Palin says election result rests in God’s hands

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin describes herself as a “hard-core pro-lifer” and expresses confidence that in spite of disheartening polls, “putting this in God’s hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4.”


Republican vice presidential candidate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, ...

In an interview with evangelical leader James Dobson that aired Wednesday, Palin said she thought Republican presidential candidate John McCain would implement the GOP platform if elected — “I do, from the bottom of my heart” — but McCain doesn’t support the platform on three issues important to evangelicals: abortion, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research.

The platform calls for a constitutional ban on gay marriage, an issue McCain says should be left to individual states. Similarly, the platform seeks a constitutional ban on all abortions; again, McCain supports allowing states to decide the question. McCain supports research using embryonic stem cells, which the platform opposes.

Palin called it a “strong platform” and told Dobson, “They are there, they are solid, we stand on them and, again, I believe that it is the right agenda for the country at this time.”

The Alaska governor talked by phone with Dobson for about 20 minutes Monday while she was in Colorado campaigning. Dobson’s Focus on the Family radio program aired the interview Wednesday.

Dobson asked whether Palin was discouraged by polls showing the GOP ticket behind.

“To me, it motivates us, makes us work that much harder,” Palin said. “And it also strengthens my faith, because I’m going to know, at the end of the day, putting this in God’s hands, that the right thing for America will be done at the end of the day on Nov. 4. So I’m not discouraged at all.”

Palin has not focused on her faith on the campaign trail, but it clearly has energized evangelical leaders like Dobson, whose radio show reaches an estimated 1.5 million Americans daily.

Dobson has come around to supporting the McCain-Palin ticket after previously saying he could not in good conscience vote for McCain. He endorsed former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee late in the primaries.

Palin thanked Dobson and supporters for their prayers and — when Dobson inquired about the importance of faith in her life — said: “It is my foundation, yes, my Christian faith is.”

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McCain-Palin promise no bailouts like Freddie-Fannie

Republican White House hopefuls John McCain and Sarah Palin slammed the federal rescue of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as “outrageous” but needed in a joint editorial published Tuesday.

“The bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is another outrageous, but sadly necessary, step for these two institutions,” after years of mismanagement, the pair wrote in The Wall Street Journal. “Given the long-term mismanagement and flawed structure of these two companies, this was the only short-term alternative for ensuring that hard-working Americans have access to affordable mortgages during this difficult economic period.” Presidential candidate McCain and his running-mate Palin called for permanent reform of the mortgage firms, saying that legislative failure led to “crisis management rather than sound planning.” If the Republican ticket were to win the White House, “we will make sure that they are permanently restructured and downsized, and no longer use taxpayer backing to serve lobbyists, management, boards and shareholders.” The pair warned that all federal spending would face scrutiny at the start of a McCain-Palin administration if they were to win the November 4 vote. “In the first 100 days of our administration, we will look at every agency and department and expenditure of the federal government and ask this simple question: Is it serving the needs of the taxpayer? If it is not, we will reform it or shut it down, and we will spend money only on what is truly in the interest of the American people,” they wrote. Under the plan announced at the weekend, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will get government-appointed chief executives and shed their mission of shareholder profit. The Treasury agreed to inject 100 billion dollars in each if needed. As expected, shares in the two firms were nearly wiped out in trade Monday — Freddie Mac plunged 83 percent to 88 cents and Fannie Mae slid 89 percent to 73 cents in closing trade. Overall stocks were higher, however. Fannie Mae was originally a government agency created during the Great Depression to help provide liquidity for housing. It was privatized in 1968 and Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to provide competition. advertising

Palin agrees with Bush even more than McCain

As he wrapped up his interview with Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama this evening, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann asked about Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin and whether she is ready to be president. Obama demurred on that question, but told Countdown’s host that he has a different problem with Palin — he thinks she would be even more inclined to continue the Bush administration’s policies than McCain would be:

Olbermann: “One more campaign question. It pertains to not knowing someone or something. This is a question I have not really heard asked directly of anybody in a position perhaps to answer it, let alone answered.

“In your opinion, is Governor Palin experienced enough and qualified enough to become president of the United States in the relatively short-term future?

Obama: “Well, you know, I’ll let you ask Governor Palin that when I’m sure she’ll be appearing on your show.

