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October 22nd, 2008
08:41 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Palin Expenses

Penny Manis
AC360 Senior Producer

The clock is ticking louder, less than 2 weeks till Election Day. There's a widening gap between Barack Obama and John McCain. Our latest CNN Poll of Polls shows Obama now leading McCain by 9 points nationwide, 51% to 42%, Obama’s widest margin to date. Both candidates will continue to slug it out till the bitter end. Today, McCain joins Sarah Palin in Ohio and Obama campaigns in Virginia. Joe Biden is in Colorado.

Wolf Blitzer sits down with McCain today for an interview which we’ll feature tonight. We’ll find out what his strategy is for gaining ground in the homestretch. Yesterday we featured Palin after she sat down with Drew Griffin. What did you think of her interview? Clearly we are also trying to get Joe Biden and/or Barack Obama to deliver fresh interviews on the heels of the McPalin speaking out, but neither have bitten just yet.

This morning, Sarah Palin’s staff is answering claims that she charged the state of Alaska for travel expenses for her children. Palin’s camp indicates “Like spouses and children of Governors across the nation, Alaska’s First Family make public appearances, attend events, and perform ceremonial duties in their role as the family of Alaska’s Governor. When members of the First Family participate in events, the state provides for travel to and from those events.” Do you guys think this is a big deal?

Another doozy for the Palin camp this morning: some media reports that the RNC has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize Palin since her pick to be running mate. I will leave to y’all to weigh in there-I'm sure you will have plenty to say.

On Wednesdays we release poll numbers from battleground states, today we’ll see figures from W. Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, Nevada and Ohio. John King will get in front of the Magic Wall and illustrate how these fresh numbers shift the electoral map.

We also have polls today related to how you feel about the bailout. The bottom line is Americans don't like financial bailouts, they don't like the government having an ownership stake in banks or failing businesses, and they don't like Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. But they do like government assistance to homeowners who are having trouble paying their mortgages. Check out those specific numbers on our site later today.

Markets continue their seesaw, this time they are all down overnight globally. I want to steal a colleague’s line from one of our internal notes this morning: “It’s like investors around the world are doing the wave… and today, they’re on the down side... will NY stand or sit?”

Last night we didn’t bring you our Most Wanted report because we ran out of time due to the Palin intvw, tonight Tom Foreman will show us the latest Culprit of the Collapse and continue the series.

See you 10pET!


Filed under: The Buzz
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. John Galt

    sad. a sensible candidate would have had the sense to realize that the country can barely afford gas and heating for their home (if they have one) and therefore shouldn't be spending $150, 000 on clothes. dear God, has the republican party truly abandoned the middle class?

    i don't want to have to use the "S" word (stupid)...who is more stupid, the RNC for stupidly spending that much when they know it sends a bad message to an economically ailing country, or palin for not having the sense to say no. fiscal conservative my arse. who needs earmarks that benefits your town when you only care about perks for yourself. STUPID!

    October 22, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  2. John in Valhalla, NY

    Has anyone asked what Obama pays for his suits or what Biden pays for his haircuts and botox?

    October 22, 2008 at 3:36 pm |
  3. Theresa, Nickerson, Ks

    It may seem trivial to focus on clothing allowances and her families flight/travel expenses, but it is relevant when she tries to paint herself and McCain as in touch with average, middle-class Americans. And to hear she "amended" the travel vouchers or whatever they were to reflect "official business" is just unethical. No amount of clarifying from the campaign or from the television supporters can change the fact that what was there originally is now different. Period. If it was solid enough the first time around, why change it? It just looks like someone thought there was something there that shouldn't be. I think the clothing allowance just goes to show the overall fiscal ethics the party has. It also seems to me to be typical Washington, or at least what many in America feel is typical Washington, where the politicians help themselves to what they want while the taxpayers, or donors in this case, pick up the tab. Enough is Enough already!!!

    October 22, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  4. Dee Stevens

    Anderson Cooper's special segment "Battle Lines" should be interesting on Saturday and Sunday.

    October 22, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  5. Kimberly

    Yes, $150 million donated to Obama's campaign in the month of september and there is no media investigation? The media is so biased, how does $21,000 air flights and $160,000 wardrobe expenses even get in to this media circus.

    Here's a new money investigation for CNN. Michelle Obama law job, she earned $100,000+ annualy. Once her husband becomes a Senator, she gets a pay raise of over $300,000+ annualy.

    So, CNN, do an investigation on the Obama's tax returns they just posted to the public. They made over $2 million for the year of 2007. How does a State Senator, who gets roughly a $150,000 anual salary and his Lawyer wife $300,000 plus salary, make over $2 million dollars in that short of time?

