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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

Original Mavericks, Old Bunk

A new McCain ad, “Original Mavericks,” repeats the claim that Gov. Sarah Palin “stopped the Bridge to Nowhere” last year.

We’re here to tell you that no matter how many times she and McCain say it, it’s still misleading. We refer you to our story of last week, GOP Convention Spin, Part II, in which we explain: Congress actually knocked out the earmark for the bridge, which was projected to cost $398 million. The state instead received funds that weren’t designated for specific projects. Palin took the money and then spent it on other items, thereby driving a final stake through its barely beating heart.

Palin had supported the bridge when she was campaigning for govenor, and she hasn’t exactly been pure on the earmark issue generally. As mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she hired a lobbyist with ties to then-Senate Appropriations Committee czar Ted Stevens; the town hauled in almost $27 million in earmarks on her watch. She hasn’t been shy about seeking hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of such funds for the state since she’s been governor, either.

We could quarrel with other parts of the ad, for instance the claim that McCain “battled Republicans and reformed Washington.” He did fight for changes in campaign finance law that his party didn’t like, and he succeeded. On the other hand, when it came to immigration reform, he changed his stance, coming more into line with others in his party, and said he’d vote against his own bill if it came to the floor