Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Do You Define "Fight"?

It's time for a fact check. Yesterday Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin spoke at a rally in Reading, Pa. It was a typical stump speech in most ways, but Gov. Palin made a claim that I haven't heard before -- and that I haven't seen backed up by any source, including her staff and supporters in Alaska.

She said, "As governor I’ve fought for these two years more funding for education for those with special needs for more opportunities." As I reported earlier, it is true that the budget for what Alaska calls "special needs" has increased since Gov. Palin took office. The general education budget was increased because of surpluses generated by oil profits, and the state automatically earmarks a certain percentage of the general education budget for "special needs." So by default, that budget grew as well.

BUT: Alaska's "special needs" budget includes expenses for everything from the "talented and gifted" program to a boot camp for high school dropouts. (The boot camp gets two-thirds of the funding.) And nothing I've seen -- nothing -- supports her claim that she has in any way "fought" or "pushed" or "advocated" or even "politely asked" for more funding or programs for children with special needs. If you can point to a source that supports her claim, please send it to me.

See also "What Alaskans are Saying."
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