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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 09/24/2008

Read my lips...No new coal plants!

By Michael Dobbs


"We're not supporting clean coal, but guess what, China is building every week two dirty coal plants...No coal plants here in America! Build 'em, if they're gonna build 'em, over there [in China] and make 'em clean because they're killing ya."
--Joe Biden, Maumee, Ohio, September 16, 2008.

"The Obama-Biden Department of Energy is committed to developing 5 'first-of-a-kind' commercial scale coal-fired plants with carbon capture and sequestration here in the United States."
--Obama-Biden campaign statement, September 23, 2008.

Apparently someone forgot to tell Joe Biden to get with the program. Or he failed to read it. The Democratic vice presidential hopeful is insisting that no new coal plants--clean or dirty--will be built in the United States under an Obama-Biden administration. That flatly contradicts a key point in the energy platform of his own campaign, and has opened the Obama camp to sharp attacks from Republican rival John McCain.

The Facts

Over the past few weeks, McCain has been attempting to draw contrasts between his own, try-everything, energy policy and the "Dr No" approach allegedly being pursued by Obama. In a speech yesterday, in Strongsville, Ohio, McCain noted Biden's opposition to clean coal plants in the United States and added that Obama himself "is against the expansion of nuclear power."

Obama may put less emphasis on the expansion of nuclear power than McCain, but it is not true that he opposes it altogether. In his acceptance speech last month to the Democratic Party Convention, the Illinois senator said that he would "find ways to safely harness nuclear power." But McCain's jab against Biden was fair enough.

The Obama camp tried to deflect McCain's criticism of Biden by insisting that the Delaware senator had supported investment in clean coal technology. But that is missing the point. The tape of Biden's remarks in Ohio last week, available via YouTube above, clearly shows that he was talking about clean coal plants for China, not for the United States.

This is not the first time that Biden has been at odds with the top of the ticket. Interviewed by Katie Couric of CBS News earlier in the week, Biden described as "terrible" an Obama ad attacking McCain for his lack of computer skills and said he would never have approved it. Yesterday, Obama criticized his running mate for denouncing the government bailout of the giant insurance group AIG, when his own position has been much more nuanced.

NOTE: Biden may be gaffe-prone, but at least he is still talking to the media, and having free-wheeling exchanges with voters. His Republican rival, Sarah Palin, is still being kept under wraps by the McCain camp. Palin has so far done two media interviews since her nomination as vice president, compared to nearly a hundred by Biden.

The Pinocchio Test

The Obama campaign has not explained the contradiction between the two halves of the ticket on building new coal plants in the United States. In the absence of an explanation, we must assume that Obama is the one deciding the policy for the next administration. If that is the case, Biden's "no new coal plants" promise is worthless.

(About our rating scale.

By Michael Dobbs  | September 24, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  3 Pinocchios, Barack Obama, Candidate Watch, Environment  
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Comments

Oh, you have FINALLY noticed that the Democrats are running Joe Biden for VP? How about all the other whoppers he's told about FDR going on TV in 1929, the "terrible" ad attacking McCain for not using a computer, the AIG flip flop, or (my personal favorite) "Stand up, Chuck"?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 6:29 AM | Report abuse

I meant, in addition to, the "terrible" ad and AIG flip flop. I will try to believe you are not in the tank for Obama-Biden when (if) you ever assign some Pinocchios for the other whoppers too.

Can you also put up a more current "FEATURED ITEM"?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 6:37 AM | Report abuse

"NOTE: Biden may be gaffe-prone, but at least he is still talking to the media, and having free-wheeling exchanges with voters."

Translation: "We don't mind being spun; we just don't like being shut out."

Posted by: Tom T. | September 24, 2008 6:43 AM | Report abuse

Exactly, Tom T. You will notice that Charlie Gibson, Sean Hannity, Katie Couric, and Gwen Ifill are not complaining about access to Gov. Palin. As long as you don't lie about her, she will come. Not really that much to demand in return. There will be a huge backlash against the media over this.

