crude joke McCain notoriously told about Janet Reno, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

Given the press’s track record so far, there’s no reason to believe that the bogus scenarios will stop now. The question of why this keeps happening is not easily answered. Ideological bias, unshakeable Clinton addiction and lingering McCain affection may not account for all or even most of it. Journalists are still Americans — even if much of our audience doubts that — and in this time of grave uncertainty about our nation’s future we may simply be as discombobulated as everyone else.

We, too, are made anxious and fearful by hard economic times and the prospect of wrenching change. YouTube, the medium that has transformed our culture and politics, didn’t exist four years ago. Four years from now, it’s entirely possible that some, even many, of the newspapers and magazines covering this campaign won’t exist in their current form, if they exist at all. The Big Three network evening newscasts, and network news divisions as we now know them, may also be extinct by then.

It is a telling sign that CBS News didn’t invest in the usual sky box for its anchor, Katie Couric, in Denver. It is equally telling that CNN consistently beat ABC and CBS in last week’s Nielsen ratings, and NBC as well by week’s end. But now that media are being transformed at a speed comparable to the ever-doubling power of microchips, cable’s ascendancy could also be as short-lived as, say, the reign of AOL. Andrew Rasiej, the founder of Personal Democracy Forum, which monitors the intersection of politics and technology, points out that when networks judge their success by who got the biggest share of the television audience, “they are still counting horses while the world has moved on to counting locomotives.” The Web, in its infinite iterations, is eroding all 20th-century media.

The Obama campaign has long been on board those digital locomotives. Its ability to tell its story under the radar of the mainstream press in part accounts for why the Obama surge has been so often underestimated. Even now we’re uncertain of its size. The extraordinary TV viewership for Obama on Thursday night, larger than the Olympics opening ceremony, this year’s Oscars or any “American Idol” finale, may only be a count of the horses. The Obama campaign’s full reach online — for viewers as well as fund-raising and organizational networking — remains unknown.

None of this, any more than the success of Obama’s acceptance speech, guarantees a Democratic victory. But what it does ensure is that all bets are off when it comes to predicting this race’s outcome. Despite our repeated attempts to see this election through the prism of those of recent and not-so-recent memory, it keeps defying the templates. Last week’s convention couldn’t be turned into a replay of the 1960s no matter how hard the press tried to sell the die-hard Hillary supporters as reincarnations of past rebel factions, from the Dixiecrats to the antiwar left. Far from being a descendant of 1968, the 2008 Democratic gathering was the first in memory that actually kept promptly to its schedule and avoided ludicrous P.C. pandering to every constituency.

Nor were we back at Aug. 28, 1963. As a 14-year-old in Washington, I was there on the Mall, taken by my mother, a tireless teacher, with the hope that I might learn something. At a time when the nation’s capital, with its large black population, was still a year away from casting its first votes for president, who would have imagined that a black man might someday have a serious chance of being elected president? Not me.

But even as we stop, take a deep breath and savor this remarkable moment in our history, we cannot linger. This is quite another time. After the catastrophic Bush presidency, the troubles that afflict us on nearly every front almost make you nostalgic for the day when America’s gravest problems could still be seen in blacks and whites.

As Obama said, this is a big election. We will only begin to confront the magnitude of our choice when and if we stop being distracted by small, let alone utterly fictitious, things.

Barack Obama answers 14 top science questions

Answers show plans to tackle some of the toughest challenges facing America

Washington (August 30, 2008) – Barack Obama today answered the 14 top science questions facing America, according to ScienceDebate2008.com, the group leading the effort to make key science issues a larger part of the election.

“Most of America’s major unsolved challenges revolve around these 14 questions. To move America forward, the next president needs a substantive plan for tackling them going in, and voters deserve to know what that plan is,” said Shawn Otto, CEO of the initiative. “We’re pleased that Senator Obama has provided voters with that substantive plan, and we’re hoping for similarly thoughtful responses from Senator McCain.”

Senator Obama’s full responses can be found here.

The top 14 questions address energy policy, national security, economics in a science-driven global economy, climate change, education, health care, ocean health, biosecurity, clean water, space, stem cells, scientific integrity, genetics, and research.

The 14 questions were developed from over 3,400 questions submitted by more than 38,000 signers of the ScienceDebate2008 initiative. The questionnaire is a joint effort led by ScienceDebate2008, with Scientists and Engineers for America, AAAS, the National Academies, the Council on Competitiveness, and several other organizations, together representing over 125 million voters.

