Sarah Palin's Top 10 Biggest Lies
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In anticipation of the release of Sarah Palin's memoir, Going Rogue,Media Matters for America has compiled a list of Palin's Top 10 falsehoods from before the book was published.
CLAIM:Democratic health care reform proposals include a "death panel" which would determine whether people are "worthy of health care."
- Attacking Democratic health care reform proposals, Palin wrote:
The America I know and love is not one in which my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care. Such a system is downright evil. [Palin Facebook post, 8/7/09]
Palin's spokesperson reportedly said Palin's assertion was a reference to the House tri-committee bill's "Advance Care Planning Consultation" provision. Numerous conservative media figures subsequently echoed Palin's claim, asserting that various Democratic health reform bills included actual or "de facto" "death panels."
REALITY: "Death panel" claims have been conclusively discredited. In one of more than 40 media reports debunking claims of euthanasia and "death panels," PolitiFact.com wrote: "We've looked at the inflammatory claims that the health care bill encourages euthanasia. It doesn't. There's certainly no 'death board' that determines the worthiness of individuals to receive care. ... [Palin] said that the Democratic plan will ration care and 'my parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama's "death panel" so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their "level of productivity in society," whether they are worthy of health care.' Palin's statement sounds more like a science fiction movie ( Soylent Green, anyone?) than part of an actual bill before Congress. We rate her statement Pants on Fire!" [PolitiFact.com, 8/10/09]
Falsehood 2: Palin said "thanks but no thanks" to Bridge to Nowhere
CLAIM: Palin refused federal funds to build a proposed bridge between Ketchikan, Alaska, and Gravina Island, popularly referred to as the "Bridge to Nowhere."
- On numerous occasions during the 2008 presidential campaign, including during her speech to the Republican National Convention and her speech following the announcement that Sen. John McCain had selected her as his running mate, Palin claimed that as Alaska's governor, "I told Congress, 'Thanks, but no thanks,' on that bridge to nowhere. If we wanted a bridge ... we'd build it ourselves."
REALITY: Palin was not in position to reject bridge, and she kept the federal funds. Palin did not tell Congress, " 'Thanks, but no thanks' on that 'bridge to nowhere,' " as she claimed in her speech. First, she was not even in a position to do so. As The Daily Howler's Bob Somerby noted, a year before Palin was elected governor, Congress appropriated the relevant federal money to Alaska and allowed the state to decide whether to spend it on the bridge. After authorizing funds to be spent specifically on the bridge project in August 2005, in an appropriations bill in November 2005, Congress earmarked the money for Alaska, but specified that it did not have to be spent on the bridge. Somerby wrote, "[N]o one had to 'tell Congress' anything about the Bridge to Nowhere, because Congress had removed itself from decision-making about the project." Second, Palin did not refuse the funds or reimburse the federal government; Alaska reportedly kept the federal funds.
Palin supported bridge project until it became clear no new federal funds would be provided. On several occasions during her 2006 gubernatorial run, Palin reportedly expressed support for the bridge project and suggested that Alaska's congressional delegation should continue to try to procure funding. In a September 21, 2007, press release announcing that she had directed the state to find an alternative to the bridge, Palin said: "Despite the work of our congressional delegation, we are about $329 million short of full funding for the bridge project, and it's clear that Congress has little interest in spending any more money on a bridge between Ketchikan and Gravina Island. ... Much of the public's attitude toward Alaska bridges is based on inaccurate portrayals of the projects here. But we need to focus on what we can do, rather than fight over what has happened."