September 12, 2008

Aides: Palin Pursued Populist Agenda

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin did not advance her socially conservative views after she became Alaska's governor, observers say.

During her 21 months as governor, Palin pursued an agenda that strengthened ethics rules and raised taxes on oil and gas companies, a former adviser told USA Today.

"She has governed from the center," said Rebecca Braun, author of the non-partisan political newsletter Alaska Budget Report. "She has in some small ways supported her religious views -- for example, proposing money to continue the office of faith-based and community initiatives -- but she has actually been conspicuously absent on social issues. She came in with a big oil and gas agenda, which really required Democratic allies to get through."

Palin signed into law a bill that increased state taxes on oil profits, imposing a graduated scale so the state's share would increase when oil prices rise.

Palin's faith is part of her core, said John Bitney, Palin's issues adviser who worked as her legislative liaison before she fired him. "But we never put those issues forward in the campaign. She takes the positions she takes because that's who she is, but when she came into office, that wasn't her agenda."