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Sarah Palin Emails Released By Alaska Government (LIVE UPDATES)

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SARAH PALIN EMAILS RELEASED

The state of Alaska released thousands of pages of emails sent and received by Sarah Palin during her tenure as governor on Friday.

(SCROLL DOWN FOR THE LATEST UPDATES)

More than 24,000 pages, the dispatch comes in response to requests from media organizations, as well as individuals, under the state public records law during the 2008 presidential election. The emails were exchanged from when Palin first took office in December of 2006 through September of 2008. Emails sent by the former governor in the subsequent ten months through her resignation are expected to be disclosed at a later date.

During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday" last weekend, Palin said that she's not concerned that the emails being released could produce any damaging revelations.

"I think every rock in the Palin household that could ever be kicked over and uncovered anything, it's already been kicked over," she explained. "I don't think there's anything private in our family now. A lot of those emails obviously weren't meant for public consumption. They are between staff members. They're probably between family members."

The former governor added, "They'll never truly know what the context of each one of the emails was, or each one of the issues were that I was working on that day, or in that time period."

Click here to read the emails released by the state of Alaska. See anything interesting related to the 2008 campaign? Todd Palin? Tell us what you find right here or by emailing us at palinemails@huffingtonpost.com.

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The Washington Post reports:

Sarah Palin for the most part hews closely these days to the Republican Party’s political orthodoxy. She says she hates President Obama’s health-care legislation; favors a smaller, less-costly government; stridently opposes abortion; and believes in American exceptionalism.

But on one issue in particular — the party’s long-standing ties to large oil and gas companies that have helped underwrite its attempts to seize and hold power in Washington — the Palin that emerges from e-mails during her Alaska governorship is a definite renegade.

Click here to read more.

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On July 10, 2008, Palin wrote her inner circle after a reporter filed a public records request for her travel and family expenses:

Remind him of the family travels w me that I have personally pd for, including with mileage. Hopefully our records very clearly show that. Also, my return of every per diem offer for everything related to the kids..and we need to be proactive in this issue with reminding him of all the steps taken to save state monies like no Anchorage apartment...no chef...security down from 7 to 2, whatever-I'm sorry you have to deal w this w the FOIA even, I know I'm tired of it already. It is important to know that probably a week doesn't go by without me asking if all the rules are being followed...

-- Jason Cherkis

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On April 1, 2008, Palin sent off an email concerned about security lapses at her house, after someone rang her doorbell repeatedly in the middle of the night:

Did the security alarm ever get re-set after you explained to Todd last week that something was wrong with it? And the security camera doesn't show on the tv or home computers anymore. I ask because it's 1:40am and someone's ringing the doorbell again and I can't see who it is without going down there [same thing happened Sunday]. All is fine, but haven't heard if something happened with security camera outdoors.

-- Jason Cherkis

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Sarah Palin's political action committee is urging supporters to delve into the thousands of pages of emails released on Friday and help an effort launched by Conservatives4Palin to "gather links from the email database that prove what kind of leader Governor Palin really is."

A post on the SarahPAC website calls the initiative "a great idea" and highlights a description of the game plan from Conservatives4Palin:

The media went crazy thinking they were going to find a smoking gun on Governor Palin by forcing the State of Alaska to release 24,199 pages of email communications during her time in office. They were wrong and have admitted as much. After the media spent so much time and effort, they discovered no “bombshells,” which of course they were hoping for all along.... ...

The media is cherry-picking small excerpts to highlight, but they are leaving the bulk of the 24,199 pages out of their reports. That’s where you come in…

"We want to show the stuff they aren’t reporting but is still available online," writes Stacy Drake of the media at Conservatives4Palin. "The media wanted to 'expose' what kind of executive Governor Palin was while in office… So, let us oblige them! We need your help collecting and archiving excerpts."

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If you happen to be one of those big-city, East coast reporters tasked with scouring Palin's emails for mentions of the key players in her 2008 election drama, you've probably noticed the prominence of one iconic Alaskan figure in particular: the Moose.

Throughout these emails, the Moose plods into view again and again, and although it generally maintains a low-profile, limiting its appearances to fleeting cameos in conversations on what Palin refers to as "rural issues," it occasionally it comes clattering onto the eight-lane highway of state and national politics.

