Review: Palin book repeats familiar claims

Sarah Palin’s new book reprises familiar claims from the 2008 presidential campaign that haven’t become any truer over time.

Ignoring substantial parts of her record if not the facts, she depicts herself as a frugal traveler on the taxpayer’s dime, a reformer without ties to powerful interests and a politician roguishly indifferent to high ambition.

Mrs. Palin goes adrift, at times, on more contemporary issues, too. She criticizes President Obama for pushing through a bailout package that actually was achieved by his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush — a package she seemed to support at the time.

A look at some of her statements in “Going Rogue,” obtained by Associated Press in advance of its release Tuesday:

MRS. PALIN: Says she made frugality a point when traveling on state business as Alaska governor, asking “only” for reasonably priced rooms and not “often” going for the “high-end, robe-and-slippers” hotels.

THE FACTS: Although travel records indicate she usually opted for less-pricey hotels while governor, Mrs. Palin and daughter Bristol stayed five days and four nights at the $707.29-per-night Essex House luxury hotel (robes and slippers come standard) overlooking New York City’s Central Park for a five-hour women’s leadership conference in October 2007. With air fare, the cost to Alaska was well over $3,000. Event organizers said Mrs. Palin asked if she could bring her daughter. The governor billed her state more than $20,000 for her children’s travel, including to events where they had not been invited, and in some cases later amended expense reports to specify that they had been on official business.

MRS. PALIN: Boasts that she ran her campaign for governor on small donations, mostly from first-time givers, and turned back large checks from big donors if her campaign perceived a conflict of interest.

THE FACTS: Of the roughly $1.3 million she raised for her primary and general election campaigns for governor, more than half came from people and political action committees giving at least $500, according to an AP analysis of her campaign-finance reports. The maximum that individual donors could give was $1,000; $2,000 for a PAC.

Of the rest, about $76,000 came from Republican Party committees.

She accepted $1,000 each from a state senator and his wife and $30 from a state representative in the weeks after the two Republican lawmakers’ offices were raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into a powerful Alaska oil field services company. After AP reported those donations during the presidential campaign, she gave a comparative sum to charity.

MRS. PALIN: Rails against taxpayer-financed bailouts, which she attributes to Mr. Obama. She recounts telling daughter Bristol that to succeed in business, “you’ll have to be brave enough to fail.”

THE FACTS: Mrs. Palin is blurring the lines between Obama’s stimulus plan — a $787 billion package of tax cuts, state aid, social programs and government contracts — and the federal bailout that Republican presidential candidate John McCain voted for and President George W. Bush signed.

Mrs. Palin’s views on bailouts appeared to evolve as Mr. McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. In September 2008, she said, “Taxpayers cannot be looked to as the bailout, as the solution, to the problems on Wall Street.” A week later, she said, “Ultimately what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy.”

During the vice-presidential debate in October, Mrs. Palin praised Mr. McCain for being “instrumental in bringing folks together” to pass the $700 billion bailout. After that, she said “it is a time of crisis, and government did have to step in.”

MRS. PALIN: Says Ronald Reagan faced an even worse recession than the one that appears to be ending now, and “showed us how to get out of one. If you want real job growth, cut capital-gains taxes and slay the death tax once and for all.”

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