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palin supported bridge but then saw error of her ways!!! like mccain she changed position to right side, conservative side, of issue & is therefore true conservative who stands on conservative principles!!!

Palin touts stance on 'Bridge to Nowhere,' doesn't note flip-flop


Published: August 31st, 2008 02:29 AM

When John McCain introduced Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate Friday, her reputation as a tough-minded budget-cutter was front and center.

"I told Congress, thanks but no thanks on that bridge to nowhere," Palin told the cheering McCain crowd, referring to Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge.

But Palin was for the Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it.

The Alaska governor campaigned in 2006 on a build-the-bridge platform, telling Ketchikan residents she felt their pain when politicians called them "nowhere." They're still feeling pain today in Ketchikan, over Palin's subsequent decision to use the bridge funds for other projects -- and over the timing of her announcement, which they say came in a pre-dawn press release that seemed aimed at national news deadlines.

"I think that's when the campaign for national office began," said Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Weinstein noted, the state is continuing to build a road on Gravina Island to an empty beach where the bridge would have gone -- because federal money for the access road, unlike the bridge money, would have otherwise been returned to the federal government.

It's a more complicated picture than the one drawn by McCain, a persistent critic of special-interest spending and congressional earmarks. He described Palin as "someone who's stopped government from wasting taxpayers' money on things they don't want or need."



But it is the federally funded Bridge to Nowhere in Ketchikan that seems destined to make or break Palin's national reputation as a cost-cutting conservative.

The bridge was intended to provide access to Ketchikan's airport on lightly populated Gravina Island, opening up new territory for expansion at the same time. Alaska's congressional delegation endured withering criticism for earmarking $223 million for Ketchikan and a similar amount for a crossing of Knik Arm at Anchorage.

Congress eventually removed the earmark language but the money still went to Alaska, leaving it up to the administration of then-Gov. Frank Murkowski to decide whether to go ahead with the bridges or spend the money on something else.

In September, 2006, Palin showed up in Ketchikan on her gubernatorial campaign and said the bridge was essential for the town's prosperity.

She said she could feel the town's pain at being derided as a "nowhere" by prominent politicians, noting that her home town, Wasilla, had recently been insulted by the state Senate president, Ben Stevens.

"OK, you've got Valley trash standing here in the middle of nowhere," Palin said, according to an account in the Ketchikan Daily News. "I think we're going to make a good team as we progress that bridge project."

One year later, Ketchikan's Republican leaders said they were blindsided by Palin's decision to pull the plug.

Palin spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Saturday that as projected costs for the Ketchikan bridge rose to nearly $400 million, administration officials were telling Ketchikan that the project looked less likely. Local leaders shouldn't have been surprised when Palin announced she was turning to less-costly alternatives, Leighow said. Indeed, Leighow produced a report quoting Palin, late in the governor's race, indicating she would also consider alternatives to a bridge.


Andrew Halcro, who ran against Palin in 2006, told The Associated Press on Saturday that Palin changed her views after she was elected to make a national splash.

Mayor Weinstein said many residents remain irked by Palin's failure to come to Ketchikan since that time to defend her decision -- despite promises that she would.

Weinstein may be especially sore -- he helped run the local campaign of Palin's 2006 Democratic rival, Tony Knowles. But comments this week from area Republicans show bitterness there too.

Bert Stedman, a Sitka Republican who represents Ketchikan in the state Senate, told the Ketchikan Daily News he was proud to see Palin picked for the vice-president's role, but disheartened by her reference to the bridge.

"In the role of governor, she should be pursuing a transportation policy that benefits the state of Alaska, (rather than) pandering to the southern 48," he said.

Businessman Mike Elerding, who helped run Palin's local campaign for governor, told the paper he would have a hard time voting for the McCain ticket because of Palin's subsequent neglect of Ketchikan and her flip-flop on the "Ralph Bartholomew Veterans Memorial Bridge."


Palin's 2007 press release announcing her change of course came just a month after McCain himself slammed the Ketchikan bridge for taking money that could have been used to shore up dangerous bridges like one that collapsed in Minnesota.

Leighow said she had no record of what time she sent out the press release, but does not recall being told to send it out early for East Coast media.

Once Palin spiked the bridge project, the money wasn't available to Minnesota or other states, however. Congress, chastened by criticism of the Alaska funding, had removed the earmark but allowed the state to keep the money and direct it to other transportation projects.

Enhanced ferry access to Gravina Island is one option under consideration, the state said.

Meanwhile, work is under way on a three-mile road on Gravina Island, originally meant to connect the airport and the new bridge. State officials said last year they were going ahead with the $25 million road because the money would otherwise have to be returned to the federal government.

Leighow said the road project was already under way last year when Palin stopped the bridge, and she noted that it would provide benefits of opening up new territory for development -- one of the original arguments made for the bridge spending.

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"palin supported bridge but then saw error of her ways!!! like mccain she changed position to right side, conservative side, of issue & is therefore true conservative who stands on conservative principles!!!"

