Monday, September 01, 2008

And If You Believe That, I've Got A Bridge To Nowhere I'd Like To Sell You

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) - It garnered big applause in her first speech as Republican John McCain's vice presidential pick, but Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's assertion that she rejected Congressional funds for the so-called "bridge to nowhere" has upset many Alaskans.

During her first speech after being named as McCain's surprise pick as a running mate, Palin said she had told Congress "'thanks but no thanks' on that bridge to nowhere."

In the city Ketchikan, the planned site of the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere," political leaders of both parties said the claim was false and a betrayal of their community, because she had supported the bridge and the earmark for it secured by Alaska's Congressional delegation during her run for governor.

The bridge, a span from the city to Gravina Island, home to only a few dozen people, secured a $223 million earmark in 2005. The pricey designation raised a furor and critics, including McCain, used the bridge as an example of wasteful federal spending on politicians' pet projects.

When she was running for governor in 2006, Palin said she was insulted by the term "bridge to nowhere," according to Ketchikan Mayor Bob Weinstein, a Democrat, and Mike Elerding, a Republican who was Palin's campaign coordinator in the southeast Alaska city.

"People are learning that she pandered to us by saying, I'm for this' ... and then when she found it was politically advantageous for her nationally, abruptly she starts using the very term that she said was insulting," Weinstein said.

Palin's spokeswoman in Alaska was not immediately available to comment.

Of course not.

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