Back to Biden's whoppers, last night in D.C. he reassured a group of trial lawyers that Obama has retained thousands of their brethren to make sure "they don't steal another election." I mean how brazen can old Joe get?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 7:04 AM | Report abuse

Fact check sees a problem with an Obama camp utterance, only when Joe Biden blurts out a truth!

LOL.

The Washington Post fact check column has become incoherent.

Joe Biden makes it difficult for this lying, spinning fact check column to keep up the sham that it's really fact checking (instead of being a Obama campaign advocate/McCain campaign basher.

Posted by: AsperGirl | September 24, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

THE GUY WAS BLURTING OUT THE TRUTH.

OBAMA MAKES UP A NEW POSITION EVERY TIME HE WANTS SOMETHING, INCLUDING HIS RECENT STATEMENTS THAT HE WON'T RAISE TAXES & THAT HE WON'T BLOCK ENERGY INDEPENDENCE.

JOE BIDEN BLURTS OUT THE TRUTH, THAT'S WHAT HE DOES.

OBAMA'S A BIG PHONY & LIAR & THERE WILL BE CRUSHING TAXES, NO ENERGY INDEPENDENCE, AND NEW WELFARE & REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH PROGRAMS.

Posted by: AsperGirl | September 24, 2008 7:45 AM | Report abuse

AsperGirl:

It is clear that ONE of them is lying. Since Obama is infallible, that means, of course, that Joe Biden gets the blame. Just the latest casualty thrown under the bus.

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 7:46 AM | Report abuse

Mr Dobbs, what does Palin's accessibility to the media have to do with Obama/Biden's stance on coal plants? I'm sure there's a good reason for mentioning that in the article.

Posted by: jfg | September 24, 2008 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I am amazed that people can be so rabidly against Sen. Obama. when the right-wing will not acknowledge its own mistakes. I think of you as the "American Taliban": intolerant & self-righteous.

Posted by: olle | September 24, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Can you imagine the field day Michael Dobbs and his liberal cronies at the Post would have if Sarah Palin referred to an article she remembered reading in the USA Today in 1977 that quoted President Reagan?
(Hint: Reagan wasn't President in 1976, and USA Today didn't exist yet)

So why can you only find the HUGE Joe Biden "FDR-on-tv-in-1929" gaffe on Fox News?

Possible answer: the mainstream liberal media has their 'template' for each candidate. Their template for Biden is 'smart, seasoned politician'. So if he makes a big gaffe, no big deal....it doesn't fit their template.

But the MSM template for Sarah Palin is "uneducated, inexperienced, know-nothing hick from Alaska", so if she were to make the same big gaffe....it would fit real nicely in the liberal-medias template, and they would run with it like fire.

But noooooooo, there's no bias in the media. Is there, Dobbs?

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 9:02 AM | Report abuse

OLLE:

If you think the Republican party is "the American Taliban: intolerant & self-righteous", you should try being a pro-life Democrat.

To equate either American political party with the Taliban only shows the poverty of your intellect.

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Someone needs to check the fact checkers.

can you say "in the tank" for the first black president?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

My, my. Our right wingers are very excited this morning. Good for you!

First of all, Biden said FDR did not go on TV. I'm not sure I can empathize with your deep confusion over that.

Second, if you can figure a position on new US coal plants from that youtube, then you've got an agenda, because he was very unclear on that.

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 10:24 AM | Report abuse

That should be:
Biden said FDR did not go on TV.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

zuckermand said:
"First of all, Biden said FDR did not go on TV."

Biden's quote:
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed," Biden told Couric. "He said, 'Look, here's what happened.'"

That's straight from one of your favorite liberal hang-outs, politico. The stock market crashed in 1929. What part don't you understand?

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

zuckermand:

I'm sure you would rush to Sarah Palin's defense as well if she referred to a quote by President Reagan in the USA Today in 1977.

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

How about doing a "fact checker" on how Biden says FDR spoke to the nation on TV after the 1929 stock market crash?

Posted by: info | September 24, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

I think Obama and Biden can agree with many, many people that domestic fossil fuels will not come close to solving our future need for energy, and therefore the priority should be put on creating renewable energy sources. As we've already seen with the present unstable price of oil and the global warming crisis, we have to make a change, and the sooner the better for our country. I think Obama has seen, however, that many people in the country are locked in this "Drill, Baby, Drill" ideology, and has agreed to compromise. This is not flip-flopping, this is the kind of practicality we need in the White House.

