September 8th, 2008
04:06 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama campaign calls McCain ad a 'lie'

New McCain television ad claims Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere”.
New McCain television ad claims Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere”.

(CNN) – The presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John McCain are sparring over a new television ad claiming Republican VP candidate Sarah Palin stopped the “Bridge to Nowhere” - the infamous $400 million congressional earmark that became the ultimate symbol of excessive pork-barrel spending.

Watch: The McCain campaigns latest ad, 'The Original Mavericks'

The new McCain ad, set to air in key states, calls both the Arizona senator and Palin "original mavericks," and characterizes the Alaska governor as an ardent opponent of the 2005 bridge proposal championed by Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens connecting Ketchikan, Alaska to the Ketchikan airport on Gravina Island (Population: 50).

Several opponents of Palin, as well as the non-partisan factcheck.org, have noted the claim she was against the bridge is not entirely accurate - the Alaska governor was for the bridge during her 2006 gubernatorial bid, and did not begin opposing it until it became clear the project was doomed on Capitol Hill.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton went even further Monday, calling the assertion a flat out "lie."

“Despite being discredited over and over again by numerous news organizations, the McCain campaign continues to repeat the lie that Sarah Palin stopped the Bridge to Nowhere," Burton said. "McCain and Palin will say or do anything to make people believe that they will change something besides the person sitting in the Oval Office."

But McCain spokesman Brian Rogers is standing by the claim, and said the Obama campaign is launching "hysterical attacks."

“The only people ‘lying’ about spending are the Obama campaign," Rogers said. "The only explanation for their hysterical attacks is that they’re afraid that when John McCain and Sarah Palin are in the White House, Barack Obama’s nearly $1 billion in earmark spending will stop dead in its tracks."


Rogers also provided several press clips noting Palin became a critic of the bridge in her early days as governor of Alaska.

UPDATE: The McCain campaign says the Alaska Democratic Party has removed a Web page that credited Palin for killing the Bridge to Nowhere project.

"National Democrats apparently want to rewrite history and say that Palin did not kill the Bridge to Nowhere," the McCain campaign's Michael Goldfarb said.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain
soundoff (726 Responses)
  1. JGM

    As much as I respect you Senator McCain, you are not the original or the singular United States Government 'Maverick' that 'entitlement' belongs to George Washington if anyone. Not you McCain, not you.

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  2. Darren

    Not to mention the FACT THAT SHE TOOK THE MONEY. SOMEBODY PLEASE ASK THE COMPULSIVE LIARS WHAT HAPPENED TO THE MONEY, IF IN FACT SHE SHUT THE PROJECT DOWN???????

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. RP

    Palin was for it before she was against the Bridge to Nowhere. But by the time Palin flip -flopped Congress has already decided the $225m was not to used for that Bridge.
    But Palin and Alaska STILL GOT THE MONEY which she spent it on other projects.
    Alaska is the number one state in the union for earmark money.
    Palin is just a good 'ol boy wearing lipstick.
    I will vote for McCain as 2008 Sexist Man of the Year!

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. demwit

    This is nothing like Biden's being for the war, it's funding and surge but now against it. Or Obama's being against wiretapping American's right up until he voted for it..

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. Ashlee

    WAKE UP AMERICA! Mc Cain is the agent of change....that is such a joke. And I cant believe people think He and palin did a good job in their speech. I am so tired of hearing about Mc Cain's military experince.....and Palin attacking someone who is not on her level. Mc Cain had a chance to tell the American people what he will do for us to help our country and has he done that, NO. Instead he decided to use his time to talk about what happened in the military. We get it already you served, who cares. What are you going to do for us??? Sarah Palin had her chance to tell us about her self and she instead talked about Obama....get a clue they don't have a plan. And all you hilary voters who are backing MC Cain because he has a woman on the ticket....wake up. The only reason he picked her was to keep up with this historcial race....if there was not a hilary, there never would have been a Palin on MC Cain's ticket. You people should have your voter registration cards taken away. People are loosing jobs, homes, and stability and all Mc Cain can talk about is his service.....Give me a break. Obama and Biden are the way to go.