“But rather than focus on a resume, I just want to focus on where she wants to take the country.

“As far as I can tell, there has not been any area, economic policy or foreign policy, in which she is different from John McCain or George Bush.

“In many ways, in fact, she agrees with George Bush even more than John McCain. So if John McCain agrees with Bush 90% of the time, maybe with her it’s 97%. And so my — the thrust of our argument is going to be that the McCain-Palin ticket is offering the same stuff that has resulted in the middle class struggling, not seeing their incomes go up, seeing their costs go up, falling deeper into debt, at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure, unable to save or retire.

“Those are going to be I think the issues that ultimately matter to the voters, and that’s why I’m trying to offer to them a very clear set of prescriptions, very clear ideas about what we intend to do, how we want to change the tax code, stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, give 95% of Americans tax relief.

“Have an energy policy that is serious about climate change, is serious about weaning ourselves off of Middle Eastern oil, investing in solar and wind and biodiesel so we’ve got energy independence and creating jobs here in the United States, having a health care system that makes sure that we don’t have 47 million people without health insurance.

“That message of possibility is, I think, the one that the American people are looking for.”

Part two of Olbermann’s interview airs tomorrow night at 8 p.m. ET. As we noted earlier, the interview Obama taped with Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly for The O’Reilly Factor also continues tomorrow and Wednesday evenings, also at 8 p.m. ET.

Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has billed taxpayers for 312 nights spent in her own home during her first 19 months in office, charging a “per diem” allowance intended to cover meals and incidental expenses while traveling on state business.

This Story
Palin Billed State for Nights Spent at Home
Footing the Bill
Travel Authorization – State of Alaska
The governor also has charged the state for travel expenses to take her children on official out-of-town missions. And her husband, Todd, has billed the state for expenses and a daily allowance for trips he makes on official business for his wife.

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Palin, who earns $125,000 a year, claimed and received $16,951 as her allowance, which officials say was permitted because her official “duty station” is Juneau, according to an analysis of her travel documents by The Washington Post.

The governor’s daughters and husband charged the state $43,490 to travel, and many of the trips were between their house in Wasilla and Juneau, the capital city 600 miles away, the documents show.

Gubernatorial spokeswoman Sharon Leighow said Monday that Palin’s expenses are not unusual and that, under state policy, the first family could have claimed per diem expenses for each child taken on official business but has not done so.

Before she became the Republican Party’s vice presidential nominee, Palin was little known outside Alaska. Now, with the campaign emphasizing her executive experience, her record as mayor of Wasilla, as a state oil-and-gas commissioner and as governor is receiving intense scrutiny.

During her speech at the Republican National Convention last week, Palin cast herself as a crusader for fiscal rectitude as Alaska’s governor. She noted that she sold a state-owned plane used by the former governor. “While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor’s office that I didn’t believe our citizens should have to pay for,” she said to loud applause.

Speaking from Palin’s Anchorage office, Leighow said Palin dealt with the plane and also trimmed other expenses, including forgoing a chef in the governor’s mansion because she preferred to cook for her family. The first family’s travel is an expected part of the job, she said.

“As a matter of protocol, the governor and the first family are expected to attend community events across the state,” she said. “It’s absolutely reasonable that the first family participates in community events.”

The state finance director, Kim Garnero, said Alaska law exempts the governor’s office from elaborate travel regulations. Said Leighow: “The governor is entitled to a per diem, and she claims it.”

The popular governor collected the per diem allowance from April 22, four days after the birth of her fifth child, until June 3, when she flew to Juneau for two days. Palin moved her family to the capital during the legislative session last year, but prefers to stay in Wasilla and drive 45 miles to Anchorage to a state office building where she conducts most of her business, aides have said.

FACT: Palin For The Bridge to Nowhere

A new ad from John McCain’s presidential campaign contends his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, “stopped the Bridge to Nowhere.” In fact, Palin was for the infamous bridge before she was against it

THE SPIN: Called “Original Mavericks,” the ad asserts the Republican senator has fought pork-barrel spending, the drug industry and fellow Republicans, reforming Washington in the process, and credits Palin with similarly changing Alaska by taking on the oil industry, challenging her own party and ditching the bridge project that became a national symbol of wasteful spending.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton came back with fighting words. “Despite being discredited over and over again by numerous news organizations, the McCain campaign continues to repeat the lie that Sarah Palin stopped the Bridge to Nowhere,” he said.

