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

Obama campaign calls McCain ad a 'lie'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="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, 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. Sally

    We get what we vote for. If you liked the last 8 years vote McCain and get 4 more. Rich get richer...heck, enough will never be enough!$!$!$$!!

    September 8, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. bill4bigjohn

    The thought of Obama as our leader frightens me. He so weak as a leader I can imagine how Putin, Chavez and others will push him around. Putin will probably have him cleaning his house. What a joke for President.

    September 8, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. James, Cary NC

    Why is CNN staying hands-off about this issue? It looks like the evidence is in, and the Republicans made a false claim. Saying "Obama claims..." makes it easier for the Republicans to deny it. If the evidence is there, report it!!

    September 8, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Epluribus

    If Obama hadn't been so arrogant, he would've chose Hillary as his VP, and McCain wouldn't even have chosing Palin. He has no one but himself to blame, and I commend McCain on his selection, it showed great judgement.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  5. Ian

    The sad thing is that we've now been presented with two different stories and most people will just pick one rather than actually try to research it themselves.

    90210 '08

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  6. Ted

    * So when Obama said "the sky will open, the sun will shine down on you and you will know you should vote for me"... that's not a blatant LIE and a God-like remark?

    * What about the fact that Obama said he won his Chicago election... when in reality he got everyone else kicked off the ballot in a very dirty political trick. Wasn't that a LIE?

    * What about Obama saying he was "against the war in Iraq" when he was running against Clinton but once he was the nominee he said the "surge worked and I'm glad I voted to support our troops". Another LIE?

    Obama and the Democrats are running a campaign that looks like a party that is scared of losing.

    They haven't talked about the issues since Palin's speech at the RNC.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. Lori

    There is a simple way to determine people's support for McCain, either they are uninformed and believe what is being spoonfed, or the ultra rich who want the "conservative" tax loophole. Republicans spend before they consider where the money is coming from, then dare to accuse the Dems of pork barrelling? How much on the Iraq war now? If you are paying attention, we are starting to really burn our bridges to the citezens in Afganistan for getting caught in the fray.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. malabar

    Obama is in over his head and is now seeking te help of the Clintons.
    He's a hypocrite who only stands for change when it helps his own career. Hillary should be thankful she's not on this losing ticket.
    btw, i'm voting for the top of the ticket, so keep attacking Palin, it only helps Republicans when you do.
    Remember he was 'present' 130 times, he's indecisive and inexperienced and he reaks of it.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Lovely in VA

    "Despite being discredited over and over again by numerous news organizations, the McCain campaign continues to repeat the lie"

    – just like they continue to repeat using the same music in which five artists have told them not too. (I know there are many more examples of lying but this one irks me especially.)

    Do you really think they care at this point whether they are lying to you or not? Their number one goal is to keep the White House. That's it and they'll do whatever to whoever and not look back.

    And what's with MSM all of a sudden? Now you're going to pander to McCain because the big bosses are losing big money from republican investors. Sorry, but KO and CM are the only two journalists that have ever come close to speaking for me. It's about time too. I for one have been quiet to long. If they don't cover the rest of the election, I will be watching CSPAN, and I encourage others to do the same.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  10. Al, NY NY

    She was for it before she was against it...... Sounds a little bit like what the Repukelicans used against John Kerry and the war (He was against it and then for it). They love to twist things to their advantage and as long as they keep hammering it into peoples' heads, the lemmings and dimwitted will believe it

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Kayla

    If McCain and Palin are lying now...what will it be like if they are elected? Scary. Vote OBAMA.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    The Presidental election is going to be all about, race, gender and age.......nothing original nor maverick about that.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Brandi, Minneapolis MN

    As far as I am concerned Palin gives pitt bulls, lipstick and baracuda's a bad name. I thought it apalling she would be plopped on stage for her first national appearance and come out so vile and mocking. If nothing else, all of the candidates who've actually been wrung through the wringer for the last 2 years deserve more respect. It was totally vile. I was independent, because I know how much spin goes on, I want to hear more on issues. I can tell you as an independent voter, I found it difficult to stomach her tone and that crowd laughing. Neither part gets credibility from voters like me when that is their tactic. She moved me closer to the dems with that show. I want to hear more, but accepting a speech writers direction or not, that was a very bad call on teh republicans to gain voters like me.

    September 8, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  14. Lost of CNN Moderation

    Come on CNN! Stop carrying water for the McPalin ticket and post my comments.

    McCain even went after Palin for HER earmarks. From the LA Times.

    This year, Palin, who has been governor for nearly 22 months, defended earmarking as a vital part of the legislative system. "The federal budget, in its various manifestations, is incredibly important to us, and congressional earmarks are one aspect of this relationship," she wrote in a newspaper column.

    In 2001, McCain's list of spending that had been approved without the normal budget scrutiny included a $500,000 earmark for a public transportation project in Wasilla. The Arizona senator targeted $1 million in a 2002 spending bill for an emergency communications center in town — one that local law enforcement has said is redundant and creates confusion.

    McCain also criticized $450,000 set aside for an agricultural processing facility in Wasilla that was requested during Palin's tenure as mayor and cleared Congress soon after she left office in 2002. The funding was provided to help direct locally grown produce to schools, prisons and other government institutions, according to Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan watchdog group.

    Wasilla received $11.9 million in earmarks from 2000 to 2003. The results of this spending are very apparent today. (The town also benefited from $15 million in federal funds to promote regional rail transportation.)

