GIBSON: But you turned against it after Congress had basically pulled the plug on it; after it became apparent that the state was going to have to pay for it, not the Congress; and after it became a national embarrassment to the state of Alaska. So do you want to revise and extend your remarks?
PALIN: It has always been an embarrassment that abuse of the ear form -- earmark process has been accepted in Congress. And that's what John McCain has fought. And that's what I joined him in fighting. It's been an embarrassment, not just Alaska's projects. But McCain gives example after example after example. I mean, every state has their embarrassment. And, as I've said over and over, if Alaska wants that bridge, $300 million, $400 million dollars, over to that island with an airport, we'll find a way to build it ourselves. The rest of the country doesn't have to build that for us.
GIBSON: But you were for it before you were against it. You were solidly for it for quite some period of time...
PALIN: I was ...
GIBSON: ... until Congress pulled the plug.
PALIN: I was for infrastructure being built in the state. And it's not inappropriate for a mayor or for a governor to request and to work with their Congress and their congressmen, their congresswomen, to plug into the federal budget along with every other state a share of the federal budget for infrastructure.
PALIN: What I supported was the link between a community and its airport. And we have found that link now.
GIBSON: But you didn't say no to Congress, well build it ourselves until after they pulled the plug. Correct?
PALIN: No, because Congress still allowed those dollars to come into Alaska. They did.
GIBSON: Well, but ...
PALIN: Transportation fund dollars still came into Alaska. It was our choice, Charlie, whether we were going to spend it on a bridge or not. And I said, thanks, but no thanks. We're not going to spend it on the bridge.
PALIN: And now obviously, Charlie, with the federal government saying, no, the rest of the nation does not want to fund that project. You have a choice. You either read the writing on the wall and understand okay, yes, that, that project's going nowhere. And the state isn't willing to fund that project. So what good does it do to continue to support something that circumstances have so drastically changed? You call an audible, and you deal in reality, and you move on. And, Charlie, we killed the bridge to nowhere and that's the bottom line.
GIBSON: The state of Alaska, under OMB figures in 2008, got $155 million in earmarks for a population of 670,000. That's $231 per person in Alaska. The state of Illinois, Obama's state, got $22 per person. You got 10 times per person as much. How does that square with your reforms?
PALIN: We have drastically, drastically reduced our earmark request since I came into office.
GIBSON: But you still have multiple of any other state.
PALIN: We sure are -- and this is what -- you go out and you ask any Alaskan this. This is what I've been telling Alaskans for these years that I've been in office, is no more.
GIBSON: Governor, this year, requested $3.2 million for researching the genetics of harbor seals, money to study the mating habits of crabs. Isn't that exactly the kind of thing that John McCain is objecting to?