    October 22, 2008 at 3:16 pm |
  6. Len

    All this talk about Gov. Palin and how much travel money was being spent on her children and how much was being spent on clothing. What about doing a fair report on these type of topics and tells us how much money is being spent by McCain, Biden and Obama on these same type of things. That only seems fair. I just think the media needs to treat all 4 of these candidates equally as it does seem that Gov. Palin has been singled out on certain things.
    And this is being written by a Obama for President supporter.

    October 22, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  7. Pam

    Rarely do I voice my opinion on politics because it just makes me SO DOG GONE MAD!!! Through all the campaigns, all the commericials, all you see are the "dirty" politics...ONCE AGAIN. I don't care who did what when, just tell me how you are going to turn around this country and make it safe, profitable and get rid of our national debt. Just think, if these politicians were to give the money they raise towards our debt, we'd be much better off these days! What in the world do they spend all their campaign money on anyway? I know they have folks to pay, their "babysitters", chefs, gas for their travels, and certainly clothing. But it is interesting how Obama can raise so much money in one month and that's not "news worthy", but Palin's clothing expense was. Why isn't someone investagating where all Obama's donations are coming from? If his family was so poor, how did he afford Harvard? I think ALL politicians "ABUSE" the system. They don't have to pay for healthcare, at least not that much. Their income will always be there...they don't have to depend on social security because they have their "own plan". So make all these politicians live like the rest of the Americans and see how fast they jump to get some of our problems fixed!!! As for the bailout, no one is around when your normal everyday "Joe" or "Mary" needs help getting bailed out of their financial situation. They only get their interest charges higher and goes further in debt. I think we need to "flip-flop" the way we elect our politicians. I think we need to have more than two candidates to choose from. My personal opinion, I think the future is uncertain and down right scary, regardless who takes office come November

    October 22, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  8. Janice, Colorado

    $150K for Palin's clothes ... big deal ... Cindy McCain wears $150K worth of clothes and jewelry every time she appears! I think she's the one who should tell the American people how she's going to share her wealth!

    October 22, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  9. Maria Vega Nnyc

    These expenses are a drop in the bucket compared to the "earmarks" that have gone to Alaska with our taxpayer dollars, especially that bridge to nowhere.
    Hey Sarah, we want our money back!

    October 22, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  10. Rob L

    You guys are so in the tank for Obama. The Biden comments are not anywhere to be found on the website.

    October 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  11. Cherie, PA

    Spending $150,000 for clothes and assessories in just 2 months? Isn't that a good demonstration of living beyond our means? Especially when you consider this amount of money as "income after tax"–since it's cash-in-hand, it will come up to around $203,000 for taxable income. So a normal person will have to work 4-6 years to earn that much money, and Mrs. Palin just spend it in 2 months!

    Basically, I just don't think any hockey mom or soccer mom would ever choose to do that, no matter how wealthy the family is. Don't even mention that actually we are experiencing a hugh economic downturn worldwide these days.

    October 22, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  12. nicole

    i posted a comment about this on another blog here, but I just will repeat...
    this is DISGUSTING.
    (in response to Palin having $150,000 given to her for clothing for her and her family...)
    Yes. she really is just like the average american...
    -in Hollywood.

    I'm still shocked at that amount just for CLOTHING!!!???

    i don't pull in 30k in one year. I doubt I will ever even have a job where I make $150k in one year.
    She gets to go on a shopping spree for her and her family for $150k ?

    It's great that the Republican National Committee feel that the image set forth by Sarah (and her family)'s clothing is such an important one.
    What is it that they believe, that if they don't have the most expensive clothing, no one will vote for John?
    come on now... money can be spent on better things, can't it? There's got to be at least ONE OR TWO things they can think of that that kind of money could go to instead... ;)

    And judging by how she's been seen, I doubt Sarah or her family NEED any new clothes...

    October 22, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  13. Linda

    Sarah Palin is the VP candidate...not the candidate's spouse.
    She should be well dressed and accessorized. How many appearances so far ? It pales in comparison to the millions of dollars spent on the Obama campaign, doesn't it ?

    October 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  14. Michelle ,fonthill,ont, canada

    Sarah Palin may preach about change but this is totally hyrpcritical .I'm not suprised about it really the average soccor mom
    having her kids travelling with her all the time the clothing expenes ,the average mom would dare not go to Saxs Fifith Ave!
    This is another example of lies and two faced politicans!
    Thanks for the post
    see you on 360
    Michelle D.

    October 22, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  15. Eugenia-San Francisco, Ca

    If Obama is getting a 100,000 people at his rallies, doesn't that kind of mean that he would get more donations. Do the math and it makes sense. If Palin was representing the average American, would she be shopping at Saks, Neiman, or any of those over priced clothes stores? I got a 1 activewear outfit from Nordstroms as a birthday gift and was shocked that the person paid $110.00 for it!

