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McCain and Grizzly Bears

The Post's Joel Achenbach reports today on a key element of John McCain's stump speech -- a $3 million study of grizzly bear DNA.

"I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal," McCain jokes, "but it was a waste of money."

The study featured prominently in a TV ad McCain aired last November:

McCain has mentioned other pork projects in his ads, including funding for a museum about the 1969 Woodstock festival. Achenbach reported on that project back in October.

-- Ed O'Keefe

By Ed O'Keefe |  March 10, 2008; 9:00 AM ET John McCain
Previous: Man in the Arena | Next: President Bush at the Gridiron Dinner


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Understanding DNA in a variety of species helps us understand our own DNA and can lead to innumerable medical advances.

Please don't dismiss science just because you cannot instantly understand its purpose. Ask first.

Posted by: DougS | March 10, 2008 10:00 AM

SEn. McCain should realize that his cancer is being contained because of some stupid pork barrel project that studied some plants in some remote spot and ended up as an anti cancer agent.

This guy wants to be President?

What a joke.....

Posted by: HarveyK | March 10, 2008 10:06 AM

McCain Other wise known as McNobrain

Posted by: old guy | March 10, 2008 10:10 AM

McCain is too ignorant to care about science and conservation. I'm sure he thinks bears are for hunting, period.

His primary love is war, which generations of young people will most certainly be paying for if he is elected president (plus he will institute the draft again so he has enough soldiers to "bomb, bomb Iran", Iraq & Afghanistan all at once). Very scary man!

Posted by: skimom27 | March 10, 2008 10:14 AM

Well, $3 million on studying grizzly bears will cost 3 cents per taxpayer in total. And the Iraq war is costing (at least) $360 a year per taxpayer.

I know what I choose!

Posted by: Alexandra Draxler | March 10, 2008 10:16 AM

McCain is playing to the yahoos. Oh that government HAR HAR HAR. He knows better and he doesnt give a damn.

Posted by: davidscott1 | March 10, 2008 10:17 AM

It is unfortunate that Sen. McCain has targeted scientific study as an example of governmement waste. It is easy to try and make examples of research the public my not easily understand. I suppose this means in further reductions in the budgets of the National Institutes Of Health to the detriment of the health of te American public.

Posted by: Bill E | March 10, 2008 10:20 AM

If all you spend-thrift Libs had just
some of the good sense that John McCain
has, our country would be in much better
shape. Oh, that we had the ability to
finance all these projects ! But, let's
face it, we have our financial futures
tied securely to those other Lib ideas.
Health care, Medicare, Presciption Drugs.

Posted by: richqust | March 10, 2008 10:22 AM

Best of British luck with your new crusade to discredit the presumptive Republican candidate for the presidency by citing Sen. McCain's characterization of a study of the critically important ecology of the grizzly bear as so much wasteful pork. Elsewhere, you solemnly echo the self-serving report of the director of the research project, as if her claim to have produced results well worth the millions spent were somehow a definitive refutation of the McCain criticism. Please. She has a right to seek public funds to enhance her prospects of academic advancement, and the senator has an equal right to his skepticism.

Posted by: John Van Laer | March 10, 2008 10:25 AM

The whole question of pork barreling has to be reexamined. We mock them as soon as the label "earmark" is applied. We've got to understand that many (perhaps most) earmarks have some value. Hillary's one million seemingly silly earmark for a Woodstock museum would attract many tourists to the area, improve the economy and put money into the pockets of shop keepers and hotels and restaurants. I know lots of people who brag about having been to Woodstock and would probably love to return to relive the event. As I reread my post, I note that the value of an earmark, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Yes, I support Hillary.

Posted by: Joe Turner | March 10, 2008 10:25 AM

I think that the fact that mac was getting at there is nothing wrong with the study itself what the problem was is the price tag.But of course all of you people who are just hunting an excuse to anti McCain are going to jump on the band wagon

Posted by: Vicki Hampton | March 10, 2008 10:26 AM

Senator McCain should be included in the Woodstock museum not because he is ancient but because he was there with us ten thousand miles away. Furthermore, if my Congressman or Senator isn't going to bring the Pork home to my district or state, then why should I vote for him in the first place,period?

dePaul Consiglio

Posted by: dePaul Consiglio | March 10, 2008 10:30 AM

Hey how many way are you guys here at the post going to milk this story anyway? I think that you have coverage on every page just worded a little differently. What is is a slow news day? or are you taking tips from The New York Times and just following suit?