Amid the din of the "Troopergate" scandal, for example, a reporter from the Alaska Daily News asked Palin to explain an accusation against her made by the state trooper Mike Wooten, whose acrimonious relationship with the Palin family formed the basis of the affair.

Earlier, Palin's family had accused Wooten, Palin's sister's ex-husband, of shooting a moose illegally. (You may recall that this turned out to be one of the central facts of the case.) Now Wooten was suggesting that Palin's father regularly (and illegally) killed moose and caribou using permits that belonged to Palin and her sister.

"Yep, [that] sounds like something Wooten would say," wrote Palin in a July 2008 email. Scoffing at Wooten's credibility as a witness, she continued, "Wooten has NEVER hunted with me, and except for his illegal moose hunt in question he has never hunted moose or caribou with family."

When Palin wrote those words, the Troopergate scandal had just begun to unfold. Earlier that month, she'd dismissed her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan, in a move that would ultimately threaten to destroy her own career.

Remember, the scandal revolved around Monegan's claim that Palin fired him because he refused to sack Wooten, whom she despised. As the scandal developed, Palin repeatedly insisted that she hadn't technically fired Monegan. Rather, she'd offered him a different job –- a job that would have allowed him to concentrate on "rural issues" –- which he'd turned down.

Her defense, in other words, largely rested on her claim that she was deeply concerned about the problems facing Alaska's rural communities, and that it was Monegan's failure to address these problems that led to his dismissal.

But what were those "rural issues", exactly? About a year before he was fired, Monegan forwarded Palin a memo concerning a state police officer, and here again, the Moose rears its antlered head.

According to the memo, the officer had "traveled to the village of Kongiganek to investigate a complaint that several moose had been poached in the area." While looking into the case, "he was confronted by about twenty men from the town and informed that he would not be able to leave the town before attending a town meeting."

Kongiganek is a native village, and it seems that what was at stake here wasn't just the poaching incident but a question of local-versus-state authority. By refusing to let the officer leave, the villagers were asserting their authority over Palin's government.

Much of the material from these emails is redacted, but Palin's response is not. "This has got to be very bright on our radar screen," she wrote, "and I've got to have finding solutions to this type of rural issue as a top priority."

Here, at least, her concern about rural problems appears genuine. Yet there's no indication at this point that she'd begun questioning Monegan's ability to handle these issues. "We have the right people in the right place for such a time as this," she wrote.

-- Saki Knafo

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During the first months of the GOP primary, Palin was not above wanting a little face time with the candidates -- especially top-tier hopefuls Huckabee and McCain. In February, Palin and her aides discussed their attempts to meet with the Arizona senator. In one email, Palin wrote: "He obviously doesn't need Alaska, but it'd still be good to talk to him before too long."

In a subsequent email, she added:

And is there any possibility I could hear from McCain on Alaska's resource development issues? ie. why is he opposed to ANWR oil drilling, why is he hooked up with Lieberman on a few anti-development initiatives?)

If anyone can help me hear from him on that, our state would appreciate it. I'll have a tough time explaining my support for him until I can say I spoke with him about my concerns re: pro-environmental stands he's taking that could hurt Alaska.

-- Jason Cherkis

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In a Feb. 17, 2008 email, Palin flack Ivy Frye emailed Palin regarding an upcoming speech for her she'd been working on for her. She wrote to say that she had taken an angle from Newt Gingrich:

Incorporated in a draft speech what newt said: good conservatives must declare their independence from the r party and start looking introspectively or R's will continue to fail...Man, you really are the PERFECT person to deliver such a msg!

-- Jason Cherkis

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Palin is famously anti-abortion -- she said in 2008 she would oppose it even if one of her daughters was raped -- and pushed for abortion legislation during her time as governor.

Her emails from April 24, 2008, reveal frustration with then-Senate President Lyda Green and other Democrats who opposed Palin's plan to call for a special session to deal with abortion issues. Green criticized Palin for considering for the special session, arguing she should have pushed more for the bills during the regular session, which ended on April 13, 2008.

The state Senate skipped two abortion bills that passed the House during its regular session: one, House Bill 301, that would forbid partial-birth abortions, and another, House Bill 364, that would require women under the age of 17 to get parental consent for an abortion.

