Scientist Counters McCain’s Mockery of Bear Study

March 12, 2008 10:30 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Sen. McCain ridicules earmark-funded research that uses DNA analysis to track grizzly bears. The study’s head says pork barrel spending isn’t all bad.

30-Second Summary

The call to end pork barrel spending has become a refrain of Sen. John McCain’s election campaign. He has been particularly critical of the Northern Divide Grizzly Bear Project, a study examining bear DNA.

"I don't know if it was a paternity issue or criminal," McCain said, "but it was a waste of money."

But Katherine Kendall, the lead scientist on the project, says that her study was a “scientific and logistical triumph."  She told The Washington Post that the DNA was mostly used to enable a head count of the animals.

“There’s never been any information about the status of this population. We didn’t know what was going on—until this study,” Kendall said.

While nobody wants to defend unfettered government spending, some politicians, including a few Republicans, have taken issue with McCain’s opposition to earmarks.

Earmarks, also known as pork
, are attached by congressmen to appropriations bills to direct money to specific projects, thereby circumventing established budgetary procedures.

Some say that earmarks have gotten an undeserved bad rap thanks to a few unscrupulous politicians.

“The abuses get the headlines, but the ‘bad apples’ don’t tell the whole story. In fact, earmarking is a way to fund projects that have special applications or meet critical needs,” said David Ushio for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin.

A commentator for The Huffington Post predicts that earmarks will be a major issue in the fall elections if Sen. Hillary Clinton runs against McCain.

Headline Links: McCain, the bear study, and 2007’s pork record

Reference: The definition of ‘earmark’

Opinion & Analysis: Profligate spending or benefit to communities?

Related Topics: The political battle over earmarks


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