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Sarah Palin thinks ‘out of the box’ on credit card reform

Daniel Ray

In an interview conducted four days before she was named to the Republican ticket, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said that the Republicans had to start thinking “out of the box” and “grab hold of some issues the Democrats are slacking off on” — issues such as credit card reform.

Gov. Palin made the statement during an interview with Maria Bartiromo, best known for hosting “Closing Bell” on CNBC, but who also does a regular column for Business Week. The interview appears in Q&A format on Here’s one of Bartiromo’s question and Palin’s answer to it:

“Middle-class Americans who pay their bills on time are seeing their credit-card rates jacked up, but the Democrats, like Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Biden, who has long had deep ties to that industry, don’t seem to be reacting to that issue. Do you see an opportunity there for Republicans?”

“Yep. Here again, Republicans have got to be observant of what is going on in the Democratic Party, and if Republicans are going to finally reform our own party — and I am convinced we have to reform — we’ve got to not embrace the status quo and just be going along to get along. We have got to get out of the box, and we’ve got to start doing some really unconventional thinking here and grab hold of some of these issues that the Democrats are slacking off on. It’s not only our responsibility to Americans, but it’s our opportunity to show that this party is not going to be controlled by just special interests and the pork-barrel politics of the past, but we are going to reform and we are going to be serving for the right reasons.”

It’s not the first time Palin has urged creative use of plastic. In May 2008, she had proposed an energy cost-relief plan that would have given Alaskans debit cards worth $100 per month. The debit cards would have been coded so they could only be used for energy costs. She dropped the idea in the face of opposition from the Alaska legislature.

She didn’t answer Bartiromo’s credit card question head-on, but it certainly hints that she would welcome action on a front that her running mate, Sen. John McCain, has been