In other words............

she flip-flopped :mellow:

it's not flip flop if you really meant it first time!!! palin's christian & conservative so she'd never tell lie so she honestly changed view!!! that's not flip flop like when liberals lie & then change position like kerry did on war!!! that's a flip flop!!! honest conservative christians don't lie so they don't flip flop!!!

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it's not flip flop if you really meant it first time!!! palin's christian & conservative so she'd never tell lie so she honestly changed view!!! that's not flip flop like when liberals lie & then change position like kerry did on war!!! that's a flip flop!!! honest conservative christians don't lie so they don't flip flop!!!

I can't tell if you're being serious or if you're just screwing with me :huh:

Either way, what you just said is pretty funny..... :lol:

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I can't tell if you're being serious or if you're just screwing with me :huh:

Either way, what you just said is pretty funny..... :lol:

why does everybody keep asking me that??? i'm as serious as skin cancer in supporting mccain for president!! just look at my sig video if you want to learn about how serious mccain is about managing national disasters like katrina!!!

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i think i'm going ot puke!!! a windfall tax on oil companies??? what kind of socialist communist liberal supports taxing profits & giving the money to citizens as checks to pay for heating??? stupid liberal loosers!!!


Windfall tax lets Alaska rake in billions from Big Oil

While Congress and the presidential candidates debate the wisdom of a windfall tax on oil companies, Alaska has already imposed one, hauling in billions of dollars in new revenue for the state treasury.

Republican Gov. Sarah Palin pushed for the windfall tax over oil-company opposition.

Republicans in Congress this June united to defeat a proposed windfall tax on oil companies, deriding it as a bad idea that would discourage investment in U.S. oil exploration.

Things worked out far differently in the GOP stronghold of Alaska, a state whose economic fate is closely tied to the oil industry.

Over the opposition of oil companies, Republican Gov. Sarah Palin and Alaska's Legislature last year approved a major increase in taxes on the oil industry — a step that has generated stunning new wealth for the state as oil prices soared.

At a time when Americans are feeling the pinch at the gasoline pump and oil companies are racking up record profits, Alaska's choice foreshadows one of the sharpest debates in the upcoming presidential election.

Democrat Barack Obama supports a national windfall-profits tax, while Republican John McCain opposes it.

Alaska collected an estimated $6 billion from the new tax during the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to the Alaska Oil and Gas Association. That helped push the state's total oil revenue — from new and existing taxes, as well as royalties — to more than $10 billion, double the amount received last year.

While many other states are confronting big budget deficits because of the troubled economy, Alaska officials are in the enviable position of exploring new ways to spend the state's multibillion-dollar budget surplus.

Some of that new cash will end up in the wallets of Alaska's residents.

Palin's administration last week gained legislative approval for a special $1,200 payment to every Alaskan to help cope with gas prices, which are among the highest in the country.

That check will come on top of the annual dividend of about $2,000 that each resident could receive this year from an oil-wealth savings account.

State Sen. Hollis French, an Anchorage Democrat who supported the windfall tax, said the oil companies " ... were literally printing money on the North Slope. We decided to strike the balance a little bit more on our side."

The industry, however, warns new taxes are already discouraging future exploration and development in newer, more expensive projects needed to boost waning production in Alaska's oil patches.

"Clearly, from the investor standpoint, Alaska has become a less attractive place to invest exploration and production dollars," said Marilyn Crockett, executive director of the Alaska Oil and Gas Association.

Tax imposed by Carter

The oil industry has long fought windfall-profits taxes. Officials cite a congressional study that indicated a windfall-profits tax imposed by President Carter — and later repealed in the 1980s — appeared to discourage U.S. oil-field development.

"It was a bad idea in the 1980s, and it is an even worse idea today," says an American Petroleum Institute statement on windfall taxes.

The industry's arguments held sway in the U.S. Senate in June, where Republicans defeated a Democratic proposal for a windfall-profits tax that would have raised an estimated $10 billion to $12 billion.

The debate has spilled into the presidential campaign.

Obama supports a federal windfall-profits tax, with the proceeds used to provide rebates of $500 or $1,000 to taxpayers. "Increased domestic oil exploration certainly has its place," Obama said last Monday in Michigan. "But it's not the solution" to America's energy problems, he added.

McCain has blasted the idea, saying it would "increase our dependence on foreign oil and hinder exactly the same kind of domestic exploration and production we need."

In Alaska, the willingness of Republicans to tax the oil industry reflects unusual political developments.

Last year, as part of a major federal corruption investigation, an oil-services executive — former VECO Chairman Bill Allen — pleaded guilty to bribing some state legislators as he sought to limit the size of an oil-tax increase approved in 2006.

In the fall primary of 2006, Palin upset Republican incumbent Gov. Frank Murkowski, whom she criticized for giving too much of a break to the oil industry.

Then last year, Palin introduced a graduated tax pegged to increased oil prices. The state Legislature modified her proposal to increase the state's take even further.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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