Jake Tapper, Political Punch (ABC News): A very irate aide to Gov. Sarah Palin contacted ABC News today to explain why his boss's 31 requests for earmarks in the fiscal year 2009 budget, totaling $197 million, represent a victory for fiscally conservative values.
"I am disturbed by this item," wrote Bill McAllister, director of communications for Gov. Palin, referencing a blog entry from last night in which we referred to an article in the liberal magazine Mother Jones noting that Palin -- after what seemed like a campaign against earmark abuse -- was back at the proverbial trough.
"The headline doesn't seem very dignified for a major news organization," said the spokesman for the governor who repeatedly referred to then-Senator, now-President Obama as "palling around with terrorists." He also quibbled with our referencing Mother Jones. (We also reference conservative publications here. But anyway.)
"Let's start with the overwhelming mischaracterization of Gov. Palin's stance on earmarks that has been repeated and repeated since Aug. 29," McAllister wrote. "The governor never said that earmarks should be abolished or that the State of Alaska wouldn't seek or accept any. Didn't happen. What she said well before she was a national candidate (going back at least to October of 2007) was that earmark reform was necessary and the state would need to rely less on federal money than it had been."
McAllister then pointed out that Palin made 51 earmark requests for the FY 2008 budget, totaling $256 million; and 31 requests totaling $197 million, for the FY 2009 budget.
McAllister said that for next year's budget, Gov. Palin will only make eight requests, totaling $69 million, which will include "six ongoing federal appropriations and just two new projects: an upgrade at the Kodiak Missile Defense Facility, which is relevant to national security, and a bridge replacement critical to construction of the pending Alaska natural gas pipeline, also in the national interest."
"Governor Palin is a fiscal conservative," he wrote. "Literally moments ago, the Alaska State House of Representatives passed a budget that differed little from what she proposed, that spends less in the next fiscal year than this one. She has spoken out on reform of the federal process, and it is a disservice to her that her position was so egregiously mis-reported last year and that those same false stories are now being used to make her look like a hypocrite -- adding insult to injury, quite literally."
Alarmed, I asked McAllister how Palin was "literally" injured. Was she okay? Was she infirm?
"I didn't say physically injured," he wrote back. "Certainly her reputation was injured by the erroneous reporting."
In any case, the point is, Gov. Palin as a vice presidential candidate claimed that she "championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending of Congress."
And yet, she has asked for and is still asking for -- and receiving -- tens of millions of dollars in earmarks -- pork barrel spending that does not go through the normal appropriations process.
Including, you might be interested to know, moneys for alcohol bootlegging interdiction and North Pacific fisheries programs.
Her former running mate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., requests no earmarks.
That's a fiscally conservative position.
We've never hesitated to point out political mixed messages, on earmarks or other subjects, whether they come from Democrats such as President Obama (read HERE or watch HERE) or Republicans such as Gov. Palin.
We will continue to do so.