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Sarah Palin or Pinocchio Palin?

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By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.
Some examples:

PALIN: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing
wasteful spending … and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark
spending by Congress. I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for
that Bridge to Nowhere.”

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and
traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town
totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has
requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the
largest per-capita request in the nation.
While Palin notes
she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an
island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only
after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a “bridge to nowhere.”

PALIN: “There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But
listening to him speak, it’s easy to forget that this is a man who has
authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in
the state senate.”

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate,
Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with
Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept
illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy
conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year.
To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of
Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy
voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big,
contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police
and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty
cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform
legislation.

PALIN: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise
income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise
the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the
American people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the
Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama’s
plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by
about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain’s plan,
which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income
for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor
workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax
Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes
on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with
incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small
businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

The AP report also showed how Palin’s champions have exaggerated the Alaskan governor’s ‘acheivements’:

MCCAIN: “She’s been governor of our largest state, in
charge of 20 percent of America’s energy supply … She’s responsible for
20 percent of the nation’s energy supply. I’m entertained by the
comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a
political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the
largest state in America,” he said in an interview with ABC News’
Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain’s phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is
governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil
production, but she’s no more “responsible” for that resource than
President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing
state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she
did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the
largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the
47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: “She’s the commander of the Alaska National Guard. … She has
been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary
responsibilities,” he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units,
that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military
service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for
example, they assume those duties under “federal status,” which means
they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska’s
national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the
smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin “got more votes running
for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president
of the United States.”

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor’s
election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of
1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he
still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where
he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: “We need change, all right —
change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have
a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington —
throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah
Palin.”

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a
conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And
until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January
2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.

[Image via AP.]

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