Is John McCain set to initiate an attack on Hillary Clinton? Little more than an hour ago, the McCain campaign put out word that the Republican will shortly hold a press conference in California to talk about “Sen. Clinton’s defense earmarks,” the many millions of dollars in federal funding Hillary has secured for New York military contractors. New York has previously noted the senator’s cozy relationship with some defense contractors, but then, isn’t this what senators do, work to bring money home?
Well, sort of. “Given that New York is not a huge military-contracting state like California or Connecticut, Hillary Clinton has been working overtime to steer Pentagon funds to the state,” William Hartung, an arms-trade expert at the New School, just told us. “This year alone she has taken credit for two dozen projects worth over $800 million. If she wants to be the commander-in-chief, she should be pushing programs on their merits, not on the basis of pork-barrel politics.” Hartung calls one project Clinton championed, the presidential helicopter built by Lockheed Martin, a potential “burden for taxpayers that may not perform as advertised” and suggested she’s touted some projects as designed to protect troops in Iraq or Afghanistan when they’re really entirely unrelated. It’s “misleading at the least, if not outright unethical,” he said. No doubt McCain will have more to say. —Geoffrey Gray
UPDATE: Aha! The RNC talking points on Hillary’s pork, out today. (It’s a PDF.)
UPDATE 2 Lockheed Martin emailed at the Clinton campaign’s request. “According to the Navy, the VH-71 program is ‘on track’ to meet VH-71’s in-service date of October 2009, and that the program is meeting the government’s original cost estimate,” the statement said. “It is important to note that the original program of record was slated for an in-service date of 2013, but was accelerated by three years. As to Senator Clinton’s support for the VH-71 program, we’ve enjoyed — and continue to enjoy — tremendous bipartisan support from elected officials across the United States who recognize the urgent need for this program.”