“Ensuring that the U.S. continues to lead the world in science and technology will be a central priority for my administration,” said Senator Obama. “Our talent for innovation is still the envy of the world, but we face unprecedented challenges that demand new approaches.”

Recent national polls have shown that 85% of voters would like the see the candidates debate these challenges, and the majority of voters are much more likely to vote for a candidate that has a plan for tackling these issues.

“We are grateful for Senator Obama's detailed responses and look forward to receiving the same from Senator McCain,” said Matthew Chapman, president of the initiative. “After that we hope the candidates will want to discuss their differences. Science Debate 2008 and its partners once again extend an invitation to both candidates to attend a televised debate or forum where these vital issues can be discussed in front of a broader audience.”

ScienceDebate2008.com is a citizens initiative started by six individuals whose signers now include nearly every major American science organization, the presidents of nearly every major American university, and dozens of Nobel laureates and top American CEOs. For more information, to see a list of the signers, or to see the results of the national polls, please visit http://www.sciencedebate2008.com

GOP Asks 'Chicago Tribune' Not to Publish Errant 'Rush Limbaugh' Email -- Doesn't Stop Paper

NEW YORK - What to do when you are mistakenly sent a highly provocative, even distasteful, email from a political party staffer and are then asked not to publish its contents? The issue came up again today when the Chicago Tribune received an email from a GOP staffer regarding a suggestion that the party post something on YouTube regarding a radio comment by Rush Limbaugh related to Sarah Palin's new baby and Barack Obama's view of abortion.

Here is an excerpt from a posting today on the Tribune's popular blog, The Swamp, by Andrew Zajac.
*

Conservative radio commentator Rush Limbaugh boosted Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's pro-life position and mocked Barack Obama on his radio show yesterday with a make-believe riff in which Obama asked Palin "When you found out your baby would be born with Down syndrome, did you consider killing it before or after the due date?"

Limbaugh's "humor" caught the fancy of the Republican National Committee, which, in an internal e-mail, proposed using the bit in a YouTube clip.

The e-mail, which was sent to RNC Communications Director Danny Diaz, and mistakenly to a Tribune reporter, was titled "wow...good YouTube potential..."

In a statement, an RNC spokesman said, "A staffer with separate responsibilities made a poor recommendation that was not heeded. The individual has been spoken to and this will not occur again."

The staffer who wrote the message said the obvious -- that it was sent to the wrong person -- but otherwise declined to discuss it.

Diaz asked The Swamp not to post the message and said the RNC had not and would not act on the suggestion, but otherwise declined to talk about it on the record.

There's a time to honor requests to disregard misdirected email, but this isn't one of them.

The note is a good illustration of how campaigns really work and helps to explain why many people think the national political discourse is noxious.

The official McCain campaign, and the official Obama campaign for that matter, generally take the high road, rarely getting down and dirty.

Limbaugh and his ilk in talk radio and the blogosphere, on the right and left, are, officially, independent actors. So when they veer into coarse or offensive commentary, campaigns shrug, 'What can we do? We don't control them.'

They could repudiate ugly comment. But that rarely happens.

What does happen, as yesterday's errant RNC notes illustrates, is campaigns look for a benefit, furtively.

Surprise? First Two National Polls Find Palin Gains LESS Support from Women

Editor and Publisher

NEW YORK The first national polls on John McCain's pick of Sarah Palin yesterday came out today from Rasmussen and Gallup -- and contrary to what the GOP probably hoped, she scored less well with women than men.

Here's a finding from Gallup: Among Democratic women -- including those who may be disappointed that Hillary Clinton did not win the Democratic nomination -- 9% say Palin makes them more likely to support McCain, 15% less likely.

From Rasmussen: Some 38% of men said they were more likely to vote for McCain now, but only 32% of women. By a narrow 41% to 35% margin, men said she was not ready to be president -- but women soundly rejected her, 48% to 25%.

Only 9% of Obama supporters said they might be more likely to vote for McCain.

Overall, voters expressed a favorable impression of her by a 53/26 margin, but there was a severe gender gap on this: Men embraced her at 58% to 23%, while for women it was 48/30.

And by a 29/44 margin, men and women together, they do not believe that she is ready to be President.

As for voters not affiliated with either major party, 37% are more likely to vote for McCain and 28% less likely to do so.

Gallup is now out with its own initial poll. It also shows women with a slightly less favorable view of Palin. An excerpt from USA Today:

There is wide uncertainty about whether she's qualified to be president. In the poll, taken Friday, 39% say she is ready to serve as president if needed, 33% say she isn't and 29% have no opinion.