Posted by: Vicki Hampton | March 10, 2008 10:32 AM

The need to save money is of great importance for us as a debtor nation. McCain should focus on the real waste like the military and defense contractors that have been draining our economy for so many years

Posted by: Carl Sutton | March 10, 2008 10:32 AM

How disappointing are these commentaries.

McCain sees what HE considers pork, and calls it for what it is.

The truth is, her project is focused not on the DNA of grizzly bears, but on counting them.

One could argue, all you need are eyeballs and statistical table distribution; rather than DNA to accomplish?

Then, again, how vital is it that we-the-people know how many grizzlies there are in a deserted place like MT anyway?

Come on People!

Posted by: J Bischoff | March 10, 2008 10:40 AM

Richqust said: If all you spend-thrift Libs had just some of the good sense that John McCain has, our country would be in much better shape.
Actually, if some "conservative Republicans" had only listened to President Eisenhower when he warned of the danger of the "Military Industrial Complex" we probably wouldn't owe more than $13 trillion (counting the current "off the book" costs of the futility of the Iraq mess, and not counting the possible additional trillion dealing with the results of that fiasco. It depends on whether you want to help all people rise to a level of dignity not currently available to them in this society or to kill people whose only crime was that they tried to kill your daddy.

Posted by: Bob W | March 10, 2008 10:47 AM

Yes, but wait a minute, should our government be involved with a bears DNA, grizzly or not? How about my DNA- how about my health care plan?

Obama vs. McCain- The Internet Indicators:

Posted by: davidmwe | March 10, 2008 11:57 AM

My main objection is to the way the Post presented this story. It was not until late into the story that they put in a couple of sentences explaining that McCain's main concern is that earmarks do not go through the normal committee process but are added in with no evaluation and opportunity for a vote on the merits of the expense by Members in committees. If the Post gave that explanation first, then, they would have a very different story. This kind of journalism is designed to make a Republican look bad no matter what. When the Committee process is subverted and elected representatives are not held accountable for what they vote on in committees, that is when the earmark process can balloon out of control as it has. That is the real issue, which the Post is ignoring in the way they presented the story and that McCain is trying to control. The way this article is written shows the Post trying to make McCain the bad guy. Just more liberal bias from the Post again. And the liberally biased print media just goes on wondering why their subscription rate continues to go down and they continue to point to reasons outside themselves instead of looking in the mirror.

Posted by: Joy Stevens | March 10, 2008 12:00 PM

Everyone here is missing the point. McCain is using the study as an example because, on its face, it is an easy sell. As for the person who thinks the Woodstock museum is a good funding idea, why don't you go start a non-profit and take donations for it? That way, the people who want it, can make it happen. Sure the local economy might benefit from it, so why don't they pay for it? Why make the rest of the country pay? And don't give me that crap about it only costing the taxpayer 1/3 of a cent or 5 cents for each project. After a million projects it starts to add up. Ultimately, while the project may or may not have merit, the point is, there is a way to include the funding in normal funding measures without resorting to earmarks, which are not vetted by committee nor debated on the floors of the House and Senate.

Posted by: ssg mathew | March 10, 2008 12:05 PM

Come on folks... ask yourself to answer these questions honestly:
1. Is pork spending more alway honest?
2. Is pork spending always fairly reviewed?
3. Does pork spending always best represent the poeple?
4. Is pork funding every used to funnel money into the pockets of freinds and family of a senator?

If you answer the questions honestly you'll have no choice but to oppose pork funding.

Posted by: CommonSense | March 10, 2008 12:28 PM

Long time ago Politicians complained about the 1 million going to Bee Research. The Republicans with their infinite wisdom got rid of that pork barrell project. But wait, now the Bee's are in trouble, possible half of Americans Honey Bee's are gone. This affects our Fruit tree pollenation, our food! Seems like 1 million was pretty cheep. Now the economic cost is well over 1 million. Money for Research is a good thing.

Posted by: Randy Williams | March 10, 2008 12:48 PM

Scientific research and study is not worth paying for - but BILLIONS to TANK THE AMERICAN ECONOMY on the WAR IN IRAQ is perfectly okay??????