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  6. time for DEMOCRATS to fix the country

    Republicans, McLAme and Palin pride themselves on cutting spending?
    Where? How much did the war cost..... and who gets the money, I heard that soldiers don't get paid much, are poorly equipped and we saw how they are treated after they come back home....
    When you have sound proposals, and want to make the country work like Barak, all you hear from the Republicans, it's counter attacks, but no substance. And behind the closed door they spend money left and right....

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  7. Joseph, Los Angeles

    Lying will always catch up with you. For now, the polls don't mean much. I haven't met anyone who like the McCain/Palin ticket, and I don't live in a bubble.

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  8. David

    Great! Keep up the negative attacks and see where it gets you. The more negative the Obama campaign goes the better the polls look for McCain/Palin. Please keep up the good work-thanks!

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  9. Paizley

    Of course it's a lie...it came out of the Repugs mouths didn't it? The repugs are banking on a voting public that is both gullible and stupid. So far, they have been laughing all the way to the bank. How long are we gonna stand around and let thee tear down this country. WAKE UP PEOPLE!

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  10. Kurt

    If she was against the so against the excessive money for the bridge, why did she take the money anyway? Whether the bridge was build or not, the spending still took place (300 mil. now being used to build a road to a bridge that doesn't exist-your money. Palin a reformer? This would be funny if it wasn't so sad. A lie is a lie...and people are buying it. Sad.

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Ryuken

    I'm voting for McCain just like I said I would if Obama didn't pick Hillary.

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. Independent-Latina-for-OBAMA

    @ JASON: dude, it is what it is! She clearly SUPPORT THE SILLY BRIDGE......... EVEN AS SHE RAN FOR GOVERNOR. OH AND..........

    SHE IS A MOTHER WITH A 4 MONTH OLD BABY.......... HOW WILL SHE BE ABLE TO LEAD THIS NATION AND MOTHER HER CHILDREN?

    As a mother of four grown adults, I KNOW what it takes to RAISE healthy, strong, Christian adults with strong values and ..........plenty of LOVE.

    Sorry, McCain you CHOOSE WRONG!

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Barbara

    I am so mad at Obama for what he did to Hilary...He bad mouthed her during his campaign against her, then he praised her highly after he won, and wanted her to campaign for him and turn her deligates over to him, and pursuade her loyal followers to now back Obama, all the time letting us and Hilary think he was considering her his running mate....and then he chooses Biden...that was a slap in the face not only to Hilary but to us her followers too...then when McCain picked Paliln and started gaining points...he then has the nerve to ask Hilary and a few other ladies to hop out there and campaign for him so he can win the woman vote....does Obama think we are stupid...Hilary was not good enough to run with him but now she is good enough to campaign for him...Hilary is not your puppet Obama....you can not just use her for your advantage and then toss her aside like yesterdays newspaper...Hilary is the one that should be running for the Democrats...not you!! Hilary supporters do not let Obama do this to Hilary....she deserves better then that...

    September 8, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. jimmy

    ALASKA 'S POLITICIANS WERE DEFEATED HANDILY BY GOVERNOR SARAH PALIN WHO PUSHED REFORM ON EXCEESISVE AND UN-NECESSARY GOVERMENT SPENDING LIKE THE JET PLANE SHE SOLD AND PORK BARREL SPENDING BY HER PREDECESSORS. HER TAX INCREASES ON OIL PROFITS BY BIG OIL CREATED A BUDGET SURPLUS FOR HER STATE
    AND SHE GAVE IT BACK TO THE TAXPAYERS OF ALASKA IN THE FORM OF PAYMENTS AND LOWERING OF PROPERTY TAXES.
    SHE HAS AN 80% APPROVAL RATING AMONG ALASKA VOTERS,
    UNMATCHED BY ANY OTHER POLITICAN , GOVERNOR OR SENATOR. NOW SHE ENJOYS THE SUPPORT OF HILLARY'S WHITE WOMEN SUPPORTERS.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  15. What is going on..

    Not only did she support the "BTN" before she opposed it, Alaska still got the earmark money for it, they just spent it on different things.

    I guess McCain and Palin don't think Americans will do research before they lie about anything.

