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The Sarah Palin Digest

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"The Sarah Palin Digest"

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ThinkProgress has put together a document compiling what we know about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R), Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) vice presidential running mate. Here are the issues:

* Big Oil
* Civil Rights
* Earmarks
* Economy
* Energy
* Environment
* Ethics
* Foreign Policy
* Health Care
* Radical Right
* Science
* Troopergate
* Women’s Rights

Click here to comment on this report.

ON FOREIGN POLICY

Palin Hasn’t Given The War In Iraq Much Thought. Palin told the Alaska Business Monthly, “I’ve been so focused on state government, I haven’t really focused much on the war in Iraq. I heard on the news about the new deployments, and while I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place.” [Alaska Business Monthly, 3/1/07]

Palin Has Never Been To Iraq. In her only trip overseas, Palin visited Alaska National Guard troops stationed in Kuwait and Germany in July 2007. [AP, 7/25/07]

Palin Believes That The Iraq War Is A Task ‘From God.’ Speaking at the Wasilla Assembly of God church in June, Palin said that “our leaders, our national leaders, are sending [U.S. soldiers] out on a task that is from God.” [Huffington Post, 9/2/08]

Palin Believes The Iraq War Was Fought Over Oil. “We are a nation at war and in many [ways] the reasons for war are fights over energy sources,” Palin told BusinessWeek in an interview. [BusinessWeek, 8/29/08]

Palin Didn’t Have A Passport Until 2007. Palin first obtained a passport in July 2007 for her trip to Kuwait and Germany to visit Alaska National Guard troops. Her only other trips outside of the United States have been to Canada and Mexico. A Palin spokeswoman had previously said that Palin had also been to Ireland, although it was actually just a “refueling stop” on her Germany/Kuwait trip. [New York Times, 8/29/08; Politico, 9/2/08; ABC News, 9/12/08]

Palin Has Never Issued An Order To The Alaska National Guard. Maj. Gen. Craig Campbell, the service commander of the Alaska National Guard, has stated that Palin has never personally ordered the National Guard to do anything. [McClatchy, 9/4/08]

Palin Is Unaware Of The Bush Doctrine. During an interview with ABC’s Charlie Gibson, Palin was stumped about the Bush Doctrine, thinking it was the President’s “worldview.” [ABC News, 9/11/08]

ON EARMARKS

Palin Supported The Bridge To Nowhere. During her unveiling as McCain’s running mate, Palin claimed that she said, “Thanks, but no thanks” to federal funding for the Bridge to Nowhere. But in her 2006 campaign for governor, Palin repeatedly expressed support for the bridge project, saying Alaska should take advantage of earmarks “while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist.” [Anchorage Daily News, 10/22/06; Ketchikan Daily News, 8/9/06, 11/21/06]

Palin Obtained $27 Million In Earmarks As Mayor Of Wasilla. As mayor of Wasilla, AK, Palin “hired a private lobbyist to help the tiny town secure earmarks from [Sen. Ted] Stevens.” “The town obtained 14 earmarks, totaling $27 million between 2000-2003.” [Associated Press, 9/3/08]

ON THE ENVIRONMENT

Palin Denies Man-Made Global Warming. When asked for her “take on global warming,” Palin replied, “A changing environment will affect Alaska more than any other state, because of our location. I’m not one though who would attribute it to being man-made.” [Newsmax, 08/29/08]

Palin Says She’s Not A ‘Doom-And-Gloom Environmentalist’ Who Blames Global Warming On ‘Human Activity.’ “I’m not an Al Gore, doom-and-gloom environmentalist blaming the changes in our climate on human activity, but I’m not going to put my head in the sand and pretend there aren’t changes.” [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 12/4/07]

Challenging ‘Uncertain Climate Models,’ Palin Is Suing To Lift Protected Status For Polar Bears. After a multi-year court battle, the Bush administration recognized in 2008 that polar bears are threatened with extinction by global warming. Announcing Alaska’s suit to block the listing, Palin said, “We believe that the listing was unwarranted and that it’s unprecedented to list a currently healthy population based on uncertain climate models.” [Reuters, 5/22/08]

Palin Established Illegal Fly-By Wolf Hunting Bounty. In 2007, Palin illegally established “a $150 bounty to the state sanctioned airborne wolf hunters as an added incentive to increase their kills,” soon overturned by the Alaska State Court. [Alaska Wildlife Alliance; Anchorage Daily News, 3/31/07]

ON ENERGY

Palin Is A Top Arctic Wildlife Refuge Drilling Advocate. Palin said she thinks McCain is “going to evolve into, eventually, supporting ANWR opening also” and “I’d like the opportunity to get to change his mind about ANWR.” [Kudlow & Co., 6/25/08]