    The community transit center is a landmark: a one-story, tile-fronted building with a drive-through garage. Its fleet of 10 buses provides service throughout the region. Mat-Su Community Transit Agency officials say the building was made possible with a combination of federal money and matching gifts from a private foundation.

    Taylor Griffin, a McCain campaign spokesman, said that when Palin became mayor in 1996, "she faced a system that was broken. Small towns like Wasilla in Alaska depended on earmarks to take care of basic needs. . . . That was something that Gov. Palin was alarmed about and was one of the formative experiences that led her toward the reform-oriented stance that she has taken as her career has progressed."

    September 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Chris

    Hey Dems – keep drinking the kool aid and watch what happens to this country if Obama is elected. More jobs go overseas, more small business go under and more social programs to help those who refuse to help themselves.

    September 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  16. Andrea

    Yes, yes, more lies from the GOP. I think it's great that we're all in agreement here, but CNN is a left wing news site so it's no real surprise. Everyone has such great comments to make and I feel like they would make more of a difference if they were written on a right wing site like The folks who read that propaganda need to get their facts straight – and they could also use some help with spelling!! I'm going to be leaving my comments there from now on in my quest to get Obama elected! It's true that such an amazing candidate only comes around once in a lifetime and I have to believe that Americans are smart enough to vote for the right man.

    September 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  17. Dave in CA

    The worst part of Palin's claim to have stopped the bridge is that she never admits that she kept the money.

    But CNN and other news outlets need to step up and state the facts instead of saying Obama's supporters are making these claims and McCain's spokesman claims Obama's campaign is being hysterical.

    Tell the people the truth and the whole truth, and stop acting as though this is all conjecture. No one is asking you to slant the news in favor of any one candidate, but the impact of treating lies the same as the truth is in fact slanting the news in favor of the liars. And it is major disservice to the nation.

    September 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  18. Some Things Never Change

    Same old stuff from the Republican Party. They have been putting up false ads since this race started. The sad part is most Americans do not take the time to check the facts.

    September 8, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  19. gb

    I always thought there was no one worse than Bush, turns out I was wrong.

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Chris

    Are Americans really this stupid? A report out today said that the majority of 8th graders in Washington DC can't read? Is "Brave New World" actually happening? Keep people stupid and scare them and we can control them. How can the polls possibly be right? Do half the people in the US really want a religiously dictated military industrial complex?

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. alvino

    I'm beginning to think the McCain Campaign is smoking an illegal substance.

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Judy

    Yes she was for it will she was running for Governor and then changed her mind. What is not being said is that she still took the ,money and used it in other areas. Is that legal?

    Also, no one is talking about McCain's funny little talk about those bears that were studied. He makes fun but he voted for it and not against it.

    Lies after lies. So America, when you see these two open their mouths, understand that it is just another lie. Wake up and do your fact checking before you go to the polls in November.

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  23. Irma in North Carolina

    I think Both Mccain an his VP are disgrace to the american people, they ought to be brought down on their knees. Sarah cut aid for the special needs program in Alasks and now she has a child with special needs. Is she going to do that to the rest of the country. Boy John is at his glory now having this beautiful woman at his side for the next 50 days. Cindy better keep a tight grip on John Boy. Who wants 4 more years of Bush and another president in the white house who committed adultry. Cant see why all the religious people are turning for him, seems like the dont know the ten commandments very well.

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  24. Maggie

    I think the democrats are running scred now after selecting Obama as their presidential candidate. We keep hearing that Palin is not experienced enough to be the candidate who is just a heartbeat away from the presidency. Bu the democrats selected a candidate who is the heartbeat of the presidency without any experience. Tell me, where is the irony here? Should the country not be more afraid of having a president with no experience and not be worried about the VP who is not experienced. I would definitely want the person at the top of the ticket to be the experienced candidate and the second in command can learn on the job and not the other way around. Obama does not have the experience whereas McCain does so who is the more qualified candidate for the job. I think you democrats have it the wrong way around. You had an experienced candidate in Hillary Clinton and you blew it and put the inexperienced candidate as your choice so that you can make history to have the first black american to be voted in as president. Well, you have made your bed, now lie in it and watch the republicans beat you in November.

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. OBAMA SUPPORTER 2008-2016

    Listen up everyone! SARAH PALIN is a stubborn, self righteous, pretentious woman who is thriving to receive every bit of the press that she can and to go as high as she can. In an interview with the press in June before she was chosen she stated that she would prefer to stay right there in Alaska rather than become a VP. Why would she change her mind? Or actually, she did not want to admit then, that she would take it but thought they probably would not pick her.
    In any case, she is a liar, deceiver and is trying to be presented on the top of the ticket compared to OBAMA... She took the VP position to boost herself to fame, hoping she can become the next President to run the world.... and after that... control every womans choice and decision so they are not able to make a choice. This women is much like Margarat Thatcher in Europe. She will have her way or no way and will step on top of anyone to get it.
    The difference between her and OBAMA is ... he REALLY CARES about the people... being a COMMUNITY ORGANIZER... when he could have went to Wall street to make it for himself.... she CARES NOTHING about anyone except herself!!! MAN... get that PITBULL muzzled up and tie her up before she chomps down any one that she can smell that has blood.... which means (we the people)!!!

    September 8, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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