And neither can the Associated Press in its reporting of yesterday's McCain-Palin campaign stop in Missouri, where the two criticized Obama for requesting nearly one billion dollars in earmarks for Illinois:
"Just the other day our opponent brought up earmarks — and frankly I was surprised that he would even raise the subject at all," Palin said. "I thought he wouldn't want to go there."
Obama hasn't asked for any earmarks this year. Last year, he asked for $311 million worth, about $25 for every Illinois resident. Alaska asked this year for earmarks totaling $198 million, about $295 for every Alaska citizen [Sara Kugler, "McCain, Palin Criticize Obama on Earmarks," AP via Yahoo News, 2008.09.08].
I just mashed up some numbers on earmarks and population by state. In 2005, before all this presidential election brouhaha really got going, the median per capita earmark for the 50 states and District of Columbia was $69.57 (enjoyed by folks in Oklahoma). Alaska ranked second, the only state to bring home* more than one thousand dollars per citizen ($1,062.98). Only D.C. got more per capita, $1,263.67. Illinois ranked 44th, drawing $36.94 per citizen.
For perspective, South Dakota ranked 15th, with Thune, Johnson, and Herseth finagling $109.42 for every man, woman, and child in our fair state.
Among the states, seven of the top ten winners of earmarks per capita are among ten least populated states. And overall, states that went for Bush in 2004 were slightly bigger winners of earmarks per capita than Kerry states (Bush states averaged $63.62 per capita; Kerry states, $58.78).
You can download my spreadsheet and play with the numbers yourself. In the meantime, I will continue to view the Republican rhetoric with a strange combination of mirth and disgust as McCain and Palin repeatedly trot out the most blatantly deceptive sound bites I've ever heard. As Obama said this weekend, the GOP must think we're stupid.
p.s.: Sioux Falls Regional Airport has just won a $500K federal grant to help in its effort to convince American Airlines to give Sioux Falls a connection to Dallas. Any local GOP ready to argue that's a reason to throw Johnson, Herseth, and Thune out of office?
*I keep wanting to say earn, but that's clearly not the right verb for earmarks.