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Thursday, September 4, 2008


Attacks, praise stretch truth at GOP convention
By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Sep 3, 11:48 PM ET

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin and her Republican supporters held back little Wednesday as they issued dismissive attacks on Barack Obama and flattering praise on her credentials to be vice president. In some cases, the reproach and the praise stretched the truth.

Some examples:

PALIN: "I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending ... and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress. I told the Congress 'thanks but no thanks' for that Bridge to Nowhere."

THE FACTS: As mayor of Wasilla, Palin hired a lobbyist and traveled to Washington annually to support earmarks for the town totaling $27 million. In her two years as governor, Alaska has requested nearly $750 million in special federal spending, by far the largest per-capita request in the nation. While Palin notes she rejected plans to build a $398 million bridge from Ketchikan to an island with 50 residents and an airport, that opposition came only after the plan was ridiculed nationally as a "bridge to nowhere."

PALIN: "There is much to like and admire about our opponent. But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform — not even in the state senate."

THE FACTS: Compared to McCain and his two decades in the Senate, Obama does have a more meager record. But he has worked with Republicans to pass legislation that expanded efforts to intercept illegal shipments of weapons of mass destruction and to help destroy conventional weapons stockpiles. The legislation became law last year. To demean that accomplishment would be to also demean the work of Republican Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, a respected foreign policy voice in the Senate. In Illinois, he was the leader on two big, contentious measures in Illinois: studying racial profiling by police and requiring recordings of interrogations in potential death penalty cases. He also successfully co-sponsored major ethics reform legislation.

PALIN: "The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars."

THE FACTS: The Tax Policy Center, a think tank run jointly by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, concluded that Obama's plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5 percent by 2012, or nearly $2,200 annually. McCain's plan, which cuts taxes across all income levels, would raise after tax-income for middle-income taxpayers by 3 percent, the center concluded.

Obama would provide $80 billion in tax breaks, mainly for poor workers and the elderly, including tripling the Earned Income Tax Credit for minimum-wage workers and higher credits for larger families.

He also would raise income taxes, capital gains and dividend taxes on the wealthiest. He would raise payroll taxes on taxpayers with incomes above $250,000, and he would raise corporate taxes. Small businesses that make more than $250,000 a year would see taxes rise.

MCCAIN: "She's been governor of our largest state, in charge of 20 percent of America's energy supply ... She's responsible for 20 percent of the nation's energy supply. I'm entertained by the comparison and I hope we can keep making that comparison that running a political campaign is somehow comparable to being the executive of the largest state in America," he said in an interview with ABC News' Charles Gibson.

THE FACTS: McCain's phrasing exaggerates both claims. Palin is governor of a state that ranks second nationally in crude oil production, but she's no more "responsible" for that resource than President Bush was when he was governor of Texas, another oil-producing state. In fact, her primary power is the ability to tax oil, which she did in concert with the Alaska Legislature. And where Alaska is the largest state in America, McCain could as easily have called it the 47th largest state — by population.

MCCAIN: "She's the commander of the Alaska National Guard. ... She has been in charge, and she has had national security as one of her primary responsibilities," he said on ABC.

THE FACTS: While governors are in charge of their state guard units, that authority ends whenever those units are called to actual military service. When guard units are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, for example, they assume those duties under "federal status," which means they report to the Defense Department, not their governors. Alaska's national guard units have a total of about 4,200 personnel, among the smallest of state guard organizations.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOV. MIKE HUCKABEE: Palin "got more votes running for mayor of Wasilla, Alaska than Joe Biden got running for president of the United States."

THE FACTS: A whopper. Palin got 616 votes in the 1996 mayor's election, and got 909 in her 1999 re-election race, for a total of 1,525. Biden dropped out of the race after the Iowa caucuses, but he still got 76,165 votes in 23 states and the District of Columbia where he was on the ballot during the 2008 presidential primaries.

FORMER MASSACHUSETTS GOV. MITT ROMNEY: "We need change, all right — change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington! We have a prescription for every American who wants change in Washington — throw out the big-government liberals, and elect John McCain and Sarah Palin."

THE FACTS: A Back-to-the-Future moment. George W. Bush, a conservative Republican, has been president for nearly eight years. And until last year, Republicans controlled Congress. Only since January 2007 have Democrats have been in charge of the House and Senate.


Associated Press Writer Jim Drinkard in Washington contributed to this report.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Things McCain & Bush hope you'll forget

Republicans are hoping that when Americans watch this week's Republican convention, we'll forget about the last eight years.

So we ( have put together this list of the Bush administration's "accomplishments."

It's actually shocking, even when you've lived through it. Take a moment to read it and pass it along:

Misleading about Iraq's WMD

Implying a connection between Saddam and 9/11
Launching a war that's killed 4,150 Americans and wounded more than 30,000

Challenging Iraqi insurgents to attack U.S. troops: "Bring 'em on"

Granting no-bid contracts to Halliburton in Iraq

Failing to respond to Hurricane Katrina

Hiring unqualified crony to run FEMA

Praising crony's performance: "Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job"

Neglecting reconstruction of New Orleans' homes and levees

Promising American troops would be greeted as liberators
Declaring "Mission Accomplished" and later blaming the banner on troops
Cherry-picking facts about WMDs in Iraq, then blaming the CIA

Promising the Iraq war would lower gas prices

Claiming the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes" in 2005

Allowing Osama Bin Laden to escape

Launching a war that's killed countless Iraqi civilians

Using Terri Schiavo for political gain

Attempting to alter Constitution to allow discrimination against gay people

Wiretapping our phones without court order

Fighting to privatize Social Security

Stealing the 2000 election (remember Katherine Harris, voter purges, and the Supreme Court?)

Concealing the pre-9/11 Presidential Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."

Ignoring security at nuclear plants after 9/11

Battling the wall between church and state

Enforcing abstinence-only programs in public schools

Doing too little to halt genocide in Darfur

Trying to slash funding for PBS and NPR

Rejecting the Kyoto Treaty to stop climate change

Giving tax cuts to the rich in a time of war

Failing seniors with the costly Medicare prescription drug benefit

Suppressing the vote in the 2004 elections (remember Diebold and long lines in Ohio?)

Swiftboating John Kerry

Outing CIA agent Valerie Plame to retaliate for truth about Iraq's WMDs

Telling the 45 million uninsured Americans to just go to the emergency room

Spending $341 million a day in Iraq

Neglecting wounded soldiers at Walter Reed Medical Center

Allowing Afghanistan to fall into chaos, with the Taliban and al Qaeda regaining control

Pressuring PBS to carry pro-government propaganda

Paying columnists like Armstrong Williams to promote government policies

Creating fake news reels to promote the controversial Medicare law

Holding prisoners without trial at Guantanamo Ba

Covering up torture at Abu Ghraib

Breaking the Geneva Conventions

Appointing extreme right-wing Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito

Forcing the Patriot Act into law

Firing federal prosecutors who failed to accuse Democrats of voting fraud

Turning a budget surplus into massive budget deficit

Letting more than a million homes go into foreclosure—the highest rate ever recorded

Watching as bank failures surge

Setting the record for most days on vacation by any president in U.S. history

Losing 2.7 million manufacturing jobs

Presiding over Enron scandal—the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history

Increasing nuclear threat by withdrawing from Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty with Russia

Appointing John Bolton as U.N. ambassador despite his promise to dismantle the U.N.

Holding secret meetings with Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell, and BP to set energy policy

Letting gas prices double while resisting fuel efficiency and clean energy

Still bored? Here's another site with great stuff to read!