Out of bounds! Blackburn wrong on Palin and earmarks

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 4, 2008 

Throw the flag against: Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.

Call: Illegal shift

What happened: In her remarks Thursday evening to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., Blackburn lauded Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin as a strong woman who stands up to men who want pork-barrel spending.

She called the Alaska governor, "a woman with a bravery that only a mother of five can summon who said `thanks but no thanks' to the good old boys and their earmarks. And it is an honor for me to quote those constituents that I have heard from today when I say, 'It's about damn time!' "

Why that's wrong: Rather than saying no thanks to earmarks, Palin has been saying yes, please, for several years.

As the mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, she hired lobbyist Steve Silver, a former aide to Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, to seek federal earmarks. Some of them ended up on John McCain's list of suspect spending.

In her first year as governor, Palin sought fewer earmarks than her predecessor did, but she still requested 52 federal earmarks totaling $256 million, according to the Anchorage Daily News, a McClatchy newspaper. This year, her second in office, she sought 31 earmarks totaling $197 million.

Penalty: 5 yards for loss of credibility.

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