    October 22, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  16. suzi

    My first question – since McCain is accepting public financing, does this mean that we the taxpayers are footing the bill for Palin's new clothes

    The information that continues to come out about this woman just astounds me – she has exaggerated her pitiful record, been found guilty of ethics violations in Alaska, allows the state of Alaska to pay her perdiem whille she lives at home to "do state business", charges her state for her family's travel – what a sec I thought she is supposed to be a maverick and a reformer

    It seems to me that she is in this for all she can charge taxpayers so she can live a better life and they call her a hick from Alaska – so she knows nothing about this country or the world – she sure has figured out how taxpayers can pay for her lifestyle – some racket

    I was disappointed on the softball interview of Palin by Drew Griffin – after twice asking her about the economy and twice getting nothing from here – where was the followup. Drew Griffin had the opportunity to ask followup questions to many of Palin's misstatements and just dropped the ball – CNN had a golden opportunity to ask hard questions of this woman and yet you came up flat

    October 22, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  17. Lee

    @Cindy: Not all Governers have the state pay for their children's travel expenses as Ron Reagan indicated on Larry King last night. Then Governor Reagan paid for his children's travel expenses.

    October 22, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  18. Lynne

    My comment refers to the expenses that the State of Alaska paid for her children to travel with her. Shouldn't those expenses be considered taxable income to her and be included on her W-2?

    October 22, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  19. Belinda

    How can Americans be lead to believe that the McCain/Palin ticket actually empathizes with the Senator's "American's are hurting" speech when his own campaign is financing Neiman Marcus & Saks trips to the tune of $49,000 – $75,000 in order to make her look presentable?...As a working mother who hasn't been able to step foot in a Neiman Marcus or Saks in the last few years.........It makes me wonder what kind of shopping trips my tax dollars will be paying for if these two are elected. My question to Sarah Palin is....if you had pay for your own clothing would you be able to spend $75,000 on a shopping spree at Neiman's??????

    October 22, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  20. Christine

    I want to know Barack and Michelle's clothing expenses. Where is that story????

    October 22, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  21. michele Florida

    Hey Palin a real "Maverick" would have proudly put together 3 or 4 suitable outfits from last years wardrobe.

    October 22, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  22. Emma

    David W., how about Obama's frequent "ums" when he answers questions? C'mon, are you seriously criticizing Palin's pauses? About Drew's interview, I think he did a great job. Unfortunately, I've seen Obama supporters accuse Drew of giving an easy interview. They're just unhappy because Palin didn't stumble on any of the questions. I guess the interview is only "good" if the person manages to trip Palin up.

    October 22, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  23. Teresa Chicago

    There you go . We all know that we can't afford Palin /first reason for me is how stupid she is/and she claim that she is fiscal conservative? Give me a break!! If she is for country first than she should go back to Alaska ...Her knowledge is to low to lead the Country Mc Cain did really stupid move to choose her!Yes he is Maverick but in wrong direction. He is Gamebler to me.I'm afraid of Mc Cain.

    October 22, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  24. Emily

    150k for clothes and accessories? Palin is such a Diva, and not in a good way.

    October 22, 2008 at 11:04 am |
  25. Betty Ann, Nacogdoches,TX

    Yes I do think this is a big deal! Palin abused her power at the taxpayers expense.
    If that was not enough to outrage instead of energizing her party, she did not even taken the time to read her job description as described in the constitution of the United States.
    Not once, but three chances to get it right and she got it wrong. There are some poor confused third graders out there. You know, if you're running seriously for the VP position, act the part. So far Palin's best talent is being poked fun at on SNL.
    Three strikes, you're OUT!

    October 22, 2008 at 11:01 am |
  26. Fay, CA

    After her disastrous interviews with Charlie Gibson and Katie Couric, it now seems that Palin will only agree to be interviewed when she's assured that she can basically repeat her stump speech and not be pressed for real answers and asked tough follow up questions by the reporter. Unfortunately, last night's interview was an example of that.

    October 22, 2008 at 10:57 am |
  27. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Neiman Marcus, Saxs Fifthe Avenue........ Palin is an "average American alright".

    But what can we expect from McCain? His own wife's outfits are $300 and up.

    Good luck with the politics of hate, lies, fear and division, McCain.

    We, the People, will reject it!

    October 22, 2008 at 10:12 am |
  28. mary

    The 150,000 price tag to dress up the VP is going to go down in history as a metaphor for the Republican campaign trying to buy an false image to sell to the American people. They have had control of all this from the begining. MC Shame let them do in the campaign what he said he would not. The Republican campaign machine was willing to do anything and everything to put lipstick on a candidate who was no were near qualilfied and hope we be dazzled by the package.

