Palin tweets to Miller's defense

Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2010

ANCHORAGE - Sarah Palin is among the conservatives rallying behind beleaguered Alaska Senate candidate Joe Miller, after records showed that Miller admitted to lying about improperly using government computers while working as a borough attorney.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, Palin accused the media of ignoring Miller's "winning record," message and plan for Alaska's future to favor "their Leftwinger chosen one." Palin promised to help "expose the truth and 'refudiate' the bull" at a "Change D.C." rally with Miller in Anchorage on Thursday.

Miller, a fiscal conservative, faces write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski, whom he beat in the GOP primary, and Democrat Scott McAdams in Tuesday's election. Palin has tangled politically with Murkowski previously.

Miller's personnel file, released Tuesday by court order in a lawsuit by The Associated Press and other news organizations, included Miller's written admission that he had lied initially about accessing three co-workers' computers to participate in a political poll to oust the chairman of the Republican Party of Alaska and about reasons why he used them.

He said there was "no excuse" for any of it and that he was willing to accept punishment, the records showed. That punishment included the loss of three days pay and taking part in an employee assistance program.

Conservatives rallied to his cause Wednesday.

Some bloggers considered reports about the records overblown. Miller retained the support of Randy Ruedrich, who remains as chairman of the state GOP party, as well as that from the likes of South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint, whose support for Miller "continues to increase," said Matt Hoskins, a spokesman for DeMint's Senate Conservatives Fund PAC.

"He's been cool under fire, he's taken a lot of hits and he's sticking to his principles and it's admirable," Hoskins said. The PAC has given Miller's campaign $10,000 and spent a quarter-million dollars independently supporting him.

Palin's PAC has also given Miller $10,000. Palin was among those, who with Miller, sought to remove Ruedrich in 2008.

Palin had made a name for herself in state politics for exposing ethics violations by Ruedrich when they served together on a commission. Ruedrich, who admitted in part to conducting partisan political activity from his state office, was fined.

At least one Miller supporter sees this as a minor distraction.

Kevin Clarkson, 51, a Republican from Anchorage, said he wishes Miller put this all to rest months ago. Questions about Miller's employment arose during the primary, when the campaign and borough released at times heavily redacted documents from his personnel file.

That said, he didn't see anything in the disclosures beyond what Miller himself has spoken to or that amounted to his receiving more than a "slap on the wrist, basically." And none of it is enough for him to support Murkowski.

He doesn't think she has been held to the same standard when it comes to her record or past. And even though he voted for her in 2004, he can't get past her father appointing her his Senate seat when he was elected governor in 2002.

"It's time for change," he said. "Joe has demonstrated to me not he's not a polished politician, but I'd prefer someone who's not a polished politician at this time."

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