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The Truth About Sarah Palin

From the October 2, 2008 issue of Rolling Stone:

By TIM DICKINSON
Rolling Stone

Sarah Palin’s credentials as a “reformer” are nothing but spin. She has sided with Big Oil, lobbied to increase pork spending and abused her public power to carry out personal vendettas. Here’s a guide to separating myth from fact.

THE MYTH: “She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay. And made a profit!” — John McCain, at a campaign stop in Wisconsin

THE FACTS: No one bought the jet online. It was eventually sold through an aircraft broker — at a loss to taxpayers of nearly $600,000.


THE MYTH: “I told the Congress ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ on that Bridge to Nowhere.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: Supported the infamous pork project in her 2006 run for governor, even after Congress had killed the bridge; derided its opponents as “spinmeisters.” Reversed her stance a year later — but kept the money, doling out the $223 million in federal funds to other pork projects throughout the state.


THE MYTH: “We … championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: As mayor, employed a lobbyist who also worked for Jack Abramoff to secure $27 million in pork spending for Wasilla — more than $4,000 per resident. In her two years as governor, requested $453 million in earmarks. Alaska ranks first in the nation for pork, raking in seven times the national average.


THE MYTH: “I found … someone who stopped government from wasting taxpayers’ money.” — John McCain, introducing Palin

THE FACTS: Signature accomplishment as mayor: building a $15 million hockey arena that plunged the city into debt. Broke ground on the project without finalizing the city’s purchase of the land; the resulting fiasco cost Wasilla $1.3 million — roughly $200 per resident.


THE MYTH: “Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America’s energy problems — as if we didn’t know that already.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: “I beg to disagree with any candidate who would say we can’t drill our way out of our problem.” — Sarah Palin, July 2008


THE MYTH: “We began a nearly $40 billion natural-gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: With federal approval years away, not a single section of the pipeline has been laid. State could end up paying the pipeline’s contractor $500 million — even if it never breaks ground on the project.


THE MYTH: “She’s from a small town with small-town values.” — Fred Thompson, convention speech

THE FACTS: Wasilla and the surrounding valley recently named the meth capital of Alaska, with 42 meth labs busted in a single year.


THE MYTH: Palin has “taken on the political establishment in the largest state of the union.” — Fred Thompson, convention speech

THE FACTS: Served until 2005 as director of fundraising group associated with indicted senator Ted Stevens.


THE MYTH: “She’s fought oil companies.” — John McCain, introducing Palin

THE FACTS: Collected $13,000 in campaign contributions from oil and gas lobbyists, including Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron. BP was a sponsor of her inaugural ball.


THE MYTH: “She’s been to Kuwait. She’s been over there. She has been with her troops. The National Guard that she commands, who have been over there and had the experience.” — John McCain, highlighting Palin’s national-security credentials

THE FACTS: Never had a passport before 2007, when she made a brief photo-op trip to visit troops in Germany and Kuwait. Has never been to Iraq, and has not met a single foreign head of state.


THE MYTH: “I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending.” — Sarah Palin, convention speech

THE FACTS: As governor, sought travel reimbursement for 312 nights she spent in her own home.

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