The national press is reporting on the remarkable level of control the McCain campaign people are exerting in handling vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin's interactions with the press and with the public as well. AP reports that Palin has given no interviews and in campaign trail appearances is sticking strictly to a "greatest hits version of her convention speech," repeating the same lines that millions watched her deliver a week ago in St Paul. Those lines, AP reports, "are all anyone has heard from her publicly, and her only interaction with the media was a brief conversation with a small group of reporters on her plane Monday -- off the record at her handlers' insistence."
Given that convention speech snippets may be all voters can expect to hear from Palin in the coming days and perhaps beyond, it may be worth reviewing again some of the assertions she made to the Xcel Center crowd.
PALIN: "I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history. And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence. That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are open, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart."
There is no deal to build a natural gas pipeline from Alaska. All that the governor obtained for her $500 million in state cash assistance is a promise from TransCanada that it will try to obtain federal licensing and financing to build the pipeline - nothing more than a pledge to try. At best, the first gas through the pipe is 10 years away.
PALIN: "Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines, and build more nuclear plants, and create jobs with clean coal, and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources."
But Palin in 2007 vetoed funding for a wind turbine project to provide clean electricity for the Anchorage area (she later approved funding the next year). And the 10-year-old, $300 million clean-coal power plant sits idle at Healy, built with state and federal dollars yet it has never produced a single kilowatt hour. Though she inherited the problem from two previous administrations, Palin has done little to put the idle plant into operation. She is no mover and shaker on the energy front.
PALIN: "And I thought we could muddle through without the governor's personal chef, although I got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her."
She got rid of the cook at the Governor's House in Juneau because she doesn't live there - so there is no need for a cook. Unlike all past governors who moved to the state capital in Juneau and took up full-time residence in the Governor's House just a few blocks from the Capitol, Palin and her family tried Juneau for a few months and then decided to return home to Wasilla. Palin works in the Anchorage office and commutes from her Wasilla home. She generally stays in Juneau only when the Legislature is in session, and even then not full time. She essentially moved the governor's office to Anchorage for her and her family's convenience.
PALIN: "We suspended the state fuel tax and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that Bridge to Nowhere."
Alaska had the lowest state motor fuel tax in the nation -- 8 cents a gallon -- until it was suspended just this past week. Speaking of gasoline, West Coast drivers might be interested to know that all of Alaska's oil goes to West Coast refineries, and that when they fill up with gasoline made from Alaska oil, almost $2 of that $4 pump price goes to the Alaska state treasury in taxes and royalties. Thank you, California.
From Rudy Giuliani's intro speech to Palin:
"I didn't know about this vote 'present' when I was mayor of New York City. Sarah Palin didn't have this vote 'present' when she was mayor or governor. You don't get to vote 'present.' It doesn't work in an executive job. For president of the United States, it's not good enough to be present."
Not quite. Palin essentially voted "present" this year when she allowed a bill to become law without her signature. Senate Bill 202 prohibits the state from spending any money to implement provisions of the federally mandated Real ID program. Rather than take a position on the controversial Real ID program in Alaska, the governor voted "present" and let the bill take effect without her signature.
Other thoughts: The governor in last month's special legislation session successfully pushed for a $1,200 energy rebate to Alaskans. Palin's bill would have effectively protected the $1,200 checks from garnishment for child support, student loans and other debts. The legislature overruled the governor and removed the garnishment protection, proclaiming that someone who owes child support should not receive free money from the government.
An earlier version of thios post appeared at AlaskaDispatch.