Palin Opposes Lieberman’s Bill To Prevent Arctic Refuge Drilling. In a letter to Congress opposing the Arctic Wilderness Act (S. 2316), Palin wrote that “as a citizen of the United States” she believes “development [of the Refuge] should be authorized.” [Letter to Sen. Akaka, 11/9/07]

Palin Dismisses Alternative Energy. Palin said that “Congress needs to lift the ban on drilling” because “alternative-energy solutions are far from imminent and would require more than 10 years to develop.” [Charleston Post and Courier, 8/16/08]

Palin Believes It Is ‘God’s Will’ To Build A Natural Gas Pipeline. Speaking to the Wasilla Assembly of God church in June, Palin said, “I think God’s will has to be done in unifying people and companies to get that gas line built, so pray for that,” referring to a $30 billion national gas pipeline project. [Huffington Post, 9/2/08]

ON BIG OIL

Palin’s First Statewide Campaign Was Fueled By Veco. “While mayor of Wasilla, Palin ran for lieutenant governor in 2002. She gathered $5,000 — or about 10 percent of her campaign fund — from Veco officials or their wives along the way.” [Anchorage Daily News, 9/6/06]

Palin’s Inauguration Was Sponsored By BP. Beyond Petroleum Exploration Inc. is listed by the Alaska Inaugural Committee as a sponsor of Palin’s 2007 Governor’s Balls. [Alaska Inaugural Committee]

ON SCIENCE

Palin Supports Teaching Creationism In Public Schools. In a 2006 gubernatorial debate, Palin “said she thinks creationism should be taught alongside evolution in the state’s public classrooms.” But as governor, Palin kept her campaign pledge to not push the idea in the schools. [Anchorage Daily News, 10/27/06; AP, 9/4/08]

ON WOMEN’S RIGHTS

Palin Is A Member Of Anti-Abortion Group Feminists For Life. Palin is a member of an “anti-abortion group called Feminists for Life.” When running for governor in 2002, she “sent an e-mail to the anti-abortion Alaska Right to Life Board saying she was as ‘pro-life as any candidate can be’ and has ‘adamantly supported our cause since I first understood, as a child, the atrocity of abortion.’” [Anchorage Daily News, 8/6/08]

Palin Opposes Abortion Even In Cases Of Rape Or Incest. In 2006, Palin said that even if her daughter were raped, “I would choose life.” She said that she would support abortion only if the mother’s life were in danger. [Anchorage Daily News, 11/3/06]

Palin Slashed Funding To Help Teenage Mothers. Earlier this year, Palin used a line-item veto “to slash funding for a state program benefiting teen mothers in need of a place to live.” Funding for Covenant House Alaska, which provides transitional housing for teen mothers, was cut by 20 percent — from $5 million to $3.9 million. [Washington Post, 9/3/08]

Palin Supports Abstinence-Only Policies. In 2006, the Eagle Forum Alaska asked Palin whether she would “support funding for abstinence-until-marriage education.” Palin replied, “Yes, the explicit sex-ed programs will not find my support.” [Politico, 9/1/08]

Palin Supports Parental Consent Laws For Minors Seeking Abortions. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Palin was “disappointed lawmakers let a bill die requiring girls under 17 to get parental consent for an abortion. ‘My belief is parents have the right to know about the health and welfare of their children,’ she said.” [Anchorage Daily News, 8/14/08]

Palin Picketed Women Who Got Abortions. In 1996, Palin participated in “a boisterous picket line outside Dr. [Susan] Lemagie’s office,” an OBG-YN who challenged conservative efforts to severely restrict abortion services. [Salon, 9/15/08]

ON ETHICS

Palin’s Lobbyist Had ‘Close Ties’ To Don Young, Ted Stevens. “As mayor of Wasilla, however, Palin oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, an Anchorage-based law firm with close ties to Alaska’s most senior Republicans: Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts.” [9/2/08]

Palin’s Lobbyist Was Part Of ‘Team Abramoff.’ Steven Silver, the lobbyist Palin hired as Wasilla Mayor, also listed Jack Abramoff’s lobbying firm, Greenberg Traurig, as a client. Silver lobbied on issues similar to those headed up by Abramoff, including “Indian/Native American policy” and “legislation relating to gaming issues.” [TPMmuckracker, 9/2/08; Washington Post, 9/2/08]

Palin Served As Director Of ‘Ted Stevens Excellence In Public Service’ 527. Palin’s name was listed on 2003 incorporation papers of the “Ted Stevens Excellence in Public Service, Inc.,” a 527 group that could raise unlimited funds from corporate donors. She also “served as one of three directors until June 2005, when her name was replaced on state filings.” [Washington Post, 9/1/08]

