"In her short time in the United States Senate, the senator from New York, Senator Clinton, got $500-million worth of pork barrel projects."
John McCain on Sunday, February 3rd, 2008 in a campaign event in Fairfield, Conn.
Clinton brought home even more bacon
McCain boasted that he never sought special projects for his state, while Clinton had sought too many.
"In her short time in the United States Senate, the senator from New York, Senator Clinton, got $500-million worth of pork barrel projects. My friends, that kind of thing is going to stop," McCain said.
We have previously found exceptions in McCain's claims about his own pork (we gave him a False in this item), but he's right that Clinton brought lots of federal money to New York. It's just that he dramatically understates how much pork she got.
After she was elected in 2000, Clinton spent her first term focusing heavily on parochial issues. Often joining forces with the senior senator from New York, fellow Democrat Charles Schumer, Clinton issued a blizzard of news releases touting federal money such as $250,000 for "artspace" projects in Buffalo, $200,000 for the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum, $200,00 for the YWCA of Niagara and $69,036 for the golden nematode project at Cornell University (yeah, we had to look it up: the golden nematode is a pest that harms potatoes).
The McCain campaign says it got the $500-million figure from two news stories — a Los Angeles Times, report from December 2007 that said "since taking office in 2001, Clinton has delivered $500-million worth of earmarks that have specifically benefited 59 corporations," and a report in The Hill , a Washington, D.C., political newspaper that said Clinton obtained at least $530-million in federal money from the first three of the 13 appropriations bills approved in 2007.
But those reflect just a portion of Clinton's prolific pork production.
Taxpayers for Common Sense, a group that tracks congressional spending, has identified about $2.2-billion in Clinton projects in her seven years in the Senate. The group won't publish its final database for several weeks, but Keith Ashdown, an investigator for the group, said a preliminary analysis showed Clinton has brought home far more in federal money than the other senators in the presidential race, McCain and Barack Obama.
Ashdown likened Clinton to Al D'Amato, the famous pothole politician who represented New York from 1981 to 1999. "She has used the power of the purse to take care of a lot of areas of New York," Ashdown said.
So McCain is right that Clinton has brought truckloads of bacon to her New York constituents. McCain just dramatically understates the amount. (McCain's campaign said he was simply being "conservative" with his claim.)
For our ruling, we find that while McCain's numbers are low, he's actually more correct than he realizes because she's brought so much pork to New York. We rate his attack Mostly True.
Published: Monday, February 4th, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.
Subjects: Federal Budget
Sources:Clinton Senate office, Clinton: Congress Approves $250,000 for City of Buffalo to Help Create Local Artist Space
Clinton Senate office, Senator Clinton Secures $200,000 for the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
Clinton Senate office, Clinton Announces Key Senate Panel Backs $200,000 for YWCA of Niagara
Los Angeles Times, Clinton rolls a sizable pork barrel, Dec. 10, 2007
The Hill, Clinton tops 2008 rivals, Nov. 9, 2007
Interviews with Keith Ashdown, Taxpayers for Common Sense, and Brian Rogers, McCain campaign (by e-mail), Feb. 4, 2008
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