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Al Giordano is breaking this story over at the Field.  Apparently Sarah Palin had a private tanning bed installed in the governor's mansion, one of her first acts as governor:

"The governor did have a tanning bed put in the Governor’s Mansion," Roger Wetherell, chief communications officer of Alaska’s Department of Transportation and Public Facilities, confirmed to this newspaper. "It was done shortly after she took office [in early 2007] and moved into the mansion."

Digg It!!!

Palin did not register the tanning bed as a gift, as required by ethics laws, so one could surmise she paid for it with her own money, but the governor's mansion underwent electrical wiring updates soon after she took office, which would be required to supply the increased voltage such industrial model beds require.  However:

Asked whether taxpayer funds were used to equip the Alaska Governor’s Mansion for Palin’s tanning bed, Public Facilities spokesman Wetherell confirmed that the mansion’s electrical system had been upgraded early in Palin’s term. He insisted that the electrical work was not prompted by the extra needs of a tanning bed, but, rather was part of a project undertaken to bring the historic mansion’s wiring up to current building standards.

The Field was unable to verify the make, model, and price of the bed, but it was bought at a discount from a health club.  

Wetherell was not able to provide the name of the health club, the model of the tanning bed, nor the price Palin paid for the machine, which means there is no way of verifying, at this point, if Palin did, in fact, purchase it with her own money, and if so, whether she received a discount off market value exceeding $150 in deference to her position as governor.

UPDATE:  It's important to remember, that while WE focus on the issues and records of the candidate's, the undecided voters, at this stage in the game, are almost completely swayed by nonsense like this.  

UPDATE II:  I should, of course, remind everyone that there was 5 and 1/2 years when John McCain didn't have a tanning bed.  Just so you didn't forget.

UPDATE III:  For those of you idealists and hand-wringers who are delusioned enough to believe that the last few undecideds will be swayed by pointing out that Palin actually lobbied for the Bridge to Nowhere, please remember past elections.  Which side utilizes subtle (and stupid) stories to tarnish the "street cred" of the candidates.

John kerry Wind-surfed.

John Edwards gets $400 haircuts.

Al Gore "invented the internet".

Elections turn on the irrelevant....and we are handicapping ourself if we don't sling shit like the best of them.

Yes, Palin was chosen as a personality front in the culture war--which is why personality issues are the only thing that will stick to her.

Al's take on the story, from comments at the Field:

It's entirely possible that you're right. This story - as it says in the text and as I say here - is not the most important matter out there. "Stipulated" is the word we use in the story.
That said, I can tell you that this story is 100 percent documented, and carefully so, and therefore won't backfire.
On the other hand, it is also possible that it will spread like a media virus in interesting ways, and shake the trees on some of the other matters it touches upon. We'll see.
The story doesn't attempt to demonize its subject, or call her a bad person, or attack her character or her family: it simply brings out a new piece of factual information that helps flesh out a more informed picture of America's newest celebrity.


Finally, Tremayne over at OpenLeft makes the argument that attacking Palin is paying off.

Originally posted to foxsucks81 on Sun Sep 14, 2008 at 09:45 PM PDT.

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