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Palin says she would helm energy policy as VP

At a rally in Vienna, Ohio, Tuesday, Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said that, if elected, she would lead the nation's energy efforts.

By Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor / September 18, 2008

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin greets supporters after a rally with running mate John McCain in Vienna, Ohio, Tuesday.

AP Photo/Mark Duncan

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At a rally in Vienna, Ohio, Tuesday, Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin said that, if elected, she would lead the nation's energy efforts.

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"John and I, we've discussed some new responsibilities that I'm going to have as vice president," Reuters reports Palin saying at the rally. "First, I'll help to lead the mission of energy security."

McCain counts Palin among the nation's top energy experts. In a Sept. 11 interview with newscaster Rob Caldwell of WCSH in Portland, Maine, the Republican presidential nominee said that the Alaska governor "knows more about energy than probably anyone else in the United States of America."

But Palin's recent statements about energy have prompted some to doubt this assertion. Last week, in an interview with ABC's Charlie Gibson, Palin claimed that Alaska "produces nearly 20 percent of the US domestic supply of energy."

This is false. As the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Factcheck.org, pointed out, in 2005 Alaska was responsible for only 3.5 percent of US domestic energy production, and only 2.4 percent of the energy consumed in the US.

Palin subsequently tweaked her claim. At a Sept. 15 campaign event in Golden, Colo., she said that as governor her job "has been to oversee nearly 20 percent of the US domestic supply of oil and gas."

This claim is also bogus. According to a report [PDF] by the Energy Information Administration (hat tip to the Washinton Post's Fact Checker blog for the link), in 2005 Alaska produced only 7.4 percent of US oil and gas.

Though objectively false, Palin's claim is not without its defenders. In his blog, David Rees, a cartoonist best known for his satirical political strip, Get Your War On, says that Factcheck.org's figures don't tell the whole story:

Did you ever stop to consider that maybe that 3.5% statistic doesn’t include the INCREDIBLE ENERGY AND VITALITY PRODUCED BY SARAH PALIN HERSELF?!? And that if you factor in that energy, Alaska does indeed produce 20% of America’s domestic energy supply?

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