The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin XII: Her Pay Cut As Mayor

TPM has the details on this. As usual, the public statement from Palin:

"As mayor I took a voluntary pay cut, which didn’t thrill my husband; and then as governor I cut the personal chef position from the budget, and that didn’t thrill my hungry kids."

And as usual, the different reality:

As a Council member she voted against hiking the mayor’s salary from $64,000 to $68,000, but it passed anyway. When she came in as mayor, she passed the ordinance which brought her salary down to $61,200. But that may not actually have taken effect, and Council-mandated raises brought her actual salary up to $68,000.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin XI: Asking The Girls?

This is indeed odd. Here is Palin answering Hannity’s question about her decision to accept the vice-presidency:

"It was a time of asking the girls to vote on it, anyway.  And they voted unanimously, yes.  Didn’t bother asking my son because, you know, he’s going to be off doing his thing anyway, so he wouldn’t be so impacted by, at least, the campaign period here.  So ask the girls what they thought and they’re like, absolutely.  Let’s do this, mom."

But here’s the official tick-tock of the announcement from McCain communications director Jill Hazelbaker on August 29:

"Later that morning, John McCain departed for Phoenix and Governor Palin departed with staff to Flagstaff, Arizona.  Governor Palin, Kris Perry, Steve Schmidt and Mark Salter proceeded to the Manchester Inn and Conference Center in Middleton, Ohio. They were checked into the hotel as the Upton Family. While there, Governor Palin’s children, who had been told they were going to Ohio to celebrate their parents’ wedding anniversary, were told for the first time that their mother would be a nominee for Vice President of the United States of America."

Here’s the ADN story that claims that the pick was a total surprise to her family and children in Ohio. Here is more Palin from the Hannity interview:

PALIN: Well, I found out about the actual selection just a couple days before you guys all did. Getting that nod was quite an experience, of course, because I knew that Senator McCain and his team had been doing a heck of a lot of research and vetting of many names.

But according to the McCain campaign, it was not "a couple days" between her being asked and our finding out. It was one day. She was asked 11 am on Thursday and the pick became public Friday morning: one day. Moreover, Todd Palin insisted in an earlier interview that during that one day between the nod and the announcement, the girls were kept totally in the dark:

So this was Thursday morning. I wake them up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning, and I said, OK, hey, we’re going on a surprise trip to celebrate your mom and I’s anniversary, 20th anniversary. So give me your cell phones. Well, why do you want my cell phone? Because I know you’re going to call people, and you might call mom and ask what’s going on. So I said, Give me your cell phones. If there’s any questions — whoever wants to ask questions is going to stay at Grandma’s house, so who’s going?

So they gave me all their cell phones. And so later that day, Sarah called me — or that morning, Sarah called me and then we were on a plane south.

Look: Palin can’t have taken the "two days" between McCain’s offer and the announcement to get the girls to vote on the question because a) it was one day, not two and b) because her husband and the McCain campaogn have already told us they were kept totally in the dark in the period after their mother had accepted McCain’s offer. There was no time for them to vote and no vote could have been offered.

I know this is trivial, but the point is that there is a very powerful pattern here of Sarah Palin’s difficulty with telling the truth. Here we have some clear facts and chronology about events in the public record that happened only a couple of weeks ago and Sarah Palin’s stories are hopelessly contradictory. This is a pattern. She seems to have imagined a conversation that could not have taken place.

And the other weird detail, of course, is her dismissal of Track’s views because he would be in Iraq "doing his thing." In fact, an active duty soldier would have plenty of reason to be consulted about the possibility of his mother becoming vice-president. It could compromise his ability to blend in, require possible extra security protection, and perhaps jeopardize his chance to be in combat. Think Prince Harry or McCain’s sons whom he wisely keeps very much in the background.


Remember she also told Charlie Gibson that she instantly and unblinkingly said yes, when asked, to John McCain’s offer for the veep slot. Either Palin lied to Gibson or she lied to Hannity. Take your pick.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin X: The Teleprompter

More absurdity:

At a fundraiser in Canton, Ohio, this evening, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin had an interesting description of her speech to the Republican convention. “There Ohio was right out in front, right in front of me," Palin said. "The teleprompter got messed up, I couldn’t follow it, and I just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me. It was Ohio.”

