ALBUQUERQUE, NM Gov. Palin hit
back at Sen. Obama during an evening rally in the Land of Enchantment
Saturday, arguing that the Democrat is in no place to lecture her on federal
The Democratic presidential
nominee told an Indiana
crowd today that Palin is a flip flopper
when it comes to requesting federal dollars for state projects, noting that
her recent criticism of the earmark process comes only after years of
advocating for earmarks for her city and state.
When youve been taking all
these earmarks when it is convenient and then suddenly you are the champion
anti-earmark person, thats not change. Come on! I mean, words mean something.
You cant just make stuff up, Obama said.
Palin, who received millions in
earmarks for projects during her time as mayor of Wasilla, returned fire
tonight in front of more than 6,000 supporters.
Today our opponent brought up
earmarks and frankly I was surprised that he raised the subject. I didnt
think hed want to go there, she said. Our opponent has requested nearly one
billion dollars in earmarks in just three yearsabout a million dollars for
every working day. Just wait until President John McCain puts a stop to
The state of Alaska has also
requested hundreds of millions of dollars during Palins first year as
Governor but she noted today that she cut back earmarks in our state this
Im ready to help John McCain
end earmarks once and for alleleventh hour, behind closed doors, no public
scrutiny, the earmark system that is brokenwe will end that, she
Palin, who has adopted McCains
passionate anti-earmark rhetoric since being selected as the VP, has also
received some heat for her evolving position on the $200 million+ dollar
earmark for the infamous bridge to nowhere. While she now tells voters that
she told the feds thanks but no thanks for the appropriation, Palin actually
advocated for a bridge during her 2006 gubernatorial bid. She eventually
rejected the specific earmark but the state still received an equivalent
amount of federal money for use on other transportation
Media, as a group, don't seem to have the capacity (neutrality?) to push back
at Mr. Obama. But Sarah Palin has no such inhibitions, does she?
Chalk this up as another reason I am looking forward to the
MCCAIN PULLS AHEAD IN THE POLLS
Several new polls are out, all of them conducted after the Republican
convention and Sarah Palin's coming-out party. If their results are
correct, they are stunning:
-Zogby: As I posted in an earlier blog, the latest Zogby poll has McCain/Palin
leading Obama/Biden by 4%;
-Gallup: McCain/Palin has moved ahead by 3% over Obama/Biden. A
week ago Obama/Biden led by 8%;
-USA Today: Most remarkably of all, the latest USA Today has McCain/Palin leading by
4% among registered voters (50%-46%). That is an 11% move from a week ago
when they were behind by 7%.
But among likely voters? McCain/Palin leads Obama/Biden by 54% -
44%. That is a double-digit lead!
If these data are correct, Barack Obama has gone from coasting to victory, to
a real fight, to being behind in no time flat.
So don't expect to see that self-assured smile anymore. Voters
appear to have called off Mr. Obama's coronation, just as they called off
The moral of this story? Never, ever underestimate John McCain --- or, for that matter, a
hockey mom/mayor/governor from Alaska.
This morning, Republicans tell me that a worker
at Invesco Field in Denver saved thousands of unused flags from the Democratic
National Convention that were headed for the garbage. Guerrilla campaigning.
They will use these flags at their own event today in Colorado Springs with
John McCain and Sarah Palin.
Before McCain speaks today, veterans will haul
these garbage bags filled with flags out onto the stage with dramatic
effect, no doubt and tell the story.
What you see in the picture I sent you is less
than half of total flags, a Republican official emailed. We estimate the
total number to be around 12,000 small flags and one full size 35
Im not sure what the DNC was supposed to do
with unused hand-flags, frankly. But the Republicans are obviously questioning
someones patriotism here.
We can practically hear the McCain camp editing
the footage for their next ad.
BATON ROUGE -- At 2 a.m. Aug. 31, with Hurricane
Gustav a day away from landfall, Gov. Bobby Jindal called a meeting of the
state's high-level emergency command group to face another crisis in the
massive evacuation of southern Louisiana.
Hearing the news that Gustav was a potential
monster storm, several hospitals in the New Orleans area had decided Saturday
to evacuate rather than ride out the tempest, and suddenly ambulances with
critical-care patients were lining up at Lakefront Airport awaiting airlift
for the community's most helpless people. But there weren't nearly enough
Jindal knew the storm's initial high winds would
ground aircraft by 9 p.m., so he had less than 20 hours to mobilize a key part
of one of the largest medical evacuations in the nation's history, without
sufficient resources in hand. Otherwise, the patients, along with the nurses
and doctors attending them, could risk remaining in Gustav's path.
"You could see it in his eye," said Alan Levine,
the state's health secretary. "He didn't want any bureaucracy to get in the
What followed was an example of how the
government since Hurricane Katrina has improved its ability to handle
disasters, including, foremost, a more involved federal response, better
coordination among agencies and politicians on all levels and the benefit of
lessons learned from the catastrophe of 2005.
