WALL STREET JOURNAL POLL: Fifty-five percent of respondents say she’s not qualified to serve as president if the need arises, up five points from the previous poll. In addition, for the first time, more voters have a negative opinion of her than a positive one. In the survey, 47 percent view her negatively, versus 38 percent who see her in a positive light. That’s a striking shift since McCain chose Palin as his running mate in early September, when she held a 47 to 27 percent positive rating. MORE
PEW RESEARCH CENTER FOR THE PEOPLE AND THE PRESS: In addition, Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing – if not an increasing – drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view. In mid-September, favorable opinions of Palin outnumbered negative ones by 54% to 32%. Women, especially women under age 50, have become increasingly critical of Palin: 60% now express an unfavorable view of Palin, up from 36% in mid-September. Notably, opinions of Palin have a greater impact on voting intentions than do opinions of Joe Biden, Obama’s running mate. MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin charged the state for her children to travel with her, including to events where they were not invited, and later amended expense reports to specify that they were on official business. The charges included costs for hotel and commercial flights for three daughters to join Palin to watch their father in a snowmobile race, and a trip to New York, where the governor attended a five-hour conference and stayed with 17-year-old Bristol for five days and four nights in a luxury hotel.
In all, Palin has charged the state $21,012 for her three daughters’ 64 one-way and 12 round-trip commercial flights since she took office in December 2006. In some other cases, she has charged the state for hotel rooms for the girls. Alaska law does not specifically address expenses for a governor’s children. The law allows for payment of expenses for anyone conducting official state business.
As governor, Palin justified having the state pay for the travel of her daughters — Bristol, 17; Willow, 14; and Piper, 7 — by noting on travel forms that the girls had been invited to attend or participate in events on the governor’s schedule. But some organizers of these events said they were surprised when the Palin children showed up uninvited, or said they agreed to a request by the governor to allow the children to attend. Several other organizers said the children merely accompanied their mother and did not participate. MORE
THINK PROGRESS: In an interview with CBS’s Katie Couric yesterday, Gov. Sarah Palin continued her refusal to endorse the scientific consensus on man-made global warming. Palin claimed there is some human contribution to climate change, but she also added the common right-wing claim that global warming is a result of “cyclical” weather patterns:
COURIC: Is it manmade in your view?
PALIN: You know, there are man’s activities that can be contributed to the issues that we’re dealing with now, with these impacts. I’m not going to solely blame all of man’s activities on changes in climate because the world’s weather patterns are cyclical and over our history we have seen changes there. Kinda doesn’t matter at this point…what caused it. MORE
POLITICO: The Republican National Committee has spent more than $150,000 to clothe and accessorize vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin and her family since her surprise pick by John McCain in late August. According to financial disclosure records, the accessorizing began in early September and included bills from Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis and New York for a combined $49,425.74. The records also document a couple of big-time shopping trips to Neiman Marcus in Minneapolis, including one $75,062.63 spree in early September. The RNC also spent $4,716.49 on hair and makeup through September after reporting no such costs in August. The cash expenditures immediately raised questions among campaign finance experts about their legality under the Federal Election Commission’s long-standing advisory opinions on using campaign cash to purchase items for personal use. MORE
CNN: Palin also apologized Tuesday for any misunderstanding caused when she referred last week to the patriotic values of “the real America” and “pro-America areas of this great nation.” Democrats and others criticized Palin for seeming to imply that some parts of the country are more patriotic than others. Palin denied that was her intention in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. “I don’t want that misunderstood,” Palin said. “If that’s the way it came across, I apologize.” MORE
POLITICO: Warming up a crowd in North Carolina on Saturday, Republican Rep. Robin Hayes offered the diagnosis that “liberals hate real Americans that work and achieve and believe in God.” His remarks came shortly after he had said he would “make sure we don’t say something stupid, make sure we don’t say something we don’t mean.” Hayes had followed Rep. Patrick McHenry, also a North Carolina Republican, who laid out the choice between McCain and Obama. “It’s like black and white,” yelled someone from the crowd. MORE
THINK PROGRESS: Today, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) sat down with CNN for the first time. During the interview, CNN reporter Drew Griffin noted that “socialism” has “come up on the campaign trail.” But when Griffin asked, “is Barack Obama a socialist,” Palin dodged and deferred to “Joe the plumber“:
PALIN: I’m not going to call him a socialist but as Joe the plumber has suggested, in fact, he came right out and said it, it sounds like socialism to him and he speaks for so many Americans who are quite concerned now after hearing finally what Barack Obama’s true intentions are with his tax and economic plan. MORE
SHOCKER: McCain Agrees With John Murtha, Western PA Is Racist