Palin's the real winner of earmark race

Sarah Palin has criticized Barack Obama, saying he's requested nearly $1 million in earmarks for every day in office -- but she's keeping pace with him, and more.

Published September 10, 2008 2:04PM (EDT)

On the stump in Ohio Tuesday, Sarah Palin delivered what seemed to be a set of pretty killer lines.

"It was just the other day that, surprisingly, our opponent [Barack Obama] -- he brought up earmarks. And considering his record of earmark spending, I was surprised that he'd even want to raise the subject," Palin said. "In just three years our opponent has requested nearly $1 billion in earmarks. That's nearly $1 million for every working day."

But there's a catch. Turns out Palin has been keeping up with Obama -- actually, by this standard, she's more than keeping up with him.

As Palin said, she was only counting working days. I asked a McCain spokesman exactly what she meant, and he sent over the calculations. The McCain camp used to tally up Obama's time in office at 930 days. That number does not include weekends or federal holidays. And cccording to ABC News' Jake Tapper, Obama has made a total of $931.3 million in requests.

Using the same Web site, I did the same calculation for Palin's time in office and came up with 447 days. According to the Anchorage Daily News, Palin's administration has asked for a total of roughly $453 million. (There's a different number floating around, $750 million, but I've confirmed that $453 million is the correct figure.)

So wouldn't you know it: Palin has requested a little over $1 million for every one of her working days, right on pace with Obama. In fact, per working day, she's actually slightly ahead of him.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Sarah Palin War Room