Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor, said an analysis by an independent government watchdog group.
As the new mayor of Wasilla, she initiated an annual tradition in 2000 of going to Washington to ask for more earmarks from the state's congressional delegation, mainly Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, Republicans.
She also oversaw the hiring of Robertson, Monagle & Eastaugh, a law firm with close ties to Young and Stevens, who was indicted in July on charges of accepting illegal gifts. The firm initially was paid $24,000 a year, an amount that increased to $36,000 in 2001. According to a review by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group, Wasilla benefited from $26.9 million in earmarks in Palin's final four years in office.
Alaska officials said Sarah Palin's husband, Todd, twice registered as a member of the Alaskan Independence Party, a states' rights group that wants to turn all federal lands in Alaska back to the state. Sarah Palin was never a member of the party, state officials said.
McCain spokesman Brian Rogers accused Barack Obama supporters in engaging in a "nasty smear campaign." Obama spokesman Bill Burton pointed to comments by Lynette Clark, the chairman of the AIP, who told ABC News that Palin and her husband belonged to the party in 1994. Todd Palin has been registered undeclared since 2002.
MCCAIN CANCELS WITH CNN'S KING
HEY, WHAT DID LARRY KING EVER DO TO ANYBODY?
Nothing, aides to John McCain said. Still, McCain canceled a Tuesday sit-down with King on CNN as punishment for what his aides said was an unfair interview of a campaign spokesman by the network host Campbell Brown on Monday.
Brown sharply questioned Tucker Bounds after he said that Sarah Palin's role as commander in chief of the Alaska National Guard was an example of executive experience that Barack Obama did not have. Brown then asked him repeatedly to give an example of one decision she had made in that role. The argument devolved, with no real resolution.
CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer said, "CNN does not believe that exchange was over the line."
a swift seat to president?
Former POW Bud Day, best known as the architect of the Swift Boat campaign against John Kerry's presidential campaign four years ago, had a seat of honor at the convention. He sat next to former President George H.W. Bush, one seat from former First Lady Barbara Bush and in the same row as Cindy McCain.
Day has been working with Sen. John McCain's campaign to rebut criticism.
AN INDIVIDUAL TALENT
Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee said Gov. Sarah Palin is the only nominee of either party who knows "how to properly field dress a moose -- with the possible exception of Teddy Roosevelt."
STAFF AND WIRE REPORTS