Appearing on “The View” today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) falsely claimed that Sarah Palin never requested earmarks as the governor of Alaska. “Not as governor she didn’t,” McCain told Barbara Walters after she noted Palin “took some earmarks”:
WALTERS: What is she going to reform specifically, senator?
MCCAIN: Well, first of all, earmark spending, which she vetoed a half a billion dollars worth in the state of Alaska.
WALTERS: She also took some earmarks there.
BEHAR: A lot.
MCCAIN: No, not as governor she didn’t, she vetoed…
WALTERS: As Mayor.
MCCAIN: Well, look, the fact is that she was a reform governor.
McCain’s claim that Palin never accepted earmarks as the governor of Alaska is divorced from reality. In fact, she actively sought them:
— Though Palin did reduce Alaska’s earmark requests, “in her two years in office, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.”
— In March 2008, Palin wrote an op-ed in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, saying that her “role at the federal level is simply to submit the most well-conceived earmark requests we can” and that her reduction of requests was a response “to the changing circumstances in Congress.”
— In February 2008, Palin’s office sent Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) “a 70-page memo outlining almost $200 million worth of new funding requests for the state.”
— In her most recent earmark requests, “Palin requested millions of federal dollars for everything from improving recreational halibut fishing to studying the mating habits of crabs and the DNA of harbor seals.”
As ThinkProgress has noted, Palin has requested earmarks of the very type that McCain routinely mocks while on the campaign trail. As Walters pointed out, Palin was also a big fan of congressional pork as the Mayor of Wasilla, even hiring a lobbyist to help secure them.