Palin's team was frustrated with Green for not bringing up the bills for a vote. After she floated the idea of a special session, Palin emailed Russell Kelly, her legislative director, to find out how lawmakers responded.

"We've heard very little, except from some democrat legislators who were opposed to the abortion bills being added to the call of the special session on AGIA [a natural gas pipeline bill]," Kelly wrote on April 24. "Other random responses were that the letter was well-received among those who are sick of Lyda's games the numbers are MANY."

Palin echoed Kelly's frustration with Green in her response:

Lyda was supposed to call me today between 3-4 between flights, but I never did hear from her. If she does reach me, to chew me out, I'm going to tell her exactly what I think about all this. amazing that Tuckeman and her people succeeded to a degree here on putting the burden on us instead of her being held accountable. We are receiving great criticism by those who are misunderstanding the issue, and the process.

-- Elise Foley

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The Los Angeles Times reports on an exchange that offers insight into the role Sarah Palin's husband played in her administration:

Todd Palin sent his wife an email to her personal account July 4, 2008, complaining that the Peter Pan Seafood operation that he provided with salmon out of the Bristol Bay was "plugged up" -- meaning that the processor was at capacity and couldn't handle any more fish. "Way to [sic] early to be on limits," he wrote. "Just venting."

According to the Times, the then-governor passed along her husband's email to her chief of staff at the time. In forwarding the message, she wrote, "This will have to be another mission we get on."

A fisheries policy adviser to Palin provided her and her chief of staff with an update on the matter days later.

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In the wake of being tapped to be John McCain's running mate in 2008, Sarah Palin received death threats as her presence grew on the political scene.

AFP reports on the revelation:

"She doesn't belong to the NRA (National Rifle Association) to support the right of each citizen to have weapons in an aim of self-defence, but just to support the right of every Southern white citizen to shoot all non-white people legally!" wrote a sender identified as Dominique Villacrouz.

"Sarah Palin MUST BE KILLED," said the email, highlighted by the Los Angeles Times.

In another message dated September 12, a resident in Antwerp, Belgium, also called for Palin to be shot, saying that "only on that moment justice will be accomplished," the LA Times said.

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Amid the scandal involving superlobbyist Jack Abramoff, Palin expressed concern about the taint of corruption hurting Alaska. On March 13, 2008, the day that well-connected law firm Greenberg Traurig was indicted in connection with Abramoff's lobbying, Palin sent an urgent email to Alaska's Attorney General Talis Colberg, asking, "Do we use these guys?"

Palin's revenue commissioner, Patrick Galvin, offered a strong defense of the firm, which represented the Alaska Department of Natural Resources on a gas pipeline project:

"We'1l ask our GT contacts for more information. It's something we'11 have to keep a close on as it develops, On the surface, it appears that it is merely collateral damage from their past association with Abramoff. We knew of the Abramoff connection, but GT has moved past that episode. GT is a huge firm, voted #1 in the US last year by the ABA. There is no indication that this should color the stature GT holds in the gas pipeline regulation arena, but we have to be careful with perceptions."

Palin's concerns did not last. One of the firm's partners, Kenneth Minesinger, met with Palin numerous times to discuss legislative approval for the pipeline. He also reportedly helped advance Palin's career by recommending the firm's PR consultant Marcia Brier to promote the project, reported American Lawyer in 2008. Given a ,000 contract by Alaska, Brier pitched stories to magazines like Fortune and Forbes "about Palin's role in championing the pipeline while standing up to Big Oil," burnishing her maverick reputation.

-- Marcus Baram

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According to a Washington Post account, Palin worried about leaving alcohol around the house: “With so many kids and teens coming and going in that house, esp during this season of celebrationstt [sic] for young people — proms, graduations, etc, I want to send the msg that we can be — and 'the People’s House' needs to be — alcohol-free,” the governor emailed Erika Fagerstrom, the executive residence manager, on May 6, 2007.

But by July 2008, Palin appears to have changed her tune, requesting that Fagerstrom hustle up some bubbly: "Pls get small bottles of champagne for the house. Thanks."

Fagerstorm later replied: "They're in the basement, but let me [know] - we can bring some upstairs. Thanks, E."

