Democrats are blasting Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for announcing that she will reject nearly half of the economic stimulus money coming to her state from Washington, accusing her of putting national political ambitions ahead of her constituents.
Palin, the Republican vice presidential nominee last year, announced Thursday that she will accept 55 percent of the estimated $930 million in stimulus cash, leaving it up to legislators to decide if they will request any of the rest.
Palin said she would accept money that is "timely, targeted and temporary" and does not create strings that will bind the state in the future, she said, according to the Associated Press. "I can't attest to every fund that's being offered the state in the stimulus package will be used to create jobs and stimulate the economy, so I'm requesting only those things that I know will."
Democratic National Committee spokesman Brad Woodhouse called Palin's decision "appears to be nothing more than political posturing."
"At a time when her state is suffering, Alaska's working families cannot afford a governor that puts her political future ahead of the needs of the state and its families," he added.
Alaska Democratic Party head Patti Higgins and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bob Poe plan a conference call this afternoon to pile on.
Some Republican state legislators have also questioned Palin's choice. A Democratic state representative, Les Gara of Anchorage, said he was shocked the governor would consider turning away money, especially for schools and new teachers when the state has a 40 percent high school dropout rate, according to the AP. He accused the governor of thinking only of her own national political prospects.
Palin, who joins a few other GOP governors in rejecting some stimulus money, said she was acting in the best interests of Alaskans.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.