Palin travel expenses scrutinised

US vice-presidential candidate claimed allowance while staying at home, paper says.

    Palin was formally nominated at last week's
    Republican National Convention [Reuters]

    Palin's spending and record in office as Alaska governor are coming under intense scrutiny as she has presented herself as a champion of ethical government and cutbacks in spending.

    The newspaper's report also said Palin's husband, Todd, and their daughters were reimbursed by taxpayers for trips between Wasilla and Juneau as well as for a variety of other travel that was also listed as state business.

    Palin's aides said travel by Alaska's first family is part of the job and that the figures were considerably lower than that of her predecessor, Frank Murkowski.

    Obama on attack

    Meanwhile, Barack Obama, the Democratic candidate, launched his most scathing attack on the Republicans' claim that they are the candidates who will bring "change" to Washington.

    "The other side, suddenly, they're saying 'we're for change too'. Now think about it, these are the same folks that have been in charge for the last eight years," the Illinois senator told a crowd of 2,400 people at campaign rally in Virginia.

    In focus

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    "You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap up an old fish in a piece of paper and call it change. It's still going to stink after eight years. We've had enough," he said to a standing ovation.

    Opinion polls released on Tuesday said the race for the White House between Republicans and Barack Obama's Democrats remained extremely close.

    A poll conducted by ABC and the Washington Post said 47 per cent of voters were for Obama and 46 per cent for McCain.

    Obama maintained a one per cent lead in a CNN poll with 49 per cent support and McCain 48.

    However, a CBS News poll had John McCain pulling ahead, with a two point lead over Obama, 46 to 44 per cent.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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