Palin responded: "Yes, we'll need some upstairs." She later added further instructions about where the mini champagne bottles should go: "Just in the kitchen wine fridge is all I need at this point. I can bring them up from downstairs...where are they?"

Read the Washington Post story here.

-- Jason Cherkis

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In a February 28, 2008 email, Palin told staff that she welcomed a jab from Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) in a local newspaper article over her not requesting enough earmarks.

Palin said she didn't "mind at all" that Stevens told the Anchorage Daily News that he planned to post all of his earmark requests on his website in response to frustrations he felt over some people — Palin speculated he meant her — not pushing to bring more federal money in for state projects.

"We don't mind at all that Stevens wants to post earmark requests (tho evidently Stevens wanted to do this to ding us ) because it will prove we've only asked for 4 or 5 new ones," Palin wrote.

"Too bad Stevens doesn't see our efforts as being good for him, and really our reform efforts are at the request of him and Young - telling us to quit expecting so many federal dollars."

-- Jen Bendery

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Thanks to Reliable Courier Service in Juneau, Alaska for scanning and sending the Palin emails today.

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In early July 2008, Palin joined Sen. Ted Stevens at an energy-policy press conference. A local reporter asked Palin if her attendance signaled an endorsement of Stevens. She demurred, according to emailed transcripts of the event, telling the interviewer: "I'm on the clock and we're in a federal building so we don't talk about campaigns or endorsements...but I support the Senator's proposals here and his passion..."

The exchange eventually caught the attention of a local radio station. One of the station's reporters suggested over the air that Palin would soon be endorsing Stevens. Staffer Frank Bailey forwarded on his concerns to the governor. "Don't know how you navigate this," he wrote on July 29 at 10:59 p.m, "but the press will pick up on it and try to further shove a wedge between you and ted. just wanted you to be aware."

Just after 5 a.m. the following morning, Palin responded via email: "Never said anything about a done-deal forthcoming endorsement." Another confidant backed up Palin's recollections. Palin responded at 6:24 a.m.: "Amen."

-- Jason Cherkis

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The governor apparently refused to text or email while driving, though she may have been willing to pray while behind the wheel, judging from this July 9, 2008 note to a staffer: "This is Bristol my mom's driving, we say thank you so much and mom and I were just praying about the hurt and anger that comes with her job. Thanks you for your faith in God. We share it and we love you!"

-- Dave Jamieson

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Writing to her attorney general, Talis Colberg, on July 13, 2008, after he recently ran a 5K, Palin says: "I drag my gasping lungs out on the trails maybe twice a week lately -- and that's a good week."

--Dave Jamieson

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Judging from her emails to staff, Palin seemed eager to address the Troopergate controversy publicly, at least before her veep nomination.

In a July 19, 2008 email, Palin told her staff that she'd never gone the "'no comment' route" in the past and that she'd rather talk to legislators and the press directly about the controversy. "I desire to speak to the public on this," she wrote. "Please trust me that the best path forward, in fairness to the public and consistent with an open government without anything to hide, is for me to be freed up to speak."

With regards to a state investigation, Palin wrote, "law makers are insistent on hearing more. No fear of their proposed investigation, but I'd rather save them time and resources and go directly to them and the public on a much more transparent path."

--Dave Jamieson

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In late August 2008, Palin faced intense criticism from wildlife groups for her policy advocating the gunning down of wild wolves from airplanes -- a practice undertaken in the name of predator control, but one seen as wanton slaughter by conservationists.

Along those lines, the Alaska Wildlife Alliance had filed a complaint with the Alaska Public Offices Commission claiming that state officials -- including Palin -- had unduly attempted to influence a pending ballot initiative that would have placed new restrictions on such aerial hunting practices.

Alaska law makes it illegal for elected officials to use state resources to advocate on ballot initiatives there. Nonetheless, the APOC ultimately rejected the complaint.

Still, Palin's penchant for speaking out on ballot initiatives was a sore issue, and she'd similarly raised hackles by opining on the contentious Pebble Mine, a huge gold and copper operation on which another ballot initiative was pending, and over which industry and environmental groups were facing off.

Just before the vote, Palin outraged opponents of the mine by offering her personal opinion that the state's regulatory regime was sufficient to ensure its environmental health and safety.

