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Fox’s Campaign Carl Claims ‘You Can’t Dispute’ That Palin Was ‘Against’ The Bridge To Nowhere

By Matt Corley on September 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm

"Fox’s Campaign Carl Claims ‘You Can’t Dispute’ That Palin Was ‘Against’ The Bridge To Nowhere"

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Earlier today, the McCain campaign released an ad pushing the debunked claim that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “stopped the Bridge to Nowhere.” The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz called the ad’s bridge claim a “whopper,” noting that “she endorsed the remote project while running for governor in 2006.”

But Fox News political reporter Carl Cameron defended the ad’s claim. Though Cameron notes that Palin spoke “very favorably” of the project before becoming governor, he declared that “Palin can point to a number of things she did and said that made it clear that in the end she was against it.” “You can’t dispute that,” said Cameron:

CAMERON: The Obama campaign is accusing the McCainiacs of lying about this “bridge to nowhere” issue. But Sarah Palin can point to a number of things she did and said that made it clear that in the end she was against it. You can’t dispute that, she ultimately told legislators in Alaska, it’s not coming. But there was a time before she was governor, as a candidate, where she spoke favorably about it.

Cameron went on to claim that it’s “inaccurate” to say Palin “asked for earmark money and pork” because “it’s done by members of Congress.” Watch it:

As ThinkProgress has noted, the reality is that Palin supported the bridge before reluctantly ending the project when it was “clear” that Congress had “little interest in spending any more money” on the bridge. As the AP notes in a fact check, Palin made the decision only “after federal dollars for the project were pulled back and diverted to other uses in Alaska.”

As for Cameron’s claim that it is “inaccurate” to say Palin “asked for earmark money,” the AP notes that “as mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million.” This past February, “Palin’s office sent Sen. [Ted] Stevens a 70-page memo outlining almost $200 million worth of new funding requests for the state.”

Check out our new Lies to Nowhere document.

Transcript:

CAMERON: Oh, it’s not an easy one to straighten out at all, John. There’s a lot of sort of nuance involved in how this plays out. Back when Sarah Palin was the Mayor of Wasilla in Alaska and the bridge was beginning to be the buzz of congressional spending, she spoke very favorably about it. When she was a candidate for governor, she said that there needed to be a link between Ketchikan, the city in Alaska, and a tiny little island, Gravina Island, which had about 50 residents and an airport. She said that there needed to be a link. But political winds began to turn, this $400 million congressional project, dubbed “The Bridge to Nowhere,” became unpopular. The political rhetoric, the din rose, and as it did, it became clear that the federal government wasn’t going to send all of the money for it. And with that change so too did change Sarah Palin’s rhetoric and ultimately, as a candidate for governor, she began to say that she didn’t want Alaska bad mouthed, but it was clear that the federal government wasn’t going to come through with the money, so it was time to look elsewhere.

She did continue to say that there should be some sort of an access and that is why the Democrats have called this ad a lie. They’ve used the L word, John, 58 days before elections and the Obama campaign is accusing the McCainiacs of lying about this Bridge to Nowhere issue. But Sarah Palin can point to a number of things she did and said that made it clear that in the end she was against it. You can’t dispute that, she ultimately told legislators in Alaska, it’s not coming. But there was a time before she was governor, as a candidate, where she spoke favorably about it.

Now, she didn’t ask for the bridge, nor did she ask for the money. It’s very important to understand in earmark discussions, John, governors and state officials don’t ask for federal money. That’s done by senators and congressmen. So, when people say Sarah Palin asked for earmark money and pork, it’s just inaccurate, it’s done by members of Congress.

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