Posted by: christi | March 10, 2008 1:43 PM

Once again the little military marinet, John McCain, demonstrates just how much out of touch with reality he is. The Grizzly Bear add-on was not a DNA study, but funded other scientific research on the this beutiful wild creature that is being threatened by selfish hunters and develpers.

But if an add-on supported prolonging the Bush/McCain Iraq War to put more of our troops at risk and add to a near insurmountable national deficit fueled by this hateful war, the martinet would be first in line to cast his vote of support.

If we Demos can only get our act together for the General Election, we have a priceless opportunity to regain the White House, but let us not forget our Demos are just as greedy as their GOP counterparts in congress when it comes add-on pork.

Wake-up Demos in congress and institute meaningful reforms!

Posted by: Forrest Gerard | March 10, 2008 1:48 PM

I wish Senator McCain would exercise that level of scrutiny and a campaign speech on the no bid contracts that were given to Haliburton and Blackwater by this administration. If he is going to go after waste and abuse of the public tax dollar, why not start with the biggest offenders first. Or if it's just earmarks, why not start with the millions of dollars in earmarks sponsored by the President? He would get an overwhelming number of votes for that.

Posted by: DakotaPatriot | March 10, 2008 1:50 PM

So what have we got here 1 million for Woodstock and 3 million for bears, thank you John W. McBush for saving us this money.
Now lets talk about 52 million to send out a letter to tells us about the goverment rebate, there is no need to tell me I have a check coming, it simple someone send you a check you cash it, or do you see it as an ad for the Republican Party and yourself.
Can you tell me how much money you have spent killing the Iraq people and our own and what the bill will be for years and years after this war? is over? how many more trillions will it take to get our arm forces with the equipment that they need to protect us again???

Posted by: vermont boy | March 10, 2008 2:09 PM

McCain shoots himself in the foot every time he opens his mouth. If this is the best the pugs have, then White House, her we come. If anyone say his interview on 60 minutes one would know this guy is singing the wrong tune but the worst part is he doesn't even know it. What a loser

Posted by: maria | March 10, 2008 3:24 PM

Woodstock? Gee - remember?

Well it's 1,2,3 what are we fighting for?
Don't ask me I don't give a damn.
Next stop is Vietnam.

Well it's 5,6,7 open up those pearly gates.
Don't stop to wonder why.
Whoopee! We're all gonna die.

Posted by: AmericanGirl1650 | March 10, 2008 4:33 PM

Go bond with your bears, rub your crystals and dance with your unicorns under the rainbow, you spaced-out, dope-smoking Liberal idiots.

Posted by: robtay | March 10, 2008 7:21 PM

If that $3M for a Grizzly study is pork, then the Iraq War is a whole freakin' HERD OF PIGS!!!

There are some things I like about John McCain, and I surely respect him, but I truly question his sense of proportion... And I'd like to see his record (not his statements) on pork and earmarks... Somehow I doubt he's an innocent in all this, given all his years in the Senate.

That said, I doubt the 'competition' is particularly more guilty or innocent in this arena. All politicians complain about it and all of them succumb to it.

Just read that one F-22 Raptor plane costs $137M. That's a LOT of bear studies...

Posted by: StoneyFF | March 10, 2008 8:34 PM

CNN recently did a piece on the Black Footed Ferret where 28 million and years of dedicated work gave the species a chance to survive. Now 15 ranchers who are leasing this particular piece of ground from the government are partitioning the Gov to kill all of the prairie dogs, main food source for the ferret, (with poison) and it looks like their going to get it done. God forbid 15 ranchers would have to suffer when we can simply kill off another entire species. Some day you folks with no appreciation or interest in the other inhabitants of this planet are going to learn a hard lesson about keystone species and how your own life depends on theirs. This planet is finite, and you can talk about growth all you want to but what you are really about is greed, and in the end, it is going to kill all of us.

Posted by: Sarge | March 10, 2008 11:35 PM

Hey, I suppose it's just fine to use tax dollars to kill our service men and women and thousands of Iraqi's in a useless war that puts even our grandkids in debt and prevents spending on health research, healthcare, species extinction, conservation, etc. Instead of funding the black hole of W's imaginary threats, maybe some studies of DNA would save our butts down the line. I suggest we first study McCain's and Bush's DNA. I think they are virtually identical save that McCain has a gene allowing him to actually serve his country (once).

Posted by: Paul | March 11, 2008 1:05 AM

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