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September 23rd, 2008
04:33 PM ET

Biden’s talking point to nowhere

Program Note: We know where Sen. Joseph Biden stands on Alaska's 'Bridge to Nowhere'... but see how he voted. Watch Drew Griffin's full report tonight 10P ET

Drew Griffin | BIO
CNN Investigative Reporter

I’ve been hearing about the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska for three years now, and thought I had heard it all. The classic example of the Senator Ted Stevens insatiable appetite for pork barrel spending has become the perennial symbol of all that is wrong in Washington.

But thanks to Senator Joe Biden, tonight we open a new chapter. The vice presidential candidate has been trying to peg the bridge on his Republican opponent. While Gov. Sarah Palin did indeed flip-flop on supporting the bridge when she learned Alaska would need to foot the entire bill, Gov. Sarah Palin never actually cast a single vote in favor of it. She was only a candidate when she pledged her support.

So what? So it turns out the story on the Democratic side of the Senate chambers is a little murky under that bridge to nowhere. Joe Biden, it turns out, actually voted for the bridge to nowhere…and he did it twice. What else? It turns out Senator Barack Obama voted the same way.

In 2005 congress passed a huge, pork filled transportation bill that included two bridges in Alaska “to nowhere.” Sens’ Obama and Biden voted in favor of the bill. Okay, the behemoth bill needed passing right? Right. Except when Senator Tom Coburn stood up and offered an amendment, essentially stripping Alaska of the Bridge to nowhere money and redirecting it to a Katrina-damaged bridge in New Orleans, Sens’ Obama and Biden voted against that.

Last week Senator Biden told a crowd John McCain’s economic plan will put us on a bridge to nowhere, “and it’s up in Alaska.” What he left out is he actually tried to buy that bridge.


Filed under: Drew Griffin • Joe Biden • Raw Politics
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Stan

    Why does CNN give Palin's antics hours of coverage but hardly ever covers Joe Biden? And when you DO cover Biden you talk about his gaffes, not about all the good things he's been saying.

    September 23, 2008 at 8:34 pm |
  2. Paul, Dallas, TX

    Tipical Democatic belief "Do As I Say, Not As I Do." Just like their do nothing Congress, which if I am mistaken is run by, the Democrats.

    September 23, 2008 at 8:14 pm |
  3. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    WE love Joe! Everyone has an off day! How about ALL the McCain's gaffes and SENIOR-MOMENTS????????????????????????????

    At least Joe Biden did not refer to Czechoslovakia several times. A country that no longer exists!

    September 23, 2008 at 7:14 pm |
  4. Larry Robinson

    We are discussing politics. What else was in the bill that was important to pass? Maybe they passed the bill to secure a more important fact or something. And at least Biden can cruise the hallways of the UN without a minder keeping him from getting lost.

    September 23, 2008 at 7:02 pm |
  5. Trish

    I'll bet you my meagre pay cheque there is something missing in this report. And when we find out what it is, the author will be making a redaction. I"m sure Anderson you will get to the bottom it and Keep Them Honest. Thanks.

    September 23, 2008 at 6:52 pm |
  6. Kent, Illinois

    It's too bad that bills are filled with extra stuff like this. When legislators need to pass something important they just have to take it bridge and all. Whatever the pork is that is attatched they pass it. This isn't important and will not stay around long.........

    September 23, 2008 at 6:51 pm |
  7. Linda

    If Joe Biden voted for the Bridge to Nowhere – how did Obama vote?

    September 23, 2008 at 6:32 pm |
  8. Dan

    Links to legislative history would be quite useful in something like this, Drew.

    September 23, 2008 at 6:07 pm |
  9. Rose from San Bernardino, Calif

    Drew-
    Who put the amendment on the table? Who idea was it the built the Bridge to Nowhere? Biden and Obama voted what was in first of them the lies came from ALASKA'S Govenors people, RIGHT!
    The blame should be where the amendment was created in ALASK!A.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:51 pm |
  10. Cindy

    It's about time that someone told the truth. Obama, Biden and the dems all had a hand in the Bridge to Nowhere! In fact they also voted against sending that same money to the victims of Katrina and instead sent the money to Alaska!

    Cindy...Ga.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:49 pm |
  11. Ann.

    Please pull out each of McCain’s pork-barrel projects prior to his run for Office & share those too. Let’s be fair about it. Keep them both honest AC.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:40 pm |
  12. Lesley

    Excellent reporting. Now how about some factoids on McCain's voting record for similar "details." After all, fair and balanced is the name of the game at CNN, isn't it?

    September 23, 2008 at 5:23 pm |
  13. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    How ironic! Thanks for the honesty in the reporting. I'm glad to know Obama and Biden are so in tune with everyday Americans, especially those in post-Katrina New Orleans who were most kicked in the gut by the federal, state, and local governments.

    September 23, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  14. Keith

    Yeah, but will CNN actually do a televised special report on it; that's where most of the public would actually be enlightened on the matter.

    September 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  15. xtina, chicago IL

    Thanks for reporting facts – Joe Biden actually voted "Yes" on the Bridge to Nowhere while Gov. Palin ultimately voted "No." This issue shouldn't be the deciding factor in the Presidential race tho

    September 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm |
  16. William Joseph Miller

    I for one do not approve of everything Joe Biden does, but I find it ironic that while Sarah Palin said no thanks to the Bridge to no where, she kept the money. I find it ironic that she not only got a road to nowhere, but is spending $ 600,000,000 on another bridge to nowhere. It's also ironic that last Friday when McCain was saying Sarah Palin did not get any earmarks, Sarah Palin was defending her earmarks – because they were open to the public,.
    According to a CNN Time report filed by Michael Kinsey, each Alaskan gets $ 2,000 of hand outs in oil revenuse and a $ 1,000 fuel allowance. Also per capita Alaskans pay $ 5,434 per resident, but get $ 13,950 in government hand outs.
    Yes, Biden may have voted for the bridge to nowhere, but it was undoubtedly buried in at least 1000 other proposals. But Palin helps herself to earmarks whenever people aren't looking.And, how much of that federal money goes into Palin's purse?

    September 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm |