Friday, October 3, 2008


Progress Report - As Congress is in the middle of approving a $700 billion financial bailout, yesterday's debate appropriately kicked off with a discussion of economic issues. Palin repeatedly stressed the reform that she and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) would bring to the government. "Now, John McCain thankfully has been one representing reform," Palin said. "Two years ago, remember, it was John McCain who pushed so hard with the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac reform measures. He sounded that warning bell." This claim, however, is an exaggeration. This morning, NPR fact-checked Palin's claim and found that in 2005, Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) was actually the one who led the effort to tighten regulations. NPR said that the only piece they could find from McCain was a press release co-sponsoring Hagel's measure. Additionally, in an interview in November 2007, McCain admitted that he was clueless about the economic mess: "So, I'd like to tell you that I did anticipate it, but I have to give you straight talk, I did not." In an interview that aired on Sept. 24, Couric pressed Palin to name "specific examples" of McCain pushing for more regulation. Palin failed, however, and simply replied, "I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you." Palin was similarly confused and overwhelmed by her memorized talking points in a CBS interview that aired the next day, when she inexplicably claimed that the bailout is needed to "help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up the economy," a position that no experts have taken.

Palin aggressively criticized anyone advocating withdrawal from Iraq, even though it is a position held by the majority of the American public. Palin claimed that a timeline for redeployment -- now also embraced by President Bush and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri-al Maliki -- would be "a white flag of surrender." Of course, Palin failed to note that before adopting the talking points of the McCain campaign, she held a similar view. In March 2007, Palin told the Alaska Business Monthly, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq. ... While I support our president, Condoleezza Rice and the administration, I want to know that we have an exit plan in place." Last night and during her CBS interviews, Palin made repeated references to "victory" and "winning" in Iraq while also praising Gen. David Petraeus. Petraeus, however, has disavowed such terms, wanting to avoid "premature declarations of success." The McCain campaign continues to tout Palin as a foreign policy expert. This week on NPR, McCain claimed that he has "turned to her advice many times in the past" on these issues. Defending the claim that Alaska's proximity to Russia constitutes national security experience, the campaign told CBS News this week that "Russian incursions. . . inside the air defense identification zone have occurred." However, a spokesman for the Alaska region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command has confirmed that "no Russian military planes have been flying even into that zone" during Palin's tenure.


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