(CNN) – John McCain’s campaign defended Sarah Palin Tuesday over a report that highlighted some of her travel expense claims as governor, and announced the launch of the “Palin Truth Squad” to fight future attacks on the VP nominee.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the Alaska governor had billed the state a per diem for 312 days she spent at home, and requested reimbursement for plane rides and hotel rooms for her husband and children, including a $707 room when her daughter accompanied her on a trip to New York to attend a Newsweek forum.
The paper noted that officials said the claims were justified under existing state regulations.
The McCain campaign said that Palin had reduced yearly travel expenses by roughly 80 percent of the amount spent by predecessor Frank Murkowski, in part by selling the governor’s private jet. Roughly half the $93,000 spent went to cover expenses incurred by her family. In a post on the campaign’s Web site, adviser Michael Goldfarb told supporters that Alaskans were paying “pennies on the dollar,” and accused the Washington Post of “hunting for ‘scandal.’”
“As governor of the state, Palin is expected to travel across Alaska to meet her constituents and attend community events. As a mother of five, she occasionally brought her children with her,” wrote Goldfarb. “Her travel-related activities have been appropriately documented, are completely transparent, and entirely legal. She also saved Alaskan taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars in the budgeting process and hundreds of thousands in cutting waste from her own office. It is an impressive record of reform by any measure.”
The McCain-Palin team has made her record on cost-cutting a central element of her vice presidential bid.
The campaign — which has been sending “fight the smears” e-mails whose tone echoes similar messages from Barack Obama’s campaign — also said staffers and major campaign surrogates at the state and national level were forming an official rapid response team that will respond to rumors about the Republican vice presidential nominee, sending alerts and campaign statements to voters and reporters.
“We will not allow those on the left and in the media to smear a woman who has always served her constituents with honor,” the campaign said in a statement. “We know the truth and are committed to ensuring it as well."
The McCain-Palin team has campaigned on media coverage that they describe as excessive or unfair.
No matter how you cut it, charging the government to stay in your own house is a questionable item.
Give me a break.
Wow, what a total reformer. I'm glad that Todd and the rest of the Palin clan got to stay in some nice hotels and have some terrific food on the taxpayers. It's not like we're in a recession or anything. And by the way, she never fired her personal chef...
Why do I get the feeling that the Palin Truth Squad's mission will be to seek out the truth and destroy it with lies?
Hmmm... democrats twisting "facts" to their benefit? What are the odds? Next thing you know they will be making promises that they can't keep.
Instead of bashing Sen. Obama, he will how have to spend the next few weeks defending her because there is more on the horizon. Oh, there is a god!
Not much of a defense. 700 dollar hotel rooms to send her kid on a trip. She wasn't even with her. If our kids want NY trips we have to pay for them. I wonder what else is in the 93000 travel expense.
A Palin Truth Squad is going to have one problem– she hasn't yet uttered a truthful statement!
That's right... So no one can cover anything on Palin.
Are these people kidding themselves? This person is a heart beat away from the presidency... the most powerful job in the world, and they're complaining that reporters are actually doing reporting? ?Talk about a Dick Cheney Wannabee...
Conservatives don't want the truth regrettably, they want lies.
Yeah right. The truth will come out.
WOW, THE TRUTH IS REALLY ANATHEMA TO THE REPTILICANS, LIKE GARLIC OR A CROSS TO VAMPIRES!
So, tell us McCain, did she sell that plane on Ebay, or was that just another fabrication?
Really find it interesting (okay, yeah, I really mean sickening) how you guys keep saying that BO took $1 billion in earmarks for Illinois, when the real number is $311 million. Compare that to your "reformer" running mate who has the highest per-capita earmark receipt of any state in this nation.
Lies, smears and misrepresentations = McCain/Palin
Can someone start the discussion as to why McCain and Palin still are together on the campaign trail?
I think that, at least in theory, the McCain camp is concerned that McCain would draw less crowds than his running mate....thus making him less appealing by showing that the people aren't there for his "message" at all.
Yep, she's just one moral lady, isn't she? Please, America, get smart and realize what an evil fraud and danger to our country this woman is!
So McCain can really look Americans in the eye and justify Palin abusing reimbursments in AK? "Others did it"? Doesn't sound like change to me.
This woman charged the state of Alaska for when she was AT HOME.
This is a woman who claims to be against unnecessary government waste. But here she was, charging the government for being at home.
"Per diem" charges are for travel, not for being at home. Can you imagine if Arnold Schwarzenegger charged the state of California for living at home? If I charged my employer per diem when I was at home, I'd be fired.
Yes, it may be "pennies on the dollar", but that's not the point. The point is that it's not ethical, even if it's legal. And the other point is that it's hypocritical of her to do this. She's essentially double-dipping from the state of Alaska.
Off topic but has she heard of Lasik?
Fact Check – you have it all figured out. There are no democrats who travel with their family at the taxpayer's expense. Did you know that Palin also uses the Gov't credit card to buy the puppies that she sacrifices in the name of Ronlad Reagan? You are a moron.
There's some scent of conflict of interest when a politician hires a "truth" squad dedicated to attacking anyone who dares to question her record. Don't real politicians have to face this sort of scrutiny on a daily basis? Maybe it's an inexperience thing...
This is a great call:
Upgrade to Mac !
Lies Lies Lies! Americans are tired of the lies the Republicans keep trying to sell us. We are smarter than that! If the past 8 years have taught us anything, it is to not believe a word the right says!
AS WE SAY ON THE FARM IN THE FALL, LETS GET DOWN TO THE
McCain is succeeding in distracting SOME of the American people from the real issues. The Republicans want to win the nomination on personality.....I want a campaign on the issues and I will broadcast just as loud as McCain to get my voice heard. I'm not a disgruntled Hillary voter or a disenfranchised woman. So get Read Republicans ..keep bringing on your shenanigans and get your face slapped with the real truth about how to campaign with integrity. McCain does not know the meaning of the word or can even spell the word "integrity." He truly a Ma-vo-WRECK!
I'm not sure what is more soul-draining sad, that a candidate for the presidency (McCain) chauvinistically ignores campaigning on the pressing issues of the day in favor or trash talking opponents, or that a majority of Americans apparently agrees. We are truly in the age of trash TV, where superficiality trumps substance. Sad. So sad. Our forefathers would be ashamed.
We have seen same kind of attacks on Hillary
Now you all repeating to Sarah Palins
Voter will vote Mc Cain Palin ticket in Nov 4th