FACT CHECK: Palin's book goes rogue on some facts

AP News

11/13/2009 5:41:30 PM - AP News

Sarah Palin's new book goes rogue on some facts.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer's dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician indifferent to high ambition.

Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Barack Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor George W. Bush _ a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in "Going Rogue," obtained by The Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

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PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking "only" for reasonably priced rooms and not "often" going for the "high-end, robe-and-slippers" hotels.

THE FACTS: Although she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) for a five-hour women's leadership conference in New York in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000.

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PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations and turned back large checks if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC.

Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.

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PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, "you'll have to be brave enough to fail."

THE FACTS: Palin is blurring Obama's stimulus plan _ a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts _ and the federal bailout that President George W. Bush signed.

Palin's views on bailouts appeared to evolve as John McCain's vice presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said "taxpayers cannot be looked to" to bail out Wall Street.

The next month, she praised McCain for being "instrumental in bringing folks together" to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said "it is a time of crisis and government did have to step in."

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PALIN: Criticizes an aide to her predecessor, Gov. Frank Murkowski, for a conflict of interest because the aide represented the state in negotiations over a gas pipeline and then left to work as a handsomely paid lobbyist for ExxonMobil. Palin asserts her administration ended all such arrangements, shoving a wedge in the revolving door between special interests and the state capital.

THE FACTS: Palin ignores her own "revolving door" issue in office; the leader of her own pipeline team was a former lobbyist for a subsidiary of TransCanada, the company that ended up winning the rights to build the pipeline.

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PALIN: Welcomes last year's Supreme Court decision deciding punitive damages for victims of the nation's largest oil spill tragedy, the Exxon Valdez disaster, stating it had taken 20 years to achieve victory. As governor, she says, she'd had the state argue in favor of the victims, and she says the court's ruling went "in favor of the people."

THE FACTS: That response is at odds with her reaction at the time to the ruling, which resolved the case by reducing punitive damages for victims to $500 million from $2.5 billion. Palin said then she was "extremely disappointed" and it was "tragic" so many fishermen and families put their lives on hold waiting for the decision.

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PALIN: "Was it ambition? I didn't think so. Ambition drives; purpose beckons." Throughout the book, Palin cites altruistic reasons for running for office, and for leaving early as Alaska governor.

THE FACTS: Few politicians own up to wanting high office for the power and prestige of it, and in this respect, Palin fits the conventional mold. But "Going Rogue" has all the characteristics of a pre-campaign manifesto, the requisite autobiography of the future candidate.

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AP writers Matt Apuzzo, Sharon Theimer, Tom Raum, Rita Beamish, Beth Fouhy, H. Josef Hebert, Justin D. Pritchard, Garance Burke, Dan Joling and Lewis Shaine contributed to this report.