WSJ reported that Palin "highlighted her opposition" to "that bridge to nowhere" -- but not her previous reported support for it

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

A Wall Street Journal article asserted that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "highlighted her opposition to a much-derided congressional earmark for her state," uncritically quoting her assertion, "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere." In fact, Palin reportedly had supported the project for the proposed bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding for it.

An August 29 article posted on the Wall Street Journal's website asserted that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "highlighted her opposition to a much-derided congressional earmark for her state" and uncritically quoted her assertion, "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere." In fact, during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign, Palin, whom Sen. John McCain has chosen as his running mate, reportedly supported the project for a proposed bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding -- which was authorized by the federal government in 2005, but never appropriated -- for the project.

As governor, Palin in September 2007 "directed the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to look for the most fiscally responsible alternative for access to the Ketchikan airport and Gravina Island instead of proceeding any further with the proposed $398 million bridge," but in a questionnaire published in the October 22, 2006, Anchorage Daily News (accessed from the Nexis database), then-gubernatorial candidate Palin answered the question, "Would you continue state funding for the proposed Knik Arm and Gravina Island bridges?" by writing: "Yes. I would like to see Alaska's infrastructure projects built sooner rather than later. The window is now -- while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist."

Similarly, according to an October 5, 2006, Anchorage Daily News article, Palin supported the bridge project during a 2006 gubernatorial debate:

As for the infamous "bridges to nowhere," [debate moderator Steve] MacDonald asked if the candidates would forge ahead with the proposed Knik Arm crossing between Anchorage and Point MacKenzie and Ketchikan's Gravina Island bridge. Each has received more than $90 million in federal funding and drew nationwide attacks as being unnecessary and expensive. He also asked if they support building an access road from Juneau toward -- but not completely connecting to -- Skagway and Haines.

"I do support the infrastructure projects that are on tap here in the state of Alaska that our congressional delegations worked hard for," Palin said. She said the projects link communities and create jobs.

Still, Palin warned that the flow of federal money into the state for such projects is going to slow.

Further, an October 20, 2006, Associated Press article (accessed from the Nexis database), reported that "Republican Sarah Palin's spokesman, Curtis Smith, said Palin supports the Ketchikan bridge project."

Additionally, a September 21, 2007, press release announcing that she had "directed the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities to look for the most fiscally responsible alternative for access to the Ketchikan airport and Gravina Island" also included the following comment from Palin:

"Ketchikan desires a better way to reach the airport, but the $398 million bridge is not the answer," said Governor Palin. "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island," Governor Palin added. "Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."

From the August 29 Wall Street Journal article:

She called herself an "average hockey mom," and introduced her husband, Todd, and spoke of her five children. That includes her oldest son, Track, who is about to deploy to Iraq. "Todd and I are so proud of him and all the fine men and women serving this country in uniform," she said. The crowd replied with chants of, "USA! USA!"

She also noted her efforts to fight corruption and highlighted her opposition to a much-derided congressional earmark for her state that Sen. McCain loves to hate as well. "I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere," she said. Gov. Palin also took on her state's political establishment that had been rocked by an FBI corruption investigation.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
Wall Street Journal
Person
Sarah Palin
Stories/Interests
2008 Elections
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