    And what of this investigation into her abusing power in trying to fire a state trooper... She initially said she had nothing to do with it and then backtracked when her aide was caught on tape mentioning her name in accordance with the trooper's employment..

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Independent

    Jason, you are incorrect. She did not change her mind after she saw the facts. Palin supported the bridge to nowhere when she ran for governor and continued supporting it while in office.

    When Congress refused funding for the bridge, then the bridge would only be built if Alaska paid for it. Seeing this, Palin reluctantly killed the project. She even issued a statement regretting the lack of funding by the federal government. She kept the money that had already been sent to Alaska and did not return it to the federal government.

    It is a straight out lie.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Maggie

    I guess the mccain camp is entitled to their own opinions and their own facts.

    I'm still not buyin' what they're selling.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. Tired of W, OH

    It IS a lie. How can the McCain campaign call the documented facts "hysterical attacks" when the truth is staring them right in the face? Changing your opinion on something after it's already destined to fail does not make you a "maverick."

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  19. Charlie Black

    McCain campaign, not Palin campaign. Photo does not reflect that.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  20. Dan in NY

    Hey CNN...

    Instead of saying that the Obama camp "CALLS" the Palin ad a lie, why not do a little investigative reporting of your own and FIND OUT whether the claim that she always opposed the Bridge to Nowhere.

    I understand that it's comfortable to report on politics in this he said / she said way - it allows you to seem impartial - but your journalistic responsibility to report the truth MUST trump your desire to appear unbiased.

    In this case, there is a record that you can and should investigate. Did Sarah Palin always oppose the Bridge to Nowhere? Or did she support it until the project became untenable and only announced her opposition at the very end? These are questions you should answer concretely. Then, if it turns out that this McCain-Palin campaign ad is in fact a "lie," you can report on it as such and the campaign will suffer the consequences. As it stands, however, by reporting the story this way, you're just being LAZY - and you are abdicating your reponsibility to the American people as the finder of fact and truth.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  21. Independent for Obama

    The fact of the matter is that the "Bridge to Nowhere" cost a few HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS of tax money. She didn't send it back to Washington, she SPENT IT.

    Where is my refund? GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY, SARAH PALIN!!!

    Also, for all the socialist talk, it's kind of funny that no one minds we're becoming a FASCIST nation.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. trc

    Um yeah - you try something, it doesn't work and then you realize it's costing a lot of money for something that doesn't work and you call for it to end.

    No brainer. That's what any of us would do. Sarah did nothing wrong.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  23. Suzanne

    The Republicans have a history of repeating lies thinking that if they say it often and with conviction it makes them true. Where are the true unbiased news networks who will report on these lies. They certainly questioned all things Obama but seem afraid to touch Palin and McCain who blatantly lie then retreat behind a wall claiming media bias. This is so crazy you think you are in the Twilight Zone of politics. Lies become true and truth is squashed because it does not appeal to ratings while this country is hurting from the last 8 years.

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Justin, ny

    IF SHE IS SO AGAINST THE BRIDGE TO NOWEHERE HOW COME HER STATE NEVER GAVE BACK THE MONEY THE FEDERAL GOVT. GAVE THEM TO COMPLETE THE "BRIDGE TO NOWHERE"??!?!?! THE KEPT THE MONEY – EVEN WHEN NOW "AGAINST" THE BRIDGE, THEY STILL HAVE THE MONEY!!!!!!

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Greg in Denver

    Palin would not be getting away with these lies if the media would start doing their jobs and started vetting her. I don't understand how the media was so relentless, week after week, in forcing Obama (when he was just one of several candidates during the primary) to defend his pastor's positions and statements but don't force Palin to defend her OWN positions and statements.

    I suspect that when the McCain campaign cancelled McCain's interview on Larry King Live for what they claimed was unfair coverage of Palin, it spooked the main stream media. They're now afraid to confront and vet Palin. I think they're also afraid of accusations of sexism.

    The media's failure to vet who is now the Republican party's nominee for Vice President is disgraceful! Do your jobs!! Obama had to answer and explain all of his positions before he was even the nominee. Why is Palin getting a free ride!!!!!!!!

    September 8, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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