State Employee Charged Palin With Ethics Violation. A state employee filed an ethics complaint alleging Palin tried to secure a job for one of her supporters. The complaint accused Palin and her top staffers of “breaking executive ethics branch and hiring rules. It centers on the hiring of surveyor Tom Lamal, who once co-hosted a Palin fundraiser, for a state right-of-way agent job in Fairbanks.” [Anchorage Daily News, 9/7/08]

Palin Forced Top Wasilla Employees To Resign As Loyalty Test. As Mayor of Wasilla in 1998, “asked all of the city’s top managers to resign in order to test their loyalty to her administration.”[Daily Sitka Sentenial, 10/28/06]

Palin Fired Police Chief For Not Fully Supporting Her. After becoming Mayor of Wasilla, Palin fired the city’s police chief, Irl Stambaugh, writing, “I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment.” Stambaugh charged that Palin fired him “because he stepped on the toes of Palin’s campaign contributors, including bar owners and the National Rifle Association.” [Anchorage Daily News, 2/1/97; ABC News, 9/3/08]

Palin Used Mayoral Office Resources For Campaigning. During her 2002 campaign for lieutenant governor, Palin ordered campaign materials from City Hall, had them delivered there, and used city employees on city-aid time to arrange campaign events. According to the Anchorage Daily News, there was “no indication she repaid the city for the incidental expenses the city incurred.” [Anchorage Daily News, 7/21/06]

Palin Billed Taxpayers For Nights Spent At Home. Palin billed the state for “312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.” She also charged for travel expenses to take her children and husband on “official out-of-town missions.” [Washington Post, 9/9/08]

ON TROOPERGATE

Ousted Former State Official Accused Palin Of Pressuring Him To Fire Trooper. Palin allegedly “tried to get a state trooper fired and she then fired the trooper’s boss because he wouldn’t act on her request.” Palin’s sister was involved in a “bitter child custody battle” with the trooper. [Anchorage Daily News, 7/18/08]

Palin’s Intial Denials Of Interference In Firing Were Proven False. Palin “previously said her administration didn’t exert pressure to get rid of trooper Mike Wooten,” but “an audio recording that shows an aide pressuring the Public Safety Department to fire a state trooper embroiled in a custody battle with her sister.” The McCain campaign now says Palin’s husband and members of her staff had made inquiries “about the appropriate Department of Public Safety procedures for dealing with someone they considered a dangerous person and rogue trooper.” [Anchorage Daily News, 8/14/08, 9/02/08]

Palin’s Lawyer In Investigation Is Also Her Personal Attorney. Thomas V. Van Flein, the lawyer Palin hired to defend her in the trooper investigation, is “representing Palin both personally and in her official capacity as governor.” The AP noted, “Depending on where the investigation leads, that could put him in a difficult situation if Palin’s interests and the interests of the public office diverge.” [AP, 9/02/08]

Palin Has Refused To Release E-mails, Citing ‘Executive Privilege.’ Palin has refused to release e-mails requested by the state’s trooper union, citing executive privilege. Questions have been raised, however, as to whether these documents are actually related to official business, since her husband was copied on some of them. [KTUU, 8/6/08; TPMmuckraker, 9/1/08]

ON THE RADICAL RIGHT

Palin Cheered On the Alaskan Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin “told members of the Alaskan Independence Party” — who advocate for a vote on secession from the union — to “keep up the good work” and “wished the party luck on what she called its ‘inspiring convention.’” Palin and her husband attended the party’s convention in 2000, and “for all but two months from 1995 to 2002, the governor’s husband was registered as an Alaskan Independence Party member.” George Clark, the vice chair of the party, claims that Palin was a member of the party “before she got the job as a mayor of a small town.” The McCain campaign denies the charge. [LA Times, 9/3/2008; ABC News, 9/1/2008]

Palin Welcomed The Hard-Right Candidacy Of Pat Buchanan. Palin reportedly supported Pat Buchanan’s 1999 presidential bid. When Buchanan visited Alaska in 1999, “[a]mong those sporting Buchanan buttons were Wasilla Mayor Sarah Palin and state Sen. Jerry Ward, R-Anchorage.” Buchanan said Palin “was a brigader in 1996 as was her husband, Chris, they were at a fundraiser for me.” The McCain campaign says Palin “never worked for any effort to elect” Buchanan. [The Nation, 8/29/08; ABC News, 8/30/08]