    And thank goodness the polls show the American people are not buying it. The voters want substance not sham...meanwhile like a beauty contest does she get to keep all those gorgeous designer suits??

    October 22, 2008 at 10:10 am |
  29. Julie Wilkins

    I’m an Obama supporter, but I must say that the Palin family’s travel expense issues being brought to the forefront of the media is a bit ridiculous. If we combed through travel expense records of governors across the nation, would we find one untainted? I think not. Let’s get to the real issues, guys!

    October 22, 2008 at 9:58 am |
  30. Marie

    Worried about her clothes expense? Of course, the media has nothing else to report. Try real reporting for a while – have you seen the amounts of money the Obama clan has raked in? Oh that's right, that's not news!

    October 22, 2008 at 9:56 am |
  31. Ann

    Once again the focus is on Palin...its become so clear to me over this campaign that the media is biased towards Obama. What happened to clear, objective reporting and investigative reporting of BOTH candidates. Obama's campaign raised $150 million in the month of Sept, they claim from hundreds of thousands of donations usually of under $100 each...really??? The media doesn't find the fact that he raised such a staggering amount in one month interesting and worth looking into, who really donated the money? I saw the Breaking News last night that Palin billed for her children's travel, and now its news that they've spent $150,000 on her image...but its not Breaking News that Obama raised $150 MILLION in one month for his campaign. There really is something funny going on here with all of this...how could he possibly raise so much and why isn't that Breaking News...why isn't CNN investigating how a candidate was able to raise $150 million in one month?

    October 22, 2008 at 9:54 am |
  32. Misty Sack

    Give the girl a break.

    Whatever you think of her as a candidate, it's clear the couple's combined income, though respectable, is nothing like McCain's, and her Alaska wardrobe was probably pretty simple, serviceable and reasonably priced. But she has to appear thrice daily in front of unforgiving cameras, looking as good as she can, and has no time to wait for the dry cleaner.

    In this age where the public demands glamour of everyone in the public eye (can you imagine Eleanor Roosevelt or Mamie Eisenhower up there on the dias today?) the RNC decided to outfit her nicely – and also make sure the kids and husband were presentable. Yes, $150K is a lot – but hopefully her new duds weren't made in China.

    And didn't I hear somewhere that Hillary's traveling pantsuits were designed by someone like Armani?

    October 22, 2008 at 9:53 am |
  33. bp

    Palin's wardrobe? Thanks for sticking with the issues and you once against prove your liberal bias. I'm sure that Obama has spent a ton of money on his families clothes as well. What about Obama's family expenses?

    Why don't you remind us that Obama is currently spending more than any other candidate in world history by using negative advertising?

    October 22, 2008 at 9:49 am |
  34. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    $150,000 for clothes and assessories could have better been spent to educate Palin on the ethics of politics. I guess all that experience as governor that Palin touts didn't require her to know what appropriate clothing should be worn which leaves me to wonder what's in her closet. What a waste of money.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  35. David W., Florida

    Has anyone noticed that Gov. Palin uses a lot of commas ( , ) and prepositions when she talks. I think that contributes not understanding what she just said. The other reason is because she spouts a lot of B.S.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:36 am |
  36. Clinton supporter for McCain

    We need to come together as a country. Senator McCain has reached across the aisle to Democrats. He wants everyone to work toward a solid future. Obama seems to only want to further his party's agenda, not the agenda of the American people.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:35 am |
  37. Cindy

    I for one would like to have seen the whole Palin interview and not just snippets of it. It seems that you all can twist her words and what she says when you just show bits and pieces of these things.

    As far as that goes I think Palin did a great interview...well what little of the interview that we actually saw! I hope that you will show the whole thing and let us make up our minds and you all stop trying to make up our minds for us.

    And I hope that with McCain you show the whole interview and not bits and pieces.

    On her getting the state to pay for her children's travel expenses, well all governors do that. So what is the big deal? Sarah is right. You all nick pick every little thing she does and let Obama and Joe get away with murder! Stop trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:07 am |
  38. carrie

    If I had 150k right now I could save my family , I'm a small business owner in Washington State, in the last two weeks I saw 60 percent of my business drop off and I cant afford to turn on my heat right now, and it is cold up here. I cant even afford the second hand stores . So 150k just for cloths and hair, are you freaking kidding, most hockey moms cant even afford to send their kids to play hockey, or have a beer with Joe sixpack. Thank God for tap water! This makes me sick.

    October 22, 2008 at 9:03 am |
  39. chuck

    Which is worse--Palin's EXPENSES or GEORGE BUSH NO SHOW ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL?-–John McCain can RUN but he cannot HIDE from the FACTS.

    October 22, 2008 at 8:53 am |