Is this true? Again, the strangeness of this lie is that it’s easily rebutted by the record:

McCain-Palin campaign spokesman Tucker Bounds says no, and disputes any notion that Palin was implying that she ad-libbed the speech by saying she "couldn’t follow it" on the teleprompter, so she "just decided I’d just talk to the people in front of me." McCain-Palin spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker says, "She was off the prompter at points."

Her convention speech followed the script perfectly. Tapper adds:

I should note that, after Palin’s speech, some conservative bloggers reported that sources close to McCain had told them that the teleprompter had broken and Palin "winged it." "The teleprompter did not break," wrote Politico’s Jonathan Martin. "Sarah Palin delivered a powerful speech last night, but she did not ‘wing it’…"

Bu she’s still repeating the lie.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin IX: Alaska’s Energy Contribution

During the Gibson interview:

Let me speak specifically about a credential that I do bring to this table, Charlie, and that’s with the energy independence that I’ve been working on for these years as the governor of this state that produces nearly 20 percent of the U.S. domestic supply of energy, that I worked on as chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, overseeing the oil and gas development in our state to produce more for the United States. says it’s "not even close":

It’s simply untrue that Alaska produces anything close to 20 percent of the U.S. "energy supply," a term that is generally defined as energy consumed. That category includes power produced in the U.S. by nuclear, coal, hydroelectric dams and other means – as well as all the oil imported into the country.

Palin would have been correct to say that Alaska produces just over 14 percent of all the oil produced in the U.S., leaving out imports and leaving out other forms of power. According to the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, Alaskan wells produced 263.6 million barrels of oil in 2007, or 14.3 percent of the total U.S. production of 1.8 billion barrels.

But Alaskan production accounts for only 4.8 percent of all the crude oil and petroleum products supplied to the U.S. in 2007, counting both domestic production and imports from other nations. According to EIA, the total supply was just over 5.5 billion barrels in 2007.

Furthermore, Palin said "energy," not "oil," so she was actually much further off the mark. According to EIA, Alaska actually produced 2,417.1 trillion BTUs [British Thermal Units] of energy in 2005, the last year for which full state numbers are available. That’s equal to just 3.5 percent of the country’s domestic energy production.

And according to EIA analyst Paul Hess, that would calculate to only "2.4 percent of the 100,368.6 trillion BTUs the U.S. consumes."

Now the kicker – this Washington Post follow-up:

After nonpartisan pointed out Palin’s error in her interview with Gibson, the governor revised her statement somewhat, limiting it to oil and gas. But data compiled by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) contradict her claim that she oversees "nearly 20 percent" of oil and gas production in the country. According to authoritative EIA data, Alaska accounted for 7.4 percent of total U.S. oil and gas production in 2005. It is not even correct for Palin to claim that her state is responsible for "nearly 20 percent" of U.S. oil production. Oil production has fallen sharply in Alaska during her governorship. The state’s share of total U.S. oil production fell from 18 percent in 2005 to 13 percent this year, according to the EIA.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin VIII: Habeas Corpus

Her line from the RNC convention:

Al Qaida terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America, and [Obama is] worried that someone won’t read them their rights.

Obama isn’t worried, as Palin said, "that someone won’t read them their rights" when it comes to suspected terrorists who are detained by the U.S. He does, however, support the right of detainees to challenge their imprisonment in federal court. That’s the same position the Supreme Court took in June in a case called Boumediene v. Bush.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin VII: Climate Change

Climate change is a critical issue. Here is what Sarah Palin told Charlie Gibson in her first interview:

PALIN: I think you are a cynic because show me where I have ever said that there’s absolute proof that nothing that man has ever conducted or engaged in has had any affect, or no affect, on climate change.

Here is what she said last year:

"I’m not a doom and gloom environmentalist like Al Gore blaming the changes in our climate on human activity."

For the record.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin VI: Gays

When the subject of homosexuality came up, Charles Gibson asked the following question:

GIBSON: Homosexuality, genetic or learned?

PALIN: Oh, I don’t — I don’t know, but I’m not one to judge and, you know, I’m from a family and from a community with many, many members of many diverse backgrounds and I’m not going to judge someone on whether they believe that homosexuality is a choice or genetic. I’m not going to judge them.

In fact, Palin does judge homosexuals in as extreme a fashion as you can imagine:

Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer. "You’ll be encouraged by the power of God’s love and His desire to transform the lives of those impacted by homosexuality," according to the insert in the bulletin of the Wasilla Bible Church, where Palin has worshipped for about six years… She opposes gay marriage and spousal rights for gay couples. Focus on the Family, a national Christian fundamentalist organization, is conducting the "Love Won Out" Conference in Anchorage, about 30 miles from Wasilla.