That's the lowest vote of confidence in a running mate since the elder George Bush chose then-Indiana senator Dan Quayle to join his ticket in 1988. In comparison, Delaware Sen. Joe Biden was seen as qualified by 57%-18% after Democrat Barack Obama chose him as a running mate last week.....

Among all those surveyed, 35% call Obama's speech at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium Thursday night excellent, 23% good, 15% "just OK," 3% poor and 4% "terrible." Sixteen percent say they didn't see it and 14% have no opinion. That's higher than the ratings for acceptance speeches by President Bush and Democrat John Kerry in 2004, by Bush and Democrat Al Gore in 2000 and by Republican Bob Dole in 1996.

Asked about the Democratic convention's impact, 43% say it makes them more likely to vote for Obama, 29% less likely. Nineteen percent say it won't make a difference.

When Karl Rove Praises Palin Remember this ....

August 10, Karl Rove went on “Face The Nation” to argue that Senator Obama would make an “intensely political choice” for Vice President without regard for the “responsibilities of president.” At the time, Rove believed Obama would choose Tim Kaine, and argued against him by saying this:
With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he’s been a governor for three years, he’s been able but undistinguished. I don’t think people could really name a big, important thing that he’s done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it’s smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It’s not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I’m really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?

Mayor Palin a Master of Bush Economics, Leaves Wasilla $20m in Debt

Politico

Mayoral performance. Palin, who portrays herself as a fiscal conservative, racked up nearly $20 million in long-term debt as mayor of the tiny town of Wasilla — that amounts to $3,000 per resident. She argues that the debt was needed to fund improvements.

Intrade Prediction Market - Obama vs McCain 08-30-08

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Palin Was Excited That Obama Was Edging Ahead Of McCain In Alaska


The New Yorker

Before she was running against him, Sarah Palin—the governor of Alaska and now the Republican candidate for Vice-President of the United States—thought it was pretty neat that Barack Obama was edging ahead of John McCain in her usually solidly red state. After all, she said, Obama’s campaign was using the same sort of language that she had in her gubernatorial race. “The theme of our campaign was ‘new energy,’ ” she said recently. “It was no more status quo, no more politics as usual, it was all about change.

So then to see that Obama—literally, part of his campaign uses those themes, even, new energy, change, all that, I think, O.K., well, we were a little bit ahead on that.” She also noted, “Something’s kind of changing here in Alaska, too, for being such a red state on the Presidential level. Obama’s doing just fine in polls up here, which is kind of wigging people out, because they’re saying, ‘This hasn’t happened for decades that in polls the D’ ”—the Democratic candidate—“ ‘is doing just fine.’ To me, that’s indicative, too. It’s the no-more-status-quo, it’s change.”

This was two weeks ago, at the statehouse in Juneau...............

Palin supported the "Bridge to Nowhere"

October 5, 2006, Anchorage Daily News article, Palin supported the bridge project during a 2006 gubernatorial debate:

As for the infamous "bridges to nowhere," [debate moderator Steve] MacDonald asked if the candidates would forge ahead with the proposed Knik Arm crossing between Anchorage and Point MacKenzie and Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge. Each has received more than $90 million in federal funding and drew nationwide attacks as being unnecessary and expensive. He also asked if they support building an access road from Juneau toward -- but not completely connecting to -- Skagway and Haines.

"I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations worked hard for," Palin said. She said the projects link communities and create jobs.

Still, Palin warned that the flow of federal money into the state for such projects is going to slow.

Further, an October 20, 2006, Associated Press article (accessed from the Nexis database), reported that "Republican Sarah Palin's spokesman, Curtis Smith, said Palin supports the Ketchikan bridge project."

Additionally, a September 21, 2007, press release announcing that she had "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" also included the following comment from Palin:

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," said Governor Palin. "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," Governor Palin added. "Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

McCain Campaign Sending Investigators to Alaska to Check Into Palin’s Troopergate: Did these idiots not vet her?

Firedog Lake

A very reliable source overheard Republican spokesperson McHugh Pierre state TODAY that he had spoken to the McCain Campaign. They are coming to Alaska tomorrow to check out the "Troopergate" investigation.

As she points out, this rather suggests that the campaign didn't vet her properly. Troopergage has been ongoing for some time, even a cursory Google search would have told them they had a problem.

So much for either "judgement" or, given McCain's inability to use the web, his staff choices. Who does he have advising him, and is it they who are incompetent, or did they warn him and he ignored them? Either way it's not so much Palin whose fitness is in question, it's the man who made the decision to make her his running mate: John McCain