Posted by: Jmezzo | September 24, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

As you are certainly aware, the Republicans and the Democrats have created an organization called the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) for the purpose of excluding third party and independent candidates from the political process. Every four years, the two major parties negotiate a complex contract which excludes other presidential candidates from the national debates.

This year, the two negotiators for the secret contract were Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-IL). In order to protect the the Obama and McCain campaigns from public criticism, the Commission on Presidential Debates has refused to release this back-room contract for public inspection.

In order for all minority party voices to be heard in this important presidential election, it is critical that this contract is made available to the general public before the debates.

Call the Commission on Presidential Debates at 202-872-1020.
Please ask the CPD representative (or leave message) to "please make the debate contract between John McCain and Barack Obama available to the public."
Then ask the representative to please "include Bob Barr & Ralph Nader (and other 3rd party candidates you believe should be included) in the presidential debates."

Note, in 1992, Ross Perot was polling at 7% before the first presidential debate . Mr. Perot was included in all three debates not because of a ruling by the debate sponsor or host; Ross Perot was included in the presidential debates because George H.W. Bush demanded that he be included.

Today, if Bob Barr or any minority party candidate is going to be included in the debates, it will be because John McCain or Barack Obama demanded it. Many speculate that of the two, Obama should most likely be the one to listen to minority groups hoping for representation.

Pick up the phone and call the Obama campaign at 866-675-2008.
Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer.
Once connected, politely deliver the following message:

"Hi my name is __________ and I'm calling to request that Senator Obama invite minority party candidates Bob Barr and Ralph Nader (and any other 3rd parties you believe should be represented) participate in the upcoming presidential debates. Could you please leave this message with your campaign manager, David Plouffe?

Please make the debates better by petitioning for 3rd party inclusion.

Posted by: opnmndd | September 24, 2008 11:34 AM | Report abuse

If you open your mind TOO much, something's bound to fall out ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Bonus Quote of the Day
"When the stock market crashed, Franklin Roosevelt got on the television and didn't just talk about the princes of greed. He said, 'look, here's what happened.'"

-- Sen. Joe Biden, in an interview with CBS News.

Of course, as Reason points out, Roosevelt wasn't president in 1929 and televisions were still experimental.

Posted by: Helen | September 24, 2008 12:26 PM | Report abuse

Your contention that Sarah Palin has done two media interviews since her elevation to VP candidate status deserves at least two Pinocchios. She did an interview with Charles Gibson. The infommercial she did with Sean Hannity for Fox News hardly counts as a media interview.

Posted by: Two Media Interviews??? | September 24, 2008 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I think the point in the article was that although Biden makes a handful of mistakes while speaking, at least he speaks his mind. I almost like the idea of having a VP who makes a flub now and then when talking about major issues, rather than one who doesn't even know what the issues are in the first place. Palin is a joke. I don't care if she is a hockey mom or a small town mayor, she's not good at those things, either.

And may I add, I find it VERY funny to hear anyone from the republican side commenting on the verbal "oops" that Biden makes... If you voted for BUSH, shut your mouth. You obviously love someone who makes mistakes!

Posted by: DrDem | September 24, 2008 12:41 PM | Report abuse

DrDem and TwoMediaInterviews??:

Sean Hannity is a member of the "media". So is PEOPLE Magazine. Here's the count (so far):

PRESS -- Gibson (ABC) Sept. 11 and 12; Hannity (Fox) Sept. 18 and 19; Bartiromo (CNBC) Sept. 24; Couric (CBS) Sept. 29 and 30; Ifill (PBS) Oct. 2

PEOPLE (Magazine) -- August 29

PEOPLE (Townhalls) -- various, including rallies upward of 60,000+ in Florida, etc.

Next canard?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Even if she's done 10, that's still not many. Maybe she should use all that extra time to read up on the Bush Doctrine.

