On MSNBC today, Norah O’Donnell asked Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) if Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was misspeaking or distorting the facts when he falsely claimed on “The View” today that Sarah Palin never asked for an earmark as the governor of Alaska. “The proof is in the pudding,” replied Cantor. “And the fact is Sarah Palin, when she was governor of Alaska, rejected the monies that came from Washington to construct the Bridge to Nowhere.” Watch it:
In fact, Palin never “rejected” the funds from Congress. While Congress killed federal funding for the bridge in November 2005, Palin supported continuing the project when she ran for governor in 2006. When she finally let it die in September 2007, she lamented that Congress had “little interest in spending any more money” on the Bridge to Nowhere. The McCain campaign has now repeated this lie 31 times:
Cantor also claimed that “Palin rejected the earmarking that went on here in Washington,” but, as ThinkProgress noted earlier today, in her two years as governor, Palin “requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation.”
O’DONNELL: Let me ask you about, John McCain was on “The View” today with the ladies of “The View” in New York, also along with his wife, Cindy McCain. McCain said in that interview that Sarah Palin, his running mate, the governor of Alaska, has never asked for lawmakers pet projects as governor. But in fact as governor she requested $200 million in earmarks. Did he misspeak or did he distort?
CANTOR: No, you know, I think the proof, the proof is in the pudding, and the fact is that Sarah Palin, when she was governor of Alaska, rejected the monies that came from Washington to construct the Bridge to Nowhere. She has said repeatedly that Alaska did not need that money, they did not that bridge, and if they ever need that bridge, they will build it themselves.
O’DONNELL: Congressman, are you saying that she sent the money back to Washington? Is that what you’re saying?
CANTOR: No, I think Sarah Palin has said that she does not think it appropriate for federal tax payer dollars to be used to construct a Bridge to Nowhere.
O’DONNELL: I just want to be clear on that because she did initially support the Bridge to Nowhere then she said the bridge was not a good idea. But she did not send the money back to Washington, so I just want to be clear on that.
CANTOR: Well, again, transportation dollars flow to the states and are then allocated according to state formulas, state priorities. I believe and do not know, though, that the Bridge to Nowhere was not a priority for the Alaskan people and therefore I don’t know how Alaska then distributes it’s money. But I think it’s very clear that Governor Palin rejected the earmarking that went on here in Washington, which really did not reflect the will of the Alaskan people.