Goofs mar Palin's Reagan college tribute, legal fund appeal

Following in others' grand tradition of demonstrating gaps in knowledge while addressing a university, Sarah Palin told a crowd at a fundraiser at California State University in Stanislaus last weekend that Ronald Reagan, personal hero and inspiration, was a California college graduate. She told the cheering crowd: "This is Reagan country, and perhaps it was destiny that the man who went to California's Eureka College would become so woven within and interlinked to the Golden State."

There's just one problem here: Reagan went to Eureka College in Illinois from 1928 to 1932, the Alaska Dispatch reports. He didn't move to California until five years after his graduation. There's no Eureka College in California (though there's a town of Eureka that has a College of the Redwoods nearby).

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Immediately after her speech, a live microphone caught voices in the press area trashing the former Alaska governor, Mediate reported. "The dumbness doesn’t just come from soundbites," one complained. The Fox affiliate owned the microphone but says their reporters did not make the comments.

Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports on a more serious recent mistake of Palin's political organization. Administrators for her legal defense fund accidentally sent out a rough draft of an email to thousands of supporters that falsely claimed she faced "millions of dollars" in legal fees because of "frivolous" ethics suits against her. The corrected version of the email said the fees numbered in the hundreds of thousands, not millions.

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Critics say several more claims in the email were not true. The email said 26 of 27 ethics violations against Palin were dismissed outright, which is false: Three moved into the investigative phase. One inquiry resulted in a cash settlement; another found that ethics had been abridged but declined to recommend legal proceedings because the charge involved the dismissal of the head of the Alaska state trooper force, who was an at-will employee of the governor.

The email also alleged that the Democratic National Committee created a website whose goal is to keep Palin out of public office — a charge that the organization says is untrue.

Last week, the earlier incarnation of Palin's defense fund was ruled illegal because it used the word "official." The decision forced the fund's administrators to pay back the $400,000 in donations they raised, and to launch the newer version of the fund. (6.29.2010, Liz Goodwin)

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