Posted by: DrDem | September 24, 2008 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Which "version" of the Bush Doctrine? BTW: one interview was enough for me ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, Palin gets so much attention when she does speak that it's almost brilliant politically to make her media interviews into rare pop culture events.

I thought the Dems were the only ones with a show pony! Dang! Oh well, I still like 'em.

Posted by: DrDem | September 24, 2008 1:16 PM | Report abuse

You are correct about the Biden quote. He was obviously referring to radio addresses. Are you under the impression Biden did not know this? I imagine you also believe Obama thinks there are 57 states. How about McCain, do you think he believes Iran is training and arming al qaeda on Iranian soil?

As with this 'fact check", some inaccurate statments are intended to deceive, some aren't. Some gaffes are the product of ignorance, some aren't. People who pretend they don't know the difference are hacks.

JakeD,
As for which Bush Doctrine, it would be the right to preventive war that accounts for 99.2% of all references to the Bush Doctrine that preceded the need to cover for Gov Palin's embarrassing interview. But you knew that, of course.

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 1:20 PM | Report abuse

No, zuckermand, when I first heard Charlie Gibson's question, I honestly thought of the Bush Doctrine as outlined after 9/11: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists and countries which harbor terrorists." I also thought Gov. Palin was being overly polite in not immediately answering: "Of course I do, Charlie, why don't you?"

Also, just in case you didn't know, Hoover was President in 1929. "President" Roosevelt did not come on the TV or radio ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 1:31 PM | Report abuse

BTW, FDR began his presidency in 1933, when the country was still in the depth of the great depression. Yes, it was not the DAY the market crashed. I believe he was talking about that time in history, that period of years we now refer to as the great depression, which I think had something to do with that stock market crash?

Boy, y'all really gotta work to make McCain look good, don't ya?

Posted by: DrDem | September 24, 2008 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"when I first heard Charlie Gibson's question, I honestly thought of the Bush Doctrine as outlined after 9/11: "We will make no distinction between the terrorists and countries which harbor terrorists." "

Further evidence you are not qualified for the office of VP.

"Hoover was President in 1929"

Are you under the impression Sen Biden does not know this?

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 1:42 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:
I also thought Gov. Palin was being overly polite in not immediately answering: "Of course I do, Charlie, why don't you?"
================

Do you fantasize about Sen Obama, too? Does the JakeD fantasy Obama improve in wisdom and character as well?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

I think it was more important to Biden to make a political point than make a historically accurate point. As for the "Bush Doctrine" there are (at least) 4 distinctive versions. Which is why I asked "Which version?" above. Failing that -- as was the case in the Palin interview -- you'd better believe I would have shot down Charlie Gibson. Sorry if you think that's too blunt, but maybe it's better I'm not running for VP as well ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, don't you wish the Gov Palin with the "Of course I do, Charlie..." answer were on the ticket?

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, that last post was directed to DrDem and zukermand (for the record, I have no idea, from the evidence submitted thus far, that Sen. Biden does in fact know who the President of the United States was in 1929 -- maybe Sarah Palin doesn't either -- this is the Vice Presidency they are running for, not Jeopardy ; )

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 1:58 PM | Report abuse

No, zuckermand, as I am sure the overly polite Gov. Palin will get more votes ...

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Whatever, we can go round and round, and you can pull unflattering motivations for my guys and excuses for your guys out of your rear all day. What a waste.

Here's what matters, even after Gibson explained "which" Bush Doctrine" he was referring to, she didn't know what the hell he was talking about. The funniest part is she managed to ramble her way into disagreeing with McCain and Bush by relying on the imminent threat threshold they've both discarded. Doesn't that bother you?

Look, I get it. You've convinced yourself abortion is murder and you're clearly obsessed with the issue. She's a big fundie and you think she might be willing to lock up cheerleaders to keep them from aborting their babies. Fine. You have every right to vote for her for whatever reason you can dream up. Can we please cut the crap with trying to pretend there's some basis for claiming her qualification in expertise for this office?

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 2:12 PM | Report abuse

No, because she objectively has more EXECUTIVE experience than Obama-Biden combined. So, it's a little more complicated than you would wish it to be. While abortion is my most important issue, that's not the only criteria I use. As for me being bothered by her answer after Gibson's "explanation" I would have to see the answer again, because I don't recall being bothered with her at the time.

