Ignoring Palin's video message, CBS reporter claimed McCain campaign "prove[d]" Palin has "no connection" to Alaskan Independence Party

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

CBS' Nancy Cordes reported: "Today, the McCain campaign released her voter registration records to prove Palin is a lifelong Republican with no connection to the [Alaskan] Independence Party." But Cordes did not note that Palin addressed the AIP's 2008 state convention in a video message in which she said the group "plays an important role in our state's politics," that she reportedly addressed the party's convention with a video message in 2006, that the McCain campaign has acknowledged that Palin "visited" the AIP's 2000 convention, or that her husband reportedly was a registered member of the party.

On the September 2 edition of the CBS Evening News, discussing "reports" that Gov. Sarah Palin "participated in Alaska's Independence Party [AIP], which has called in the past for the state to secede from the union," CBS correspondent Nancy Cordes reported: "Today, the McCain campaign released her voter registration records to prove Palin is a lifelong Republican with no connection to the Independence Party." But Cordes did not note that Palin addressed the AIP's 2008 state convention in a video message in which she said the group "plays an important role in our state's politics," that she reportedly addressed the party's convention with a video message in 2006, or that the McCain campaign has acknowledged that Palin "visted" the AIP's 2000 convention. Further, in a September 2 post on his ABCNews.com Political Punch blog, ABC News senior national correspondent Jake Tapper reported that Gail Fenumiai, director of the Alaska Division of Elections, "says that Palin's husband Todd was a member of the AIP from October 1995 through July 2002, except for a few months in 2000."

According to its website, "The Alaskan Independence Party can be summed up in just two words: ALASKA FIRST!" [emphasis in the original]. The website further states that the party's "goal is the vote we were entitled to in 1958, one choice from among the following four alternatives: 1) Remain a Territory. 2) Become a separate and Independent Nation. 3) Accept Commonwealth status. 4) Become a State." The website asserts that "[t]he call for this vote is in furtherance of the dream of the Alaskan Independence Party's founding father, Joe Vogler." As TPM Media's Greg Sargent has noted, in a 1991 "interview that's now housed at the Oral History Program in the Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks," Vogler asserted: "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government. And I won't be buried under their damn flag. I'll be buried in Dawson. And when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home."

In a video message to the AIP's 2008 state convention -- available on the party's website and highlighted on the website's front page -- Palin asserted that the AIP "plays an important role in our state's politics" and said she "share[s] your party's vision of upholding the constitution of our great state." Palin stated:

I'm Governor Sarah Palin and I am delighted to welcome you to the 2008 Alaskan Independence Party Convention in the golden heart city of Fairbanks. Your party plays an important role in our state's politics. I've always said that competition is so good, and that applies to political parties as well. I share your party's vision of upholding the constitution of our great state. My administration remains focused on reining in government growth so individual liberty and opportunity can expand. I know you agree with that. We have a great promise to be a self-sufficient state, made up of the hardest-working, most grateful Americans in our nation. So as your convention gets under way I hope that you all are inspired by remembering that all those years ago, it was in this same city that Alaska's constitution was born. And it was founded on hope and trust and liberty and opportunity. I carry that message of opportunity forward in my administration, as we continue to move our state ahead and create positive change. So I say good luck on a successful and inspiring convention. Keep up the good work, and God bless you.

Further, on the September 2 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer reported that Palin also "sen[t] a video to this party's convention in 2006." In a September 1 post on Political Punch, Tapper reported that McCain campaign spokesman Brian Rogers "says that Palin didn't attend the AIP convention in 1994, 'but she visited them when they had their convention in Wasilla in 2000 as a courtesy since she was mayor.' "

From the September 2 edition of the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric:

CORDES: After yesterday's revelation that her 17-year-old daughter is pregnant, questions are flying about how much the McCain campaign knew about other issues like the probe into Palin's firing of her public safety commissioner, or reports that she participated in Alaska's Independence Party, which has called in the past for the state to secede from the union.

MARK CHRYSON (former chairman, Alaskan Independence Party): All I know is she was at the convention in '94 with her husband and several hundred other people.

CORDES: Today, a senior official close to the vetting process told CBS News those concerns are either unfounded or were dismissed during a long examination that started way back in May, when they began compiling dossiers on 21 possible picks. Palin's was 40 pages, single-spaced. Eventually that list of 21 shrank to just six. Palin and the other finalists were asked to provide even more personal data. Today, the McCain campaign released her voter registration records to prove Palin is a lifelong Republican with no connection to the Independence Party. And it blamed the Obama campaign for stirring the pot on all this, something that campaign strongly denies.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
CBS
Person
Nancy Cordes
Show/Publication
CBS Evening News
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