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Palin's Record On Earmarks

My esteemed co-blogger has had a couple of broadcast pieces, on Tuesday's ATC and today's Morning Edition, examining Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin's complicated record on earmarks. We have some extra goodies on Palin's record here.

Gov. Palin and running mate John McCain have trumpeted her opposition to earmarks like the infamous Alaskan "bridge to nowhere," which became a rallying call against congressional pork projects. But when she was running for governor in 2006, Palin told voters she supported projects like the bridge. Here's a clip of Palin at an Alaska Conservation Voters candidate forum saying, "I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations worked hard for."

At another candidate forum, Palin had kind words for Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and his renowned ability to bring home the federal bacon.

"And our congressional delegation, God bless 'em. They do a great job for us," she said at the forum hosted by the Alaska Professional Design Council. "Representative Don Young, especially God bless him, with transportation — Alaska did so well under the very basic provisions of the transportation act that he wrote just a couple of years ago. We had a nice bump there. We're very, very fortunate to receive the largesse that Don Young was able to put together for Alaska."

Now, it was Young who plopped the "bridge to nowhere" in federal legislation to begin with. But even that kind of influence doesn't help him these days. Not too many people are trying to cozy up with Young now that he's in trouble — and clearly Palin has changed her mind about him.

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What kind of trouble? The 18-term Alaska congressman is under federal investigation in a corruption scandal that has already nailed several state lawmakers and produced an indictment of Alaska's other earmark champion, Sen. Ted Stevens (R).

It's not even clear whether Young survived his primary election last week. His main opponent was Sean Parnell, Palin's lieutenant governor. The free-market Club For Growth ran ads attacking his free and easy use of federal tax money for earmarks. He seemed so vulnerable that Democrats actually spent money to help him because they thought he'd be weaker than Parnell in the general election. Palin, no longer feeling so rosy about Young's "largesse" for Alaska, backed Parnell.