Palin Characterized Ron Paul As ‘Cool.’ During an interview with MTV in February, Palin called Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), who ran against McCain in the primaries, “cool.” “He’s a good guy,” she added. “He’s so independent. He’s independent of the party machine. I’m like, ‘Right on, so am I.’ ” [MTV News, 8/29/2008]

Palin Believes The Founding Fathers Wrote The Pledge Of Allegiance. In 2006, when asked by the Eagle Forum Alaska if she found the phrase “Under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance offensive, Palin replied, “Not on your life. If it was good enough for the founding fathers, its good enough for me.” But the words “Under God” didn’t appear in the Pledge until 1954. The Pledge itself wasn’t written until 1892. [Huffington Post, 9/1/08; Slate, 6/28/02]

Palin Responded ‘Hang ‘Em Up’ When Asked About The Death Penalty. When asked about the death penalty in extreme cases, Palin replied, “My goodness, hang ‘em up, yeah.” [Anchorage Daily News, 8/18/06]

ON CIVIL RIGHTS

Palin Supports Denying Benefits To Same-Sex Couples. In 2006, Palin vetoed legislation denying benefits to same-sex couples, “based on a legal opinion from her new attorney general that the legislation was unconstitutional.” However, she said that she would support a constitutional amendment to deny same-sex couples the benefits. [Gay Republic Daily, 9/20/06; Anchorage Daily News, 12/21/06]

Palin Opposed Expanding Hate Crime Laws. A 2006 Eagle Forum Alaska questionnaire asked, “Will you support an effort to expand hate crime laws?” Palin replied, “No, as I believe all heinous crime is based on hate.” [Washington Blade, 9/2/08]

ON HEALTH CARE

Palin Advocated Consumer-Driven Health Care. While running for governor, Palin attributed rising health care costs to “a lack of competition” and called for “flexibility in government regulation that allow competition in health care.” [On The Issues]

Palin Introduced Health Care Transparency Act. Palin’s Alaska Health Care Transparency Act established “an Alaska health care information office” to help consumers “make better-informed decisions about health care in the state.” The act also called for the repeal of Certificate of Need Laws, programs “aimed at restraining health care facility costs and allowing coordinated planning of new services and construction.” [Gov Tech, 1/28/2008; National Conference of State Legislatures, 8/21/2008]

Palin Did Not Take A Position On Expanding SCHIP Funding. Palin did not advocate for greater federal funding of SCHIP. [Blagojevich Press Release, 2/23/07]

Palin Signed Watered-Down SCHIP Bill. Palin signed legislation updating eligibility for Alaska’s SCHIP program, Denali KidCare, to maintain the eligibility level–which had dropped to an effective rate of almost 150 percent of the poverty line due to inflation. However, by limiting eligibility to families living below 175 percent of the poverty line, Alaska’s eligibility criteria are still among the lowest in the nation. Palin did not support legislation to expand eligibility to higher levels. [National Conference of State Legislatures, 6/2008; Kaiser Network, 5/22/2007; Anchorage Daily News, 4/15/2008]

Palin Failed To Support A Bill To Cover All Alaskans. While governor, Palin “did not get behind the most significant piece of health legislation offered — a proposal to ensure that all residents have health insurance, without disrupting the coverage that many Alaskans already have.” [Anchorage Daily News, 5/17/2008]

Palin Failed To Answer Question About Expanding Health Care Coverage and Walmart. While running for Governor, Palin “sidestepped a question from her audience about the wisdom of encouraging expansion in Alaska of Wal-Mart, a chain that has been criticized for offering low pay and few benefits.” [Anchorage Daily News, 1/30/06]

ON THE ECONOMY

Palin Said Mortage Giants Are ‘Too Expensive To The Taxpayers.’ Speaking in Colorado Springs, CO, Palin said that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had “gotten too big and too expensive to the taxpayers.” The companies, however, aren’t taxpayer funded. [McClatchy News, 9/6/08]

Palin Left Wasilla $20 Million In Debt. As mayor of Wasilla, Palin cut taxes while simultaneously expanding the town’s operating budget by almost $2 million. She ended her term in 2002 with Wasilla $20 million in debt. [Anchorage Daily News 10/23/06; the Politico, 8/29]

Palin Instituted A Windfall Profits Tax On Oil Companies. In 2007, Palin raised taxes on oil company profits by $1.5 billion a year, enabling Alaska to double its oil revenue. However, in 2008 she said, “Windfall profits taxes alone prevent additional investment in domestic production.” [Bloomberg, 3/8; Seattle Times, 8/10; Governor's Office Press Release]

Palin Supported Flat Tax Advocate. Palin appeared in campaign commercials in support of Republican Senate candidate Mike Miller, who was advocating the Flat Tax. [Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 4/24/04]