The Note: Expecting Surprises

"Before she was chosen to be Sen. John McCain's running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin submitted to a three-hour interview with the head of his vice presidential search team, and responded to a 70-question form that included 'intrusive personal questions,' a senior campaign aide said Monday," Michael D. Shear and Karl Vick write in The Washington Post. "The aide said all facts about Palin's record and background that have caused controversy as they were revealed in the past few days -- including the ongoing 'troopergate' investigation and the fact that Palin's 17-year-old daughter is pregnant -- were known to the McCain campaign."

The AP's Liz Sidoti: "Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., the lawyer who conducted the review, told The Associated Press in an interview Monday that Palin underwent a 'full and complete' examination before McCain chose her. Asked whether everything that came up as a possible red flag during the review already has been made public, Culvahouse said: 'I think so. Yeah, I think so. Correct.' "

McCain senior adviser Nicolle Wallace, asked by ABC's Diane Sawyer when precisely McCain learned the pregnancy news: "We're going to let some things stay private, and I don't happen to know the minute, hour, and day. . . . It was certainly known, and it didn't give Sen. McCain any pause."

Said ABC's George Stephanopoulos: "The question is, what else is out there? . . . Was the vetting process complete and professional? . . . What does it say about Sen. McCain's judgment?"

Consider what else we're learning (and she hasn't even sat down for a single real media interview yet):

"For every piece of the portrait of Palin that the McCain campaign sketches, a far more complicated picture of the Alaska governor is drawn," Peter Wallsten writes in the Los Angeles Times. "The woman introduced to America as a reform-minded Washington outsider who opposed the infamous 'bridge to nowhere' -- the symbol of McCain's hatred of wasteful spending -- originally supported its construction. The governor who in her introductory speech decried the practice of budgetary 'earmarks' sought, as the state's chief executive and as mayor of Wasilla, hundreds of millions of dollars in such federal funding for local projects."

Speaking of -- it's not just a bridge: "Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin employed a lobbying firm to secure almost $27 million in federal earmarks for a town of 6,700 residents while she was its mayor," The Washington Post's Paul Kane reports. "There was $500,000 for a youth shelter, $1.9 million for a transportation hub, $900,000 for sewer repairs, and $15 million for a rail project -- all intended to benefit Palin's town, Wasilla, located about 45 miles north of Anchorage."

"In fiscal year 2002, Wasilla took in $6.1 million in earmarks -- about $1,000 in federal money for every resident. By contrast, Boise, Idaho -- which has more than 190,000 residents -- received $6.9 million in earmarks in fiscal 2008," Kane adds. "All told, Wasilla benefited from $26.9 million in earmarks in Palin's final four years in office. . . . In February, Palin's [governor's] office sent Sen. Stevens a 70-page memo outlining almost $200 million worth of new funding requests for Alaska."

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