(AFP) – Sep 10, 2008
WASHINGTON (AFP) — Officials from Alaska teamed up Wednesday with the campaign of Democrat Barack Obama to launch a group aimed at exposing the truth and debunking myths about Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Palin's surprise nomination as John McCain's running mate has boosted the Republican ticket in opinion polls and, some observers say, put the Democrats on the defensive.
On Wednesday, former Alaska governor Tony Knowles and Bob Weinstein, mayor of Ketchikan, the town at the heart of the controversial "bridge to nowhere" project, teamed up in the latest salvo fired by the Democrats at the Palin nomination: the "Alaska Mythbusters."
The two officials questioned Palin's ethics and the judgment of McCain in choosing her to run alongside him in the race for the White House.
"Our current governor is now a candidate for the vice presidency and is one heartbeat away from the presidency, if she is successful in that regard," Knowles told a telephone news conference.
"I do have some very serious concerns about her qualifications for the office and some of the issues they are running on in terms of change that don't meet the facts of the situation," Knowles said.
"Change is being trumpeted by the McCain-Palin ticket based upon a fiscally conservative approach against pork-barrel spending, and ethics," Knowles said, turning his focus to the "Troopergate" scandal in which Palin is accused of sacking a state official for refusing to fire her sister's ex-husband from the state trooper force.
"When Senator McCain picked Governor Palin, he ignored the fact that there was a very serious ethics investigation against Governor Palin going on," said Knowles.
"I think its important that the resuilts of this investigation be known to the American people before voting," he said.
Palin has launched a delaying tactic to put back any decision-making in the ethics probe -- by filing another probe against herself.
The other newly anointed mythbuster, Weinstein, highlighted a widening Palin "credibility gap."
"For me and many Alaskans I know, there is a growing credibility gap between what Sarah Palin says and what the facts are, between what she says she did and what the record shows she did," Weinstein said, highlighting her record on the so-called "bridge to nowhere."
Palin claims to have blocked an expensive federally funded project to build a bridge linking Ketchikan, a town of around 7,600 people, to an airport on the nearby island of Gravina.
"I told Congress thanks but no thanks for that bridge to nowhere up in Alaska," she has told cheering supporters at last week's Republican National Convention, at a rally in Ohio this week, and again in Virginia on Wednesday.
A myth, said Weinstein.
"Sarah Palin never told Congress, 'thanks, but no thanks'. In fact, she never told Congress anything -- the appropriations process for the bridge happened before she became governor," he said.
And although most of the earmarks for the project -- which involved more than one bridge and a road -- were removed, Alaska received "every cent of its application," he said.
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