October 31st, 2008
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Fact check: Does Palin have more 'experience' than Obama and Biden combined?

The Statement
Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, in an interview October 31 on ABC's "Good Morning America," praised his running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, saying in part that she has "more experience than Senator Biden and Senator Obama put together."

Get the facts!

The Facts:
McCain doesn't clarify what he means by "experience." But during the campaign, Palin, 44, has said she has ore governmental "executive experience" than Obama.

She served as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, from 1996 to 2002, and has been governor of that state since December 2006, a total of nearly eight years executive experience. She also served for four years on Wasilla's City Council.

Obama and Biden have held elected posts as lawmakers, but have not, like Palin, served in elected executive posts, such as mayor or governor. However, they have around four times the amount of elected office experience combined than Palin.

Obama, 47, has 11 years and around eight months of experience. He served in the Illinois State Senate from January 1997 to November 2004. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in Illinois in 2004 and was sworn in on January 3, 2005.

Biden, 65, has 37 years of elected office experience. He served two years on the New Castle County Council in Delaware and then was elected to the U.S. Senate in Delaware in 1972. He was sworn into the Senate on January 5, 1973, and has served there since.

McCain, 72, himself has more elected office experience than Palin, with nearly 26 years of experience in Congress. He was elected to the House in Arizona in 1982 and then was elected to the Senate in 1986.

The Verdict:
Misleading. McCain didn't use the caveat "executive experience." Obama and Biden combined have four times the amount of elected office experience than Palin. McCain himself has more than twice the amount of experience.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Fact Check • John McCain
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