Palin's Greatest Stump Hits Scrutinized

Critics dispute Sarah Palin's claims about her political record.

September 14, 2008, 9:42 AM

Sept. 14, 2008 — -- Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin began a series of appearances without her running mate yesterday with a campaign stop at the Pony Express Pavilion in Carson City, Nev., and now the governor has arrived in Denver to prepare for a rally Monday morning.

Though the Alaska governor continues to be a huge draw for Sen. John McCain's campaign, she is dogged by skepticism about her qualifications and experience.

Palin continues to use cheering points and applause lines from her stump speech at the Republican National Convention over two weeks ago, including a line about a private jet used by the previous governor: "The luxury jet was over the top," she says. "I put it on eBay."

In fact, she didn't sell it online, but ended up selling it privately, and at a loss of $600,000 to the state.

Then there's her claim about ditching the governor's chef.

"As governor I cut the personal chef position from the budget, and that didn't thrill my hungry kids," Palin said.

What she didn't note was that the cook remains on Alaska's payroll and now cooks for the legislature, not the governor.

But probably one of Palin's most popular and repeated lines is about how she deep-sixed her state's most notorious pork project, the infamous Bridge to Nowhere.

"I told Congress, 'Thanks but no thanks' to that bridge to nowhere, that if the state wanted to build a bridge we'd do it ourselves," Palin has repeatedly said and continues to say.

She repeats this claim now despite having been a vocal advocate for the project during her gubernatorial run -- before she was against it. And her state kept the funds allocated for the project, even after it was canceled.

And now the list of foreign countries the veep candidate claims to have visited has been called into doubt. Initially the McCain camp said she had been to an Iraq battle zone during a trip to visit Alaska National Guard troops in Kuwait -- but the campaign has since hedged the claim.

Palin spokeswoman Maria Comella said "She visited a military outpost on the other side of the Kuwait-Iraq border."

Finally it emerged that Palin's reported trip to Ireland was only a refuelling stop her plane made on the return trip from Kuwait.

But to the crowds that gather to see her, it doesn't seem to matter, as Palin has less than eight weeks to acquaint herself with voters.

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