The Anchorage Daily News, like a stern, foot tapping, step-father, finds continual problems with Alaska’s young, popular, attractive Republican governor.
1. Too popular. Anchorage Daily News reporter Sean Cockerham notes that Gov. Sarah Palin’s “celebrity status” at the recent Republican Governors Association meeting is different than that of previous Alaska governors.
"Her trip to Miami for the Republican Governors Association in the second week of November took about three days, the governor's office said.
"Visits to the Republican Governors Association are nothing new for Alaska governors. But Palin's trip to Miami was different, reflecting her celebrity status. She dominated media attention at the conference and did an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. 'Poolside paparazzi' photos were even taken of Palin and circulated on the Internet."
The Anchorage Daily News is especially concerned about travel expenditures of the Alaska governor or her staff.
2. Who’s Paying for the Trip? The Anchorage Daily News and reporter Cockerham worry about who will be paying for Gov. Palin’s trip to Georgia and Philadelphia. Palin spokesman Bill McAllister noted that Alaska pays for the Philadelphia governors meeting with President-elect Obama, and the Chambliss campaign pays for the Georgia side trip:
“McAllister said Palin will be in Philadelphia on Monday and Tuesday, and the state will pay for it. He said the Chambliss campaign will pay for Palin's side trip to Georgia.”
3. Even if Alaska is not paying, how is Alaska benefited? Turns out it’s like a personal day. The benefit is that Saxby Chambliss is pro drilling in ANWR and his opponent Jim Martin is anti drilling in ANWR.
“Palin will have four rallies for Chambliss in Georgia on Monday, in Augusta, Savannah, Perry and suburban Atlanta. Asked how this benefits Alaska, McAllister compared it to a vacation day.
“‘Well, I don't know. It's a political event, so I'm reluctant to comment much on it. But she works pretty hard, so you could consider it a day off,’ McAllister said. ‘I don't know that it necessarily has to have a direct benefit for Alaska, although probably you could make some argument there's an indirect one.’"
A later Anchorage Daily News article notes that:
"'Sen. Chambliss is a vote for ANWR. His opponent is a vote against ANWR. So there are implications for the state of Alaska in the outcome of that runoff,' McAllister said."
4. What about other possible expenses? Are any of the Palin children going? Palin’s children, like the children of other Alaska governors, have their travel expenses paid by the state when traveling with their governor/parent. Cockerham and the Anchorage Daily News are concerned that some Palin children might be going with her and cost Alaska money.
"McAllister said he didn't know if any Palin family members would be going. Her husband, Todd, and children were often prominent on the campaign trail as she campaigned for vice president. The governor also sometimes brings her children with her when she travels on state business, at state expense."
None of Palin’s family did not travel with her. But, the Anchorage Daily News is still concerned. Another Anchorage Daily News reporter, Kyle Hopkins, notes that an aide, Kris Perry, who is Palin’s liaison to state officials, did travel with Palin because of the governors’ meeting in Philadelphia.
5. How much will the aide’s travel expenses cost? Both McAllister and the director of administrative services for Gov. Palin are asked about this. Final costs won’t be known until the end of the trip.
“The Chambliss campaign will pay for the Georgia leg of Palin's trip, McAllister said.
“But the state will cover the costs for Palin's aide Kris Perry to join her on the campaign trail, he said.
“Palin is always considered "on duty" and Perry's role is to serve as her liaison to state officials, McAllister said. The governor's family is not traveling with her.
“Linda Perez, director of administrative services for the governor, said she wouldn't know how much the trip cost until the travelers return.”
Are the lawful travel expenses of any other state governor and the expenses of aides similarly a bone of contention? Haven't heard about it in my state. But, the Anchorage Daily News is concerned about the smallest of matters with this governor.