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Reality Check: Ad Paints McCain, Palin As Mavericks

Published On: Sep 11 2008 08:45:28 AM CDT   Updated On: Sep 11 2008 08:50:03 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

A new political ad is touting the rebellious records of the Republican ticket.

VIDEO: Watch The Report

It's the buzz word that's been used to describe presidential candidate Sen. John McCain. Now his campaign is trying to share the label of "maverick" with his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin.

But WISC-TV found that some of the claims need a second look.

"The original mavericks. He fights pork barrel spending," said the ad.

This is true. McCain has long been a hawk for wasteful spending of tax dollars.

In the instance referenced here, he was criticizing the president for not vetoing earmarks put in appropriation bills by Congress. One of the most notorious earmarks was one requested from Alaska, which happens to be from where his running mate hails.

The ad continued, "She stopped the bridge to nowhere."

This needs clarification. First, some background.

The so-called "bridge to nowhere" was a bridge estimated to cost some $400 million that would have connected Ketchikan, Alaska, with a sparsely populated island. The project was singled out by taxpayer watchdog groups as a wasteful spending project and sparked debate in Congress over federal earmarks, a WISC-TV analysis found.

In the ad, Palin "told Congress no thanks."

That's not quite right. In fact, Palin supported the project before opposing it. But as a candidate she said it was important to the community's prosperity so her position changed once she became governor, WISC-TV found.

And in the end, Alaska got the money but didn't build the bridge.

"He took on the drug industry. She took on big oil," said the ad.

This is true. McCain has sponsored legislation calling for drug re-importation from Canada, although his efforts thus far have failed.

It's also true that Palin challenged the oil companies in Alaska. She pushed for a tax increase on the profits of oil companies. She also awarded a major gas pipeline project to a Canada company, rather than some of the major oil players - - another move many saw as "standing up" to big oil, a WISC-TV analysis found.

"He battled Republicans and reformed Washington. She battled Republicans and reformed Alaska," said the ad.

This needs clarification, a WISC-TV analysis found. Both of these statements are subjective, and the documents cited here don't necessarily back them up.

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