September 6th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
14 years ago

Alaska state jet didn't fly on eBay

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Since being named as Sen. McCain's running mate, Gov. Palin has mentioned several times that she put a government plane up for sale on EBay - including during her speech before the GOP convention."]
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (CNN) - Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin bolstered her fiscal-conservative credentials early in her term by putting her predecessor's state jet up for auction online.

"That luxury jet was over the top," she told Republican National Convention delegates when she accepted the party's vice presidential nomination Wednesday night. "I put it on eBay."

Since Palin was chosen as Arizona Sen. John McCain's running mate last week, the story has become a cornerstone of the Republican effort to paint Palin as a reformer who took on her own party establishment.

"How many saw her speech a couple of nights ago? Wasn't it fabulous?" McCain said Friday during a campaign stop in Cedarburg, Wisconsin. "You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was purchased by her predecessor and sold it on eBay - and made a profit."

But it turns out the twin-engine Westwind II was a tough sell on the Web - and the state eventually pulled it offline and sold it through an ordinary brick-and-mortar brokerage, for a loss, a spokeswoman said Friday.

"Governor Palin has been correct in saying that she put the plane on eBay," McCain campaign spokeswoman Maria Comella told CNN. "They did end up selling it for $2.1 million. But not on eBay."

Palin's predecessor, Frank Murkowski, bought the jet for $2.7 million in 2005. The following year, Palin unseated Murkowski in the state's Republican primary and became governor: Upon taking office, she wanted to unload what former aide Meg Stapleton called "a symbol of corruption."

Stapleton told CNN that Murkowski paid too much for the jet, and that it was costing taxpayers money just sitting in the hangar.

"Eventually you had to concede and say, 'How often are we going to pay these bills and waste more state dollars?' " she said.

When putting it on eBay failed, aircraft broker Rob Heckmann was called in to sell the jet. Businessman Larry Reynolds bought the five-passenger jet for sold for $2.1 million. And Reynolds is now seeking another $50,000 from the state for unexpected maintenance issues with the aircraft.

–CNN's Sara Lane contributed to this report

Filed under: Popular Posts • Sarah Palin
soundoff (340 Responses)
  1. Kevin from Florida

    Republicans lying, what else is new??


    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  2. Tiz

    Gov. Palin said "I *put* it on eBay." Very carefully chosen words by her speech writers. It sounds, for all intents and purposes, as if she dumped it, sold it, got rid of it on eBay, and maybe even got her money back. But the words she used did not specifically say she SOLD it on eBay, and of course she wasn't about to say what the actual terms of the final brokered sale were. She told the truth, even though the word-smithing is just creative enough to achieve the desired sensational effect. The state took a loss on the sale of jet, but it was a much smaller loss than the loss of having a 2.7 million dollar gas can sitting in a hangar. It's all theater, people. And in this case, all fluff, too.

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  3. Alison, FL

    Dmitriy...yes she did! and McCain added, "she got a profit"...PAY ATTENTION!


    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Miguel


    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  5. dan smith

    ann,did you not notice john mc cain's mother there.age-96 years young

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  6. 4Obama

    She's a lying, mean spirited person....

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  7. Jeff B

    So Palin really told the truth in her speach, but the article and title is skewed as if she lied. Wake up America, begin thinking for yourselves, or are you just going to let the corporate media giants pick your next President? Sarah Palin is being trashed by the media not the citizens of her state or our country. Does it worry anybody else that Obama doesn't get anywhere this kind of scrutiny? I have not decided who I will support because I get no facts or details on what either candidate would really do and solid fair reporting of policy. Instead I get rumors, gossip...tabloid, made-for-tv garbage. We voters are starving for truth, equal and fair reporting of how these canditates will actually govern...not that Palin put the jet on Ebay but it didn't sell there!

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  8. John, North Carolina

    Just goes to show that McCain's short term memory is going – sure sign of Alzhiemers. The man is smitten with her. In his eyes, she can tell no lies and do no wrong. He'll fight anybody who tries to take her away from him. Neither of them can deliver a speech without reading it.

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  9. Former Dem

    CNN – you're kidding. Talk about splitting hairs. The facts are she sold the plane so the state tax payers would not get stuck with the bills.

    This crap is why people hate the media – unless your an Obama supporter that is.

