From Kyle Hopkins in Anchorage --
Just got back from the Stevens & Palin press conference, and then another by Begich.
I need to get cracking on the newspaper story, but here’s a quick sample of what Stevens and Palin had to say about their joint appearance:
(If there’s time, I’ll try and post video tonight.)
I asked: Governor, your appearance was kind of a surprise today. Can you talk about how that came about and whether or not we should see this as kind of an endorsement of Sen. Stevens for re-election?
PALIN: Well it’s, I’m on the clock and we’re in a federal building. So we won’t talk about campaigns or endorsements. All that comes later.
But I support the Senator’s proposals here and his passion to again allow Alaska to be heard and to lead with an American energy policy that has been, I believe has been sorely lacking. And it is time to step up, work together. Others are looking to us to see how we are going to work together through this energy crisis, and from here forward.
So I’m honored to get to be here…
STEVENS: No announcements will be made here …
… What we’ve been describing is a process that’s going to take place over the years. And I hope to work with her over the years. That’s as far as I can go right now.
(Mayor Mark Begich, after his own press conference moments later, said not to read too much into Palin’s presence.)
At the Stevens and Palin press conference, KTUU reporter Jason Moore asked the two about the perceived rift between them -- where Palin called on Stevens to talk about FBI search of his home and criticizing earmarks, and Stevens “not exactly having glowing endorsements of AGIA.”
STEVENS: I don’t really object to the comments made about my earmarks. I think that you know, they’re part of a period of need. I’m not sure -- with the money that’s coming into the state, I don’t think that we’re going to get many earmarks in the future.
We developed our earmarks in a period of need and found a way to bring these federal agencies in here through the Denali Commission and other things like that. I don’t object to people who objected to that.
I think the investigation is another matter. And I do think she, the governor had every right to say what she did. I don’t take any umbrage about it and never talked to her about it at all.
I wish I had her freedom to speak about it. But I don’t. You know it's, it's there, it's continuing and that’ s all there is to it.
But as far as getting along. … Hell, I don’t know if you know it but when Frank Murkwoski was first elected, this lady and I and the mayor of Cordova, Margie Johnson, traveled around the state for two weeks.
We’ve known each other for a long time and worked together for a long time. I’ve never known of any animosity between us at all.
We’re each free to make comments about what the other does. And every once in a while, she’ll say I’m stupid, and that’s probably – she may be right. (laughter)
PALIN: I have great respect for the Senator and he needs to be heard across America. His voice, his experience, his passion needs to be heard across America so that Alaska can contribute more. So that we can be producers. So that we can help lead the rest of the U.S.
I again have great respect for him. And I agree there’s a big difference between reality and perception regarding our relationship.
STEVENS:(Inaudible) object to the first edition of the Sarah and Ted show, I hope it will continue.
From Sean Cockerham in Anchorage --
Ted Stevens outlined his energy package today in Anchorage and Gov. Sarah Palin showed up and endorsed the plan.
Reporter Kyle Hopkins was there. He called and said Palin wouldn't say whether her presence meant an endorsement of Stevens. The event was in a federal office building and was supposed to be "official" rather than "campaign."
Kyle said the plan includes legislation to regulate oil speculation, knocking down oil prices by 30 to 35 percent, according to Stevens. Long term, the plan calls for federal revenue from the opening of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (if it ever happens) to go to alternative energy. At first blush it doesn't sound too much different from what Democratic challenger Mark Begich is proposing. But Kyle is going to come back to the office with more details after he goes to a Begich press conference.