This morning on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) cited Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-AK) 2007 cancellation of the so-called “Bridge to Nowhere” as one reason he selected her as his running mate. McCain repeated the increasingly common right-wing myth that Palin opposed the $400 million dollar project. Host Chris Wallace did not challenge McCain’s characterization.
On ABC’s This Week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) similarly argued that Palin is a reformer because she supposedly said, “I’m not going to build a Bridge to Nowhere.” This Week host George Stephanopoulos pointed out that Graham’s claim is false:
GRAHAM: To go in her state and say ‘I’m not going to build a bridge to nowhere’ — a $400 – $400 million appropriation that was passed by brute force in the Congress by two senior members of the congressional delegation, very powerful figures in Washington. And for her to say, ‘We’re not going to do this because its not necessary and its wasteful,’ to take on your own Republican party —
STEPHANOPOULOS: But Senator, she turned against that, only she campaigned for it in her 2006 race, and turned against it in 2007 only after it became a national joke.
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When she first introduced herself as McCain’s running mate, Palin also lied about her support for the project. But as Stephanopoulos notes,the claim made by McCain and Graham that Palin opposed the Bridge to Nowhere is patently false.
In reality, Palin strongly supported the bridge project. During her 2006 run for governor, the Anchorage Daily News interviewed Palin. At the time, federal funding for the bridge had been stripped by Congress. The paper asked if she was in favor of continuing state funding for the project. “Yes,” she responded, noting specifically her desire to renew congressional support:
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 Palin finally canceled the project in 2007, she expressed regret that Congress had not been more forthcoming with federal funding. Moreover, as recently as March 2008, her administration was publicly defending its frequent requests for the same kind of earmark spending that McCain himself often rails against.
Media Matters notes that in a 2006 gubernatorial debate, Palin responded to a question about the Bridge to Nowhere saying, “I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations worked hard for.”