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  10. Choose life

    Well said Dmitriy, "She said she put it on e-bay" (which she did). "She didn't say she sold it on e-bay."

    September 5, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  11. kittoo

    DMITRIY can you read?

    Read this line made by McCain today

    "You know what I enjoyed the most? She took the luxury jet that was purchased by her predecessor and sold it on eBay — and made a profit."

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  12. Leslie

    God help us if McCain/Palin win this election. What little freedom we now have will be gone. I was backing Hillary and I am sticking with my party and Obama. As a woman, I cannot back another woman who shares none of my values. Let's take this country back before it is too late.

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  13. Melanie, Tampa FL

    Somebody needs to ask Sara Palin what she replaced the state jet with. I heard today that she and her husband have a small Piper airplane, which they loved so much they named their daughter after it. Could it be that she uses her personal airplane for government travel and writes off the maintenance and gas to the state? Or is she charging the price of an airline ticket? Doesn't a Governer have to have some way to travel back and forth? And why would you get rid of the State jet? What about the Governor that may take her place in the future, what will he or she use? Someone needs to check into these things. My guess is that Sara is not telling the whole truth.

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Mrs. Texas Teacher

    I just read Anne Kilkinney's open letter about Palin. What a brave person to reveal these facts.

    My hair is standing on end! Palin is completely frightening. Surely McCain camp checked out this business. They knew they had found a kindred spirit in Palin, she will follow right along with the party line. I think they just did not think that her history would come out as it is..... what's that old saying: what's done in the dark, will come to the light?

    When you play dirty tricks on We, the People... you better think twice. The pay back can be hell come election day!

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  15. Donna

    This is so wrong. Don't lie to my face and expect me to vote for you...woman or not. McCain and Palin-shame on you.

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Becky in Indiana

    We don't need another slick talker that is only telling part of the story...

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. jfg

    I'm surprised this is news. Palin's statement was accurate about the jet. McCain got the facts confused, but the main idea of the story is true: Palin sold the jet. There's bigger issues than this,

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. Michigan Independent

    Dmitriy....she AND McCain said today she SOLD it on

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. Irish

    Dear Dmitriy, So we have to be wordsmiths to figure out what our elected leaders are saying? We have been down that road. This is not what McCain calls 'straight' talk. Straight talk means just that. It is the truth. Factual. No nuances or interpretations. Bill Clinton lost me when he tried to redefine 'is'. Come on, America, we are so much better than this.

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. A CANUCK


    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  21. "Rocky" Lyon - DEMOCRAT FOR McCAIN

    I cannot beleive how many AMericans accept the biased reporting of networks like CNN, without question, without analysis and complete thought. News Mediae do not (with maybe the exception of FOX) report and represent objective truth with ALL facts and scenarios in a story. At best, they report half truth. IF they really were "investigative" and did it thier way, as a POlice CHief, I would NEVER HIRE THEM or go to COurt with thier reports. THey never tell all the facts objectively. Democrats, please get some brains or at least learn to discern. As for this Democrat, I am voting REPUBLICAN. Mac-Sarah 2008. NoBAMA and NO socialist liberals.

    September 5, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  22. Rhonda

    Palin is touted as being a fiscal conservative but yet she took over control of a city with zero debt and left it with 22 million in debt when she left office.

    I'm a Republican and this ticket (McCain/Palin) scares me.

    September 5, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. lilacs

    We have 8years of lies and bs and now they believe that they continue to lie to americans and we will fall for it all over again. Not so fast not everyone is going to keep drinking the kool-aid. This woman is as bad as the men in the republican party. Liars all of them. She might think she is a pitbull but all she is is full of s-t. When a pitbull becomes to aggressive they muzzle it and retrain them or puts them to sleep. This she devil is not what america needs. Think long and hard before you go blindly and votefor this woman.

    September 5, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  24. ts

    Dmitriy September 5th, 2008 8:33 pm ET

    She said she put it on e-bay. She didn't say she sold it on e-bay.


    McCain said she put it on ebay and sold it for a profit. Not only did she not sell it for a profit but she had to list it on ebay three times. It never sold on ebay. And as far as I know she didn't correct McCain. Of course McCain doesn't know anything about the internet either.

    September 5, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. mike in central va

    why do the republicans feel the need to lie and over-exagerate about EVERYTHING.are they that stupid or do they think everybody is dumb enough to believe everything they say

    September 5, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
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