September 10, 2008

Obama and Biden voted $223 million for Bridge to Nowhere instead of Katrina rebuilding

One devoutly hopes the McCain-Palin campaign harps on this incessantly.

From an op-ed column by US Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., in today's Wall Street Journal --

"... Mrs. Palin also killed the infamous Bridge to Nowhere in her own state. Yes, she once supported the project: But after witnessing the problems created by earmarks for her state and for the nation's budget, she did what others like me have done: She changed her position and saved taxpayers millions. Even the Alaska Democratic Party credits her with killing the bridge.

"When the Senate had its chance to stop the Bridge to Nowhere and transfer the money to Katrina rebuilding, Messrs. Obama and Biden voted for the $223 million earmark, (emphasis added) siding with the old boys' club in the Senate. And to date, they still have not publicly renounced their support for the infamous earmark."


Anonymous said...

You may want to check your facts. Per

A Bridge Too Far

Palin claimed to have stood up to Congress on the subject of the infamous “Bridge to Nowhere,” the Gravina Island bridge in Ketchikan, Alaska, about which we wrote last November.

Palin: I told the Congress, "Thanks, but no thanks," on that bridge to nowhere.

This is not the first time Palin has cited her choice to kill the bridge in 2007 as an example of her anti-waste stance. It’s true that she did eventually nix the project. But the bridge was nearly dead already – Congress had removed the earmark, giving the requested money to the state but not marking it for any specific use. Palin unplugged its life support, declaring in 2007 that the funds would not be used for the Gravina bridge.

When she was running for governor, however, Palin expressed a different position. In 2006, the Ketchikan Daily News quoted her expressing optimism and support for the bridge at a Ketchikan campaign stop.

Palin, 2006: "People across the nation struggle with the idea of building a bridge because they’ve been under these misperceptions about the bridge and the purpose,” said Palin, who described the link as the Ketchikan area’s potential for expansion and growth. … Palin said Alaska’s congressional delegation worked hard to obtain funding for the bridge as part of a package deal and that she “would not stand in the way of the progress toward that bridge.”

Palin also answered "yes" to an Anchorage Daily News poll question about whether she would continue to support state funding for the Gravina Island bridge if elected governor. "The window is now," she wrote, "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." It was only after she won the governorship that Palin shifted her position. And even then, it’s inaccurate to say that she “told the Congress ‘thanks, but no thanks.’” Palin accepted non-earmarked money from Congress that could have been used for the bridge if she so desired. That she opted to use it for other state transportation purposes doesn’t qualify as standing up to Congress.

The bridge reversal is not the only matter throwing doubt on Palin’s credentials as a government waste reformer. Watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense has reported that the small town of Wasilla, Alaska, which had not previously received significant federal funds, hauled in almost $27 million in earmarks while Palin was mayor. (McCain has explicitly criticized several of the Wasilla earmarks in recent years.) To help obtain these earmarks, Palin had hired Steven Silver, the former chief of staff for recently indicted Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, as Wasilla’s lobbyist.

And Palin continued to solicit federal funds as governor. A request form on Stevens’ Web site shows that she requested $160.5 million in earmarks for the state in 2008, and almost $198 million for 2009.

Jack Coleman said...

And the facts as cited here are inaccurate ... where?

Couldn't help but notice that you gave a wide berth to the revelation that Obama and Biden voted in favor of the $223 million bridge to nowhere earmark instead of using the money to help rebuild New Orleans after Katrina.

Jack Coleman said...

Gotten tongue-tied, Shawn?