THE BOGUS EBAY STORY.... In a video tribute to Sarah Palin at the Republican convention, the voice-over boasted that she had "auctioned the governor's jet on eBay." Yesterday, John McCain stretched the story a little further.
"You know what I enjoyed the most?" McCain asked. "She took the luxury jet that was acquired by her predecessor and sold it on eBay -- made a profit."
[I]n fact, the jet did not sell on eBay. It was sold to a businessman from Valdez named Larry Reynolds, who paid $2.1 million for the jet, shy of the original $2.7 million purchase price, according to contemporaneous news reports, including a story in the New York Times. Dan Spencer, the director of administrative services for Alaska's Public Safety Department, said that the Republican speaker of the Alaska House, John L. Harris, brokered the deal. Reynolds made campaign contributions to both Palin and Harris in 2006 and 2007.
What happened? It appears that, as promised during her bid for governor in 2006, Palin did try to sell the plane on eBay but that doing so was not as easy as it might have sounded. After putting it up to auction, there was one serious bid, in December 2006, and it fell through.
To be sure, there have been plenty of more serious misrepresentations regarding Palin over the last week or so. Telling a tall tale about the sale of a jet is a relatively minor example of giving Palin's thin record an unearned boost, and it's hardly the most striking lie we've heard since she was tapped for the ticket.
But the bigger problem remains the same: the McCain campaign doesn't seem to know who Sarah Palin is. McCain & Co. have said she opposed the "bridge to nowhere." That's false. They've said she opposes earmarks. That's false. They've said she took on Ted Stevens. That's false. They've said she cut taxes in Alaska. That's false. They've said she gained national security experience as head of the Alaska National Guard. That's false. The eBay story just gets added to the list.
Once again, the problem isn't necessarily Palin's background, it's the McCain campaign's unfamiliarity with her background, and its willingness to make stuff up.
Frankly, if the McCain campaign were genuinely impressed with Palin's readiness for national office, the lies wouldn't be necessary.