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 2:26 PM | Report abuse

You have a knack for replying without responding, I'll give you that. I expect your reviewing her answer would be a waste of time. Even if she were to say something impossibly imprudent, like threaten nuclear holocaust, I expect you'll continue your support of her and Sen McCain.

..and, yes, I am aware some residents of Alaska can see Russian territory from their shoreline. Somehow, I am not persuaded.

Come on, doesn't Sen McCain embarrass you a little sometimes?

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

check out zuckermand....spin, spin, spin, spin....

Yeah, and if Palin had made the quote Biden made, I'm sure zuckermand would be right there to blow it off and automatically assume she meant 'radio' and not 'tv'.....

Zuckermand, you continue to show how intellectually-deprived you really are....or maybe you are just embarassed by your party's laughable VP nominee, just a couple weeks removed from when all you liberal cronies predicted McCain would be begging for a different VP!

Everyone is laughing at people on here like 'zuckermand' and 'DrDem' trying to defend Bidens screw-ups.....

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 4:15 PM | Report abuse

zuckermand said:
"Can we please cut the crap with trying to pretend there's some basis for claiming [Palin's] qualification in expertise for this office?"

Only if we can cut the crap and quit pretending there's some basis for claiming Obama's qualifications for the office of PRESIDENT.

C'mon, zuckermand....you're better than that. You know any Palin-is-not-experienced-enough-to-be-VP argument blows up in the collective face of you Democrats every time they try it. One only has to hold up Obama's resume to show how ridiculous that argument is....

Posted by: dbw | September 24, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Who said anything about experience?

Posted by: zukermand | September 24, 2008 4:42 PM | Report abuse

And this 2008 Presidential Election Weekly Poll Says it all.
You Won't Believe These Results!
They even include a write-in for Ron Paul!

http://www.votenic.com

New Poll Just Started!
Instant Results!

Posted by: null | September 24, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Good points, dbw.

Look, zuckermand, I responded to your questions directly and honestly. You asked if her answer "bothered" me, and I said "I'd have to look at it again" because I don't recall her answer "bothering" me -- short of having that opportunity, my best answer would be "no" -- you asked if we could "cut the crap", and I said "no" while explaining how it's not "crap". I really am not sure how much more "responsive" I could be, short of just drinking the Obama kool-aid and completely agreeing with you.

As for how far I would go to support her and Sen. McCain, I think I said in another thread, if she's lying about giving birth to Trig, then I wouldn't vote for her. Satisfied?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Joe Biden, the never ending gift to McCain/Palin. Imagine how hard Hillary is laughing these days.

Posted by: thinkwithyourbrain | September 24, 2008 5:03 PM | Report abuse

P.S. to zuckermand -- YOU brought up "experience" when you claimed we are "trying to pretend there's some basis for claiming her qualification in (sic) expertise for this office".

You seem a bit off your game today. Is anything wrong?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 5:09 PM | Report abuse

DEWEY BEACH, Delaware (CNN) -- Although Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden routinely mocks his Republican counterpart, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, for her onetime support of the infamous "Bridge to Nowhere," Biden and his running mate voted to keep the project alive twice.
Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden campaigns in Washington on Tuesday.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden campaigns in Washington on Tuesday.

Both Biden and Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama voted to kill a Senate amendment that would have diverted federal funding for the bridge to repair a Louisiana span badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, Senate records show.

And both voted for the final transportation bill that included the $223 million earmark for the Alaska project.

An amendment offered by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Oklahoma, would have stripped the money appropriated to connect the Alaskan coastal city of Ketchikan to its airport on sparsely populated Gravina Island and diverted the money to Louisiana.

But Biden andObama and 80 of their colleagues rejected the measure, an amendment to a massive 2005 transportation bill that funded thousands of projects across the country. Video Watch how Biden has blasted Palin ยป

"That is probably the most disturbing element of this and the campaigning on the Bridge to Nowhere," said Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation, a taxpayer watchdog group. "Because, yes, they had a chance to vote specifically against the Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska to redirect the money to people, to bridges and infrastructure damaged by Hurricane Katrina going in to New Orleans, and they chose not to."