Burton said McCain would merely carry on supporting President Bush’s economic, health, education, energy and foreign policies, and that means “anything but change.”

THE FACTS: Palin did abandon plans to build the nearly $400 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport. But she made her decision after the project had become an embarrassment to the state, after federal dollars for the project were pulled back and diverted to other uses in Alaska, and after she had appeared to support the bridge during her campaign for governor.

McCain and Palin together have told a broader story about the bridge that is misleading. She is portrayed as a crusader for the thrifty use of tax dollars who turned down an offer from Washington to build an expensive bridge of little value to the state.

“I told the Congress ‘thanks but no thanks’ for that Bridge to Nowhere,” she said in her convention speech last week.

That’s not what she told Alaskans when she announced a year ago that she was ordering state transportation officials to ditch the project. Her explanation then was that it would be fruitless to try to persuade Congress to come up with the money.

“It’s clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island,” Palin said then.

Palin indicated during her 2006 campaign for governor that she supported the bridge, but was wishy-washy about it. She told local officials that money appropriated for the bridge “should remain available for a link, an access process as we continue to evaluate the scope and just how best to just get this done.”

She vowed to defend Southeast Alaska “when proposals are on the table like the bridge and not allow the spinmeisters to turn this project or any other into something that’s so negative” — something that McCain was busy doing at the time, as a fierce critic of the bridge.

Even so, she called the bridge design “grandiose” during her campaign and said something more modest might be appropriate.

Palin’s reputation for standing up to entrenched interests in Alaska is genuine. Her self-description as a leader who “championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress” is harder to square with the facts.

The governor has cut back on pork-barrel project requests, but in her two years in office, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. And as mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million.

Politics And Motherhood

The New York Times front-pages how Palin went from hiding her most recent pregnancy to showcasing the child at the GOP convention. “No one has ever tried to combine presidential politics and motherhood in quite the way Ms. Palin is doing, and it is no simple task. In the last week, the criticism she feared in Alaska has exploded into a national debate. On blogs and at PTA meetings, voters alternately cheer and fault her balancing act, and although many are thrilled to see a child with special needs in the spotlight, some accuse her of exploiting Trig for political gain.”

The Washington Post, meanwhile, writes how the Palin pick has energized GOP voters in Virginia (although the article suggests that the state GOP doesn’t seem to be all that well organized).

The New York Times’ Bill Kristol with not the greatest defense of the Palin pick: “Should voters be alarmed by a relatively young or inexperienced vice-presidential candidate? No. Since 1900, five vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency during their term in office: Teddy Roosevelt in 1901, Calvin Coolidge in 1923, Harry Truman in 1945, Lyndon Johnson in 1963, and Gerald Ford in 1974. Teddy Roosevelt took over at age 42, becoming our youngest president, and he’s generally thought to have proved up to the job. Truman was V.P. for less than three months and had been kept in the dark by Franklin Roosevelt about such matters as the atom bomb — and he’s generally thought to have risen to the occasion. Character, judgment and the ability to learn seem to matter more to success as president than the number of years one’s been in Washington.”

More: “Did McCain think Palin his very best possible successor? Perhaps not. Did Barack Obama think Biden the absolute cream of the Democratic crop? Perhaps not. They undoubtedly thought highly enough of their running mates to have confidence in their ability to take over their administration in case of incapacity or death. I think most voters will accept that basic judgment. But — shocking to say! — both Obama and McCain also took political considerations into account in making their selections.”

Bloomberg takes a look at her academic career. “Interviews with classmates paint a similar picture of Palin as an anonymous, though motivated and hard-working, student who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Idaho in 1987. She later told a campus publication that one of her best semesters was spent learning about broadcasting at a student-run Idaho television studio. ‘My sense from people is that she was an average student,’ said Kaylene Johnson, author of a biography, ‘Sarah’ (Epicenter Press, 2008). ‘I don’t know that she distinguished herself in college in any particular way.’”

