The Truth-O-Meter Says:

Sarah Palin "has had 12 years of elected office experience."

John McCain on Saturday, August 30th, 2008 in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Ten years in municipal government, two as governor

The day after John McCain selected Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to be his running mate for the presidential campaign, McCain defended his pick from questions about her experience.

Chris Wallace, who interviewed McCain on Aug. 30, 2008, for Fox News Sunday , asked McCain several questions about why he selected Palin. Here's one exchange:

Wallace: "You have criticized Obama as being, quote, 'dangerously unprepared to be president.' In the sense of national security and foreign policy specifically, isn't Sarah Palin even more dangerously unprepared?"

McCain: "Oh, no. Look, she has got the right judgment. She has got the right judgment. She doesn't think, like Senator Obama does, that Iran is a minor irritant. ( That's a claim we previously ruled False. ) She knows that the surge worked and succeeded, and she supported that. ...

"So she has had 12 years of elected office experience, including traveling to Kuwait (as governor to visit the state's National Guard), including being involved in these issues. And look, I'm so proud that she has displayed the kind of judgment and she has the experience and judgment as an executive. She has run a huge economy up there in the state of Alaska. Twenty percent of our energy comes from the state of Alaska, and energy is obviously one of the key issues for our nation's security."

Here, we'll examine McCain's claim that Palin has 12 years of elected office experience.

Palin first took elected office in 1992, when she was elected to the city council of Wasilla, a town of 5,469, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, near the city of Anchorage.

She served on the council until she made her first run for mayor in 1996, ousting a longtime incumbent. (The vote was 617 to 413, according to press reports from the time.) She won a second three-year term as mayor, serving until 2002. Counting her time as mayor and on the council, Palin spent 10 years of elected office in Wasilla's municipal government.

In 2002, Palin ran for lieutenant governor and lost. She did not run for elected offfice again until 2006, when she won the race for Alaska's governor, ousting incumbent Frank Murkowski in the primary and then beating Democrat Tony Knowles in the election, 114,697 votes to 97,238. She took office on Dec. 4, 2006.

Palin was about three month's short of two years in the governor's office when McCain made his remarks, but we'll round up because it would be 12 years total elected experience if the ticket wins and takes office in January 2009. We rule McCain's statement True.

About this statement:

Published: Sunday, August 31st, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Subjects: Candidate Biography


Fox News, Fox News Sunday

Alaska Governor's Office, Sarah Palin biography

Almanac of America Politics, Gov. Sarah Palin

Associated Press, Timeline of Palin's life and career

Anchorage Daily News, "Palin wins Wasilla Mayor's job," Oct. 2, 1995, accessed via Nexis

Anchorage Daily News, "Rebel status has fueled front-runner's success," Oct. 24, 2006

Alaska Division of Elections, 2006 elections results

Written by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Researched by: Angie Drobnic Holan
Edited by: Amy Hollyfield

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