On August 21, Palin's deputy press secretary, Sharon Leighow, preparing a press release praising the APOC's decision in the aerial hunting complaint, sent an email to Palin with the subject line: "please approve your quote."

Palin's canned words were presented this way:

"It is part of the mission of our state agencies to inform the public and to make sure they have access to the facts," she said. "When both sides of a political debate are making claims about an important public policy issue, our experts must be free to explain these programs to the public."

Palin replied a few minutes later saying "Good quote, thank you."

But then she went on:

"Regarding another aspect of all this recent APOC complaining issue on both predator control and the mining initiative: If you want to personalize my quotes more (if you believe it helps), say: "Alaskans expect me to give an opinion when asked, which is what I do in exercising my First Amendment rights when I'm asked about important issues affecting our state," Palin said. "I haven't hesitated in giving my personal opinion on predator control and the mining initiative, for instance, because Alaskans know by now I'll take a stand and share my opinion if they ask to hear it."

From the look of at least one lingering web artifact, it appears that Leighow simply decided to use it all.

--Tom Zeller Jr.

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Even before McCain picked her as his running mate, Palin was scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention. Over a seemingly endless run of emails, Palin and her staff fussed over flight and hotel arrangements. Finally, Palin seemed to have settled on an itinerary --one that did not include Todd and Trig taking the trip with her.

In an Aug. 9, 2008 email, she draws up a plan and slams the Republican party as not being very supportive. Just another reason to keep the trip short.

Palin wrote:

"The plan seems to make most sense should be to find out exactly when my speech is (two speeches total)...then to travel a day before and a day after that main speech. I don't want to be there five days, no need to. Todd won't be able to go, it appears. So Trig won't be going, all the more reason to keep the trip short.

I don't need staff besides Kris - we need to remember the GOP, for the most part...especially the AK machine...has not had any support or assistance provided our administration so our time and efforts will continue to be spent on serving Alaskans, not party politics. Pls also find out who pays for the trip. Thanks"

--Jason Cherkis

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In mid-August 2008, Palin announced that she would be hosting a baby shower with Trig to benefit military families. But when it came down to writing up the p.r., the governor needed a ghostwriter to help pen a quote about her newborn.

She wrote to her staffers via email: "can u think of a powerful quote to put in there re: we've been blessed with trig, now's a fun opportunity to bless others through kwhl's event.?"

-- Jason Cherkis

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To recap: The Troopergate scandal revolved around the question of why Palin fired her public safety commissioner, Walt Monegan.

In essence, Monegan said it was because he refused to sack Palin's hated ex-brother-in-law, the state trooper Mike Wooten. Palin said it was because Monegan wasn't a good administrator. Palin's real motives may never be known, but so far, her emails appear to be consistent with the claims she made to the public back in 2008.

Monegan can blame "the Wooten issue," she wrote in a July 2008 email, "but he knows it's not true and perhaps he doesn't want a discussion about his administrative skills being made public."

"If Walt tries to go there," she said, "my response is 'nice try.'"

-- Saki Knafo

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In an October 16, 2007 e-mail, Palin disputes and then agrees with the media’s depiction of her strained relationships with Alaska Republican Sens. Ted Stevens and Lisa Murkowski.

Palin wrote to her chief of staff Sean Parnell to “rely [sic] my respect” to the two Senators if he crossed paths with them on an upcoming trip. She went on to question why the media casts her relationships to Stevens and Murkowski in a negative light, only to go back and give reasons for the media’s characterization.

“I think the media blows out of proportion a 'frosty' Stevens relationship... but come to think of it neither he nor Lisa have much reason to be big fans considering my relationship with Lisa's dad and Ted's son,” Palin wrote.

Bad blood between Palin and Murkowski dates back to 2002, when Palin was rumored to be the party’s top choice to replace Gov-elect Frank Murkowski, Lisa's father, in the Senate but he ended up tapping Lisa for the job. Palin later challenged Lisa for the Senate seat in 2004 and lost, but two years later, challenged Frank for governor and won.

Stevens’ son Ben sparked a rift with Palin in July 2004 when, in his post as an Alaska state senator, he called a constituent from Palin’s part of the state “valley trash.” The incident prompted Palin to publicly wear a t-shirt with the slogan “Proud to Be Valley Trash” during her 2006 gubernatorial bid. Later, in 2007, Palin called on Stevens to resign from his post with the Republican National Committee because he was under investigation in an Alaska political corruption probe.