“Palin, 44, made an impression on one college friend, Stacia Hagerty, who credits her conversion to Catholicism in part to discussions the two had as dorm mates at the University of Idaho’s Neely Hall. As a teenager, Palin had attended the Assembly of God Church in Wasilla, Alaska, and she encouraged her friend to commit time to church. ”

“Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer. ‘You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality,’ according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has prayed for about six years. … Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the ‘Love Won Out’ Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

“Palin has not publicly expressed a view on the so-called ‘pray away the gay’ movement. Larry Kroon, senior pastor at Palin’s church, was not available to discuss the matter, said a church worker who declined to give her name. Gay activists in Alaska said Palin has not worked actively against their interests, but early in her administration she supported a bill to overrule a court decision to block state benefits for gay partners of public employees.”

Lots of profiles this weekend, here’s what you need to know out of Newsweek. “Little of her experience will help Palin with the questions she’s sure to face in the days and weeks to come. The media (and presumably voters) will aim to find out what Palin believes, what her expertise is and whether she’s really prepared to be next in line for the most powerful job on the planet. At last week’s Republican convention, the former sportscaster proved she can deliver a terrific speech (written by Matthew Scully, who wrote some of George W. Bush’s more memorable lines). But journalists are clamoring for a chance to question her directly. She’ll need to have cogent views on Iraq, to know the difference between Sunnis and Shiites (which McCain himself has occasionally confused) and the distinctions between Hizbullah and Al Qaeda. She’ll be asked about Iran’s nuclear program and China’s growing power, about the national debt, the subprime mortgage crisis, America’s trade imbalance and the value of the dollar against foreign currencies.”

”Palin started intense tutorials last week in a suite of the Hilton Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Stephen Biegun, a longtime foreign-policy hand who last worked on George W. Bush’s National Security Council, ran what one participant called a ‘boot camp on McCain world.’ Biegun and others briefed her on international issues. McCain’s top domestic-policy adviser, economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, led other sessions. Before Holtz-Eakin even got started, Palin let him know that she likes to get her study points on large index cards. ‘What we have to do is take all our accumulated policy and John McCain’s entire Senate history and get her comfortable with the campaign,’ Holtz-Eakin told NEWSWEEK.”

”Others involved in the process say Palin has a long way to go, and they are watching closely to make sure she doesn’t get overwhelmed. Over the weekend before the convention, campaign aides made the uncomfortable decision to urge her to go public with her unmarried 17-year-old daughter’s pregnancy in order to rebut salacious Internet rumors that the teen was actually the mother of Palin’s own newborn child. An aide, speaking anonymously because the matter is sensitive, says that Palin and her husband grew angry about the allegations. “Do I have to show them my stretch marks?” she asked one campaign official. In the midst of the drama, Palin had little time to interact with her family because she was shuffling from one briefing or prep session to another. (In St. Louis, a campaign aide took Todd shopping at a Saks Fifth Avenue, where he bought a new suit to wear to the convention.) At one point McCain, himself tied up in campaign duties, asked an adviser, ‘Can you make sure she’s OK?’”

The Seattle Times digs through Palin’s record as mayor of Wasilla. “As much of Palin’s hometown rallies with pride around her, 1,400 miles away — in a National Archives warehouse in Seattle — three boxes of documents help capture the quality of her mayoral experience. These records, from a federal wrongful-termination lawsuit, include the minutiae of municipal governance, with memos to administrators and personnel records stamped ‘confidential.’ The documents, combined with accounts from her hometown newspaper, show how Palin’s first year as mayor could easily have been her last. She became embroiled in personnel challenges, a thwarted attempt to pack the City Council and a standoff with her local newspaper. Her first months were so contentious and polarizing that critics started talking recall.”

“Gov. Sarah Palin used state funds in June when she traveled from Juneau to Wasilla to speak to graduating evangelical students and urge them to fan out through Alaska ‘to make sure God’s will be done here,’” the Alaska Daily News writes. “State records show that Palin submitted a travel authorization for a quick round-trip visit to attend the June 8 graduation of the Master’s Commission program at the Wasilla Assembly of God, the church where she was baptized at age 12. The only other item on the agenda for that trip was a ‘One Lord Sunday’ service involving a network of Mat-Su Christian churches earlier that morning at the Wasilla sports complex.”