Palin, whom McCain chose as his running mate in August, has regaled crowds at the Republican convention and on the campaign trail with her declaration of "Thanks, but no thanks" for the bridge. But her conversion came after she became Alaska's governor in 2006 and after the bridge became a national symbol of congressional waste.

The record shows that she supported the bridge as a gubernatorial candidate, and Democrats have seized on the flip-flop, perhaps no one with as much relish as Biden.

"I got also a bridge I got to sell you here, and guess what, it's in Alaska, and it goes nowhere," Biden mocked Palin on the campaign trail last week in Maumee, Ohio. And in Canton, Ohio, he tied it to McCain.

"If you look at it John McCain's answers for the economy, and we're in such desperate shape, is the ultimate bridge to nowhere. It's nowhere," Biden said. "It takes you nowhere."

But while the applause line appealed to the Democratic faithful, it could come back to bite the Delaware senator.

This year, Delaware has requested 116 congressional earmarks through Biden, its longtime senator, at a cost to taxpayers of $342 million. In an appearance on CNN's "American Morning" with anchor John Roberts, Biden said that he had been open about those requests and that they all can be justified.

"Everyone has seen them, and we have no Lawrence Welk Museums and have no bridges to nowhere in Delaware. It's all straight up," Biden said.

Among his requests: $1 million for renovation of an opera house in Wilmington, another million for the construction of a children's museum and thousands of dollars for a water park renovation in Lewes.

"I think opera patrons generally can afford to -- you can raise money for an opera house; you can refurbish things a lot of different ways," Allison said.

"To have federal taxpaying dollars -- which is coming from people all over the country; low-income, middle-income people, as well as the wealthy -- to go to pay for the renovation of something that is really a luxury for Wilmington ... There are far more vital projects that anyone could think of that needs money. You got health care. You got education. You got all other types of things. Instead, we are redirecting money to refurbish an opera house in Wilmington or to build a children's museum."

And Biden's request includes a bridge that even the head of the Rehoboth Beach-Dewey Beach Chamber of Commerce says is not crucial at this juncture.

The Indian River Inlet Bridge is a vital link between two popular beachfront towns: Dewey and Bethany. Without it, the estimated 30,000 summer visitors would have to travel an additional 35 minutes to get to the towns.

"We need a new bridge, and we are fortunate to be at a place where it is finally going to happen," said Carol Everhart, the chief of the Chamber of Commerce.

The existing bridge has some erosion problems, and if it ever collapsed, Everhart said, it would cause an economic disaster in the community. But it's safe for now.

"The bridge, as it is, is perfectly safe," she said.

Still, Biden asked for $13 million to help shore up the existing bridge and begin construction of a new one. And that's what troubles the Sunlight Foundation's Allison.

"This bridge is not in any danger of collapse, and essentially what Sen. Biden is doing is saying, 'My state bridge gets the priority dollar even though it is not a priority project,' " Allison said.

He said the Department of Transportation, rather than U.S. senators, should be deciding which bridges get priority funding in the country. That way, the bridges in the U.S. that need immediate repair would be first in line for the dollars needed to do the work.

As he embarked on his presidential bid in 2007, Obama said he would no longer ask for earmark projects. McCain, who has been a longtime critic of the process, does not seek any for his home state of Arizona.
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CNN asked Biden's campaign whether it could ask the senator about his earmark requests and his votes on the Bridge to Nowhere.

In response, a staffer e-mailed, "You've interviewed Gov. Palin re: her completely made up position on the Bridge to Nowhere right?"

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 5:31 PM | Report abuse

JakeD:YOU brought up "experience" when you claimed we are "trying to pretend there's some basis for claiming her qualification in (sic) expertise for this office".

No, I didn't. It's funny how closely you read when it suits you.

Posted by: Anonymous | September 24, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm just quoting your words, zuckermand. Seriously, you seem a bit off your normal game. Does the debate cancelation have you down?

Posted by: JakeD | September 24, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

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