-- Jen Bendery

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Palin and her attorney general, Talis Colberg, tend to stick to business in their many email exchanges. But that's not the case on July 23, 2008, when Colberg tells the governor how she can forget all her Juneau headaches, including Troopergate.

"Yesterday and probably today were rough on you," Colberg wrote. "I have no idea what your movie tastes are like. However last night I went to the glacier cinema... and saw mama Mia and although most of the audience was women I enjoyed it and for two hours my mind was off the legislature. If you are at all inclined to like Abba I recommend it. I always liked abba."

-- Dave Jamieson

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Sarah Palin had vice presidential fever well before the McCan campaign picked her, and made a habit of forwarding glowing fan email to her aides.

There are many examples, but she forwarded a pair of them on June 18, 2008. McCain chose her as his running mate at the end of August.

"I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO SEE YOU RUN WITH JOHN MCCAIN AS VP, OR SOMEDAY PRESIDENT," wrote Marvin Spacek, from Oregon.

"I strongly urge you to run for vice president with John McCain," wrote Ron Pike, from Oklahoma.

-- Mike McAuliff

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Sarah Palin and her staff were very excited about writing a bill to repeal an Alaska State fuel tax. Especially because the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), then hunting for a vice presidential pick, would be impressed by the legislation.

Wrote aide Ivy Frye, after her boss cheered the bill:

I'll send to McCain's camp after presser or the bill comes out. They're going to love it!... More vp talk is never a bad thing, whether you're considering vp or not. say President Palin sounds better tho...

-- Mike McAuliff

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HuffPost's Elise Foley reports:

Sarah Palin appeared to sour on the so-called "Bridge to Nowhere" in 2007, writing in private emails to her staff that she might support returning funds for the bridge to the federal government for other infrastructure projects.

As the bridge, planned to connect the 50-resident Gravina Island with another island, began to draw fire from critics who called it pork-barrel spending, Palin appears to have had something of a change of heart on the issue, according to a trove of emails from her time as Alaska governor released on Friday.

Palin officially abandoned the plan for the bridge in Sept. 2007, a move touted during her campaign as John McCain's running mate the following year. Palin was widely criticized for claiming to have killed the "Bridge to Nowhere" because funds to the project had already gone dry.

But although she had previously supported the bridge, private emails reveal that she did not simply end the project to score a political win.

Read more here.

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It’s no secret that tension increased between the Palin and McCain camps over the course of the campaign. Surprising, though, is how quickly such discord developed.

In an email forwarded to then-Governor Palin by her communications director William McAllister, a man, identified only as “Phil,” refers to the “McCain hacks” who helped write a speech Palin gave. The email, dated Sept. 3, 2008, was sent before the end of the Republican National Convention and a mere five days after the announcement of Palin’s selection as GOP running mate.

Unfortunately, neither a full name nor email address is given for “Phil,” and the extent of his involvement in the campaign is unclear. Yet the fact that Sarah Palin’s “gatekeeper” forwarded the email on to her suggests that there was some agreement at the highest level of the campaign about the sentiments he expressed.

-- Samuel Haass

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Some apparent misinformation had been floating around concerning Alaska's Department of Public Safety. On Aug. 19, 2008, Palin brainstormed a counterattack via email:

"Very, very concerning the 'untruths' coming from them. I am dumbfounded at this, as I have never worked in an organization where these unethical practices seem to go ignored and unanswered. The lack of accountability is appalling in all of this. It is so concerning, the damage that is being done and the public trust that is eroding, that we need to gather as much information as possible, including FOIA-ing emails, tapes, communications in all forms, regarding the untruthful information being spread to the public."

-- Jason Cherkis

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Just two weeks before being tapped for the number two slot on the Republican ticket, Palin was claiming that her invite to the annual GOP picnic must have been, er, lost in the mail?

"I read that the annual picnic was this evening, and it was noted that I wasn't there," Palin wrote on the evening of August 11, 2008. "If anyone asks, I was not there bc I did not know about it, never saw any invitation -- as far as I know I was not invited. Janice may have seen something come through invitations, she may verify, but I didn't receive anything on this."

-- Tom Zeller Jr.

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