Does Obama Really Want to Talk About Earmarks?

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Sep 08, 2008 6:18 PM
If Barack Obama wants to rail against Sarah Palin's record on earmarks he'd better be prepared to defend why he allocated hundreds of millions of tax dollars for his own pet-projects.

Yes, Palin did indicate some support for a Ketchikan "link" (which could be a bridge or a ferry) while campaigning to become Governor. Her exact quote the Obama campaign is using against her is from a 2006 article in the Ketchikan Daily News. Palin is quoted saying:
"The money that's been appropriated for the project, it should remain available for a link, an access process as we continue to evaluate the scope and just how best to just get this done. This link is a commitment to help Ketchikan expand its access, to help this community prosper."
"Link" is the operative word. That can mean bridge, ferry or anything else that gets people from one location to another. She also said the "scope" should be considered, which can mean size and cost. Regardless, as Governor, when it really counted, she opposed the bridge flat-out. Meanwhile, in the US Senate, Obama VOTED FOR the $400 million Bridge to Nowhere.

As Governor, Palin went on to veto $231 million worth of pork from the proposed state budget her first year in office. The next year, state legislators reinserted many of those same earmarks into the budget and asked the Governor to okay $58 billion to pay them. She vetoed them again.

The Democrats are also trying to blame Palin for all of Alaska's earmarks, but only U.S. senators and members of Congress are responsible for snagging their pork. And as U.S. Senator Obama requested more than $740 million for his pet-projects in the last three years, including a $1 million earmark for the hospital his wife was working at and a $750,000 earmark to pay for the renovation of a space center named after top Obama donor James S. Crown's grandfather, Henry Crown.

And since Obama is bringing it up, why doesn't he explain why he sought more than $3.4 million earmarks for his VP Joe Biden's lobbyist son, Hunter? I thought Obama detested lobbyists and those kind of cozy, Senate relationships.

I made a list of some of Obama's other earmarks for a previous edition of Townhall magazine that I'm recopying for our online readers below:

-$8.5 million to prevent Asian Carp fish from entering the Great Lakes through the Chicago waterways

-More than $6.9 million for Chicago museums

-$5 million for the Young Men’s Christian Association to combat chronic diseases and obesity

-$3 million for the Adler Planetarium

-$3 million for a new Chicago park to honor Jean Bapstiste Point DuSable.

-$2 million for ethanol research

-$2 million for soybean research

-$200,000 for the construction of a theater company “using green construction standards”

So, again, does Barack Obama really want to have this conversation? Does he want to defend his vote for the $400 million Bridge to Nowhere and his earmarks for Joe Biden's lobbyist son, Asian Carp, museums, planetariums and green construction?

Interested readers can also peruse Obama's earmarks requests on Lynn Sweet's blog HERE that she posted after he finally decided to release all his requests. He refused to disclose them to Sweet, the Chicago-Sun Times reporter whose been covering Obama, for almost a year.