There is no way that a person who is indifferent to the question of whether homosexuality is a choice or genetic can support a conference of crackpots, psychological renegades and far-right Christianists seeking to "cure" gay people. Palin is on record seeking to strip gay couples of all rights in their relationships, although she was forced by constitutional mandate to grant equal benefits to gay couples who are employees of the state government in Alaska. She supported a non-binding referendum for an Alaskan constitutional amendment to deny state health benefits to same-sex couples:

Ultimately, she said, she supports denying those [health and retirement] benefits through a constitutional amendment, if that’s what the public wants.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin V: The Oil Pipeline

One of governor Palin’s very few actually documented achievements in office as governor has been what she has described as a breakthrough in constructing an oil pipeline. Here’s how she put it in her convention address:

“And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly $40 billion natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence."

And here’s how she put it earlier this year:

When the Legislature ratified the choice of TransCanada this summer, Ms. Palin called a news conference to hail the deal, saying that the state had finally obtained a commitment to build the pipeline.

In fact, the entire pipeline is at this point as reality-based as that "Mission Accomplished" banner:

The pipeline exists only on paper. The first section has yet to be laid, federal approvals are years away and the pipeline will not be completed for at least a decade. In fact, although it is the centerpiece of Ms. Palin’s relatively brief record as governor, the pipeline might never be built, and under a worst-case scenario, the state could lose up to $500 million it committed to defray regulatory and other costs.

And at her news conference declaring a commitment to build the pipeline, she was forced to concede later she had been ahead of herself:

After some of her aides offered a more restrained assessment, she dialed back her exuberance, saying, “We’re not turning dirt yet.” Under the most optimistic circumstances, dirt is not expected to be turned for years. TransCanada’s plan calls for it to file an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by the end of 2011, and to have the pipeline operational by late 2018. The company is not obligated to proceed with the project even if it clears all the financial and regulatory hurdles.

In assessing the state of the project, Mr. Galvin, the state revenue commissioner, avoided the characterization that Ms. Palin employed in her convention speech.

For the record.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin IV: Endangered Species

On the question of extending the Endangered Species Act to polar bears, Sarah Palin hews to the Stephen Colbert position. And in her defense, she cited a study by her own state government in an op-ed for the New York Times earlier this year. In that article, she wrote:

I strongly believe that adding [polar bears] to the list is the wrong move at this time. My decision is based on a comprehensive review by state wildlife officials of scientific information from a broad range of climate, ice and polar bear experts. In fact, there is insufficient evidence that polar bears are in danger of becoming extinct within the foreseeable future — the trigger for protection under the Endangered Species Act. And there is no evidence that polar bears are being mismanaged through existing international agreements and the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Yep: you guessed it. We found out subsequently in the New York Times that the state’s wildlife officials discovered no such thing:

Rick Steiner, a University of Alaska professor, sought the e-mail messages of state scientists who had examined the effect of global warming on polar bears … An administration official told Mr. Steiner that his request would cost $468,784 to process.

When Mr. Steiner finally obtained the e-mail messages — through a federal records request — he discovered that state scientists had in fact agreed that the bears were in danger, records show.

For the record.

The Odd Lies Of Sarah Palin III: Firing Stambaugh


[Cartoon by Tom Toles. His archive here.]

Back when she was increasing the long-term debt of the town of Wasilla by 69 percent, Mayor Palin also fired the town’s police chief and librarian, Irl Stambaugh and Mary Ellen Emmons. The accusation was that they were fired because they had supported her opponent in the previous election. Palin denied any political motivation. But whatever the merits of the firing, what is salient is Palin’s reflexive instinct when confronted with the fact. From the Anchorage Daily News:

Reached at her home … Palin said she planned to meet with Stambaugh and Emmons this afternoon. She also disputed whether they had actually been fired. ”There’s been no meeting, no actual terminations,” she said.

You know what’s coming:

Stambaugh’s response was to read part of the letter given to him. ”Although I appreciate your service as police chief, I’ve decided it’s time for a change. I do not feel I have your full support in my efforts to govern the city of Wasilla. Therefore I intend to terminate your employment. . . . ” ”If that’s not a letter of termination, I don’t know what is,” he said.

Your call.