Setting The Record: Palin's Earmarks

Its one of those claims that gets so much applause.

"I told Congress 'thanks but no thanks,' to that bridge to nowhere," Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has said over and over on the campaign trail, CBS News correspondent Wyatt Andrews reports.

Palin just won't let it go. But the truth is the governor never rebuffed Congress. Here are the facts.

After a year of supporting the proposed bridge, near Ketchikan, Palin pulled state funds from the project, which killed the bridge for good, but she never said "no thanks" to the Federal funds promised by Congress - $233 million.

In fact, here's the list of how Palin is spending those federal tax dollars - on other highway projects around Alaska. As a candidate for governor, she defended every dollar for roads and bridges the state could wrangle from Washington, according to the Congressional Record and the Alaska Department of Transportation.

"I'm not going to stand in the way of progress that our Congressional delegation in the position of strength that they have right now, they are making those efforts for the state of Alaska," Palin said.

Now however, Palin is on a Republican ticket that's promising to reform all earmark spending - all of those federal grants aimed at specific local projects.

And McCain's credibility here is excellent.

"My friends, I have never asked for nor received a single earmark pork-barrel project for my state of Arizona," McCain said.

Palin's record on earmarks is mixed. Compared to the previous governor, Palin's earmarks are down 44 percent, but stills totals more than $450 million over two years.

By repeating the claim she said no thanks to the bridge, the implication is that she confronted a spendthrift Congress recklessly wasting money.

The record shows she wanted that bridge until the end and kept the money.
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