At the center of this reinvented decision-making
system, according to interviews with those in the middle of the process, was
Jindal, 37, who was leading a brand new team of aides and Cabinet members with
a little more than seven months of experience in office. Adding to the
pressure, Gustav drew the media's spotlight during the Republican National
Convention, putting Jindal and his GOP administration's performance on a
national stage even though he had never in his career faced any crisis so
"I'd give him an A-plus," said Lt. Gov. Mitch
Landrieu, who sat beside Jindal at the state command group meetings. "He
managed it very, very, very well."
Equally high grades were awarded Jindal by a
breadth of participants in the state's Unified Command Group, a panel of 16
that coordinates crisis management for the state, and others who worked in the
state Emergency Operations Center in Baton Rouge in the days before and after
The key, they said, was Jindal's style of
demanding solutions and information, setting it down in numbers that could
measure progress and shunning any discussions of the bureaucratic process. Add
to that Jindal's grasp of details and organization, and his ability to
converse on any subject large or small.
"I can't imagine anyone being more organized and
being more involved in every issue," said Robert Barham, secretary of the
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, which led the state's rescue efforts.
By contrast, former Governor Kathleen Blanco's
input for hurricane Katrina was to go on TV, cry, and ask people to pray. (And then there
was New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin, whose contribution was to hole up in a luxury hotel
and do nothing except complain about everyone who WAS doing something)
That, folks, is why Louisiana got rid of Ms. Blanco
(she was so unpopular she could not run for re-election) and elected Governor
Think they made the right choice?
WHY PALIN CONNECTS
How important is Sarah Palin is to the Republicans this year?
What does she bring to the McCain/Palin ticket?
Tom Purcell, writing in today's Pittsbugh Post-Gazette thinks he knows.
And I think he knows too, which is why I am posting his commentary below:
Some folks are befuddled by who Republican
vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is. I know exactly who she is.
She's a "Pittsburghgirl."
Maybe I better explain.
Palin embodies everything feminists have
been asking for for years -- she really does "have it all." She's a wife,
a working mom and the most powerful woman in her state -- yet she's got
feminine poise (as reflected in a popular Alaskan bumper sticker: "Coldest
State. Hottest Governor.")
Palin's husband is also
what feminists have been asking for for years. He works part time to
support her career and nurture the kids -- yet he's masculine, confident
and supportive (Alaskans call him the "First Dude.")
You'd think in a truly progressive society
folks would set aside their politics for a moment to celebrate real
equality in action (just as folks praised Hillary for being the first
female presidential candidate and Barack for being the first
But that didn't happen, of
The same folks who argued for years that
there are few differences between males and females -- we were just
socialized to think there are, you see -- are suddenly singing the
Somehow -- with a straight face -- they are
now arguing that moms are expected to take on the lion's share of the
family burdens and that by becoming the VP candidate Palin is turning her
back on hers.
What's worse, to some, is that conservative
folks aren't responding the way they're supposed to.
Conservatives are supposed to prefer their
women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. But they're 100 percent behind
Palin -- especially the old, white conservative fellows who are
speculating that, eight years hence, a more experienced Palin just might
have a shot at the highest office in the land.
The first female president a
Such a thought has to be maddening to those
whose carefully constructed image of "Neanderthal" conservatives is being
shattered by simple reality. Such folks can't get a bead on who and what
Palin is, so let me take a stab at it.
As I said, she's a
I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, a
down-to-earth blue-collar town. It is the land of big hearts and common
sense. If your car breaks down, expect a couple dozen people to stop and
It's a place where neighborhoods are tightly
knit and families even tighter. It's a place filled with genuine people
who are concerned for their relatives, friends and neighbors -- and
especially their country.
Folks in Pittsburgh are sitting around
dinner tables and on their front porches talking about the future of this
country. Their ideas may be different -- arguments may get heated -- but
they're trying to work this election out, trying to do what is
Palin resonates with such folks, who have
sisters, mothers and wives just like her -- authentic, honest, attentive
women who will fight tooth and nail to do what is best for their kids,
neighbors and communities.
Unlike some ambitious politicians who need
the constant affection and reassurance of the public -- politicians who
say "don't you know who I am?" when waiters in trendy restaurants fail to
give them the best seat -- you get the sense Palin couldn't care less
about such things.
It's early yet and we're just beginning to
know who she is, but I offer a bit of advice to her opposition. It's
probably not a good idea to underestimate her (like or hate her politics,
she hit it out of the park at the convention).
I wouldn't attempt to portray her as a bimbo
or an inexperienced lightweight or a religious-right wacko. Most of all,
I'd avoid dragging her family into the fight.
I've been in the unfortunate position of
opposing a Pittsburghgirl now and then. The outcome has never been
When prompted, a Pittsburghgirl will reach
into your belly and rip out your guts before you have a chance to blink.
And she'll do it with a smile on her face and not a hair out of
For the past week I've been talking about the fact that Ms. Palin
connects with everyday people, especially women. And she connects with
them in places that political polls rarely ever go.
Mr. Purcell understands why she makes this connection. I hope you do. And I can
pretty much guarantee a lot of smug, entrenched beltway elites and
phoney-baloney hypocrites in "women's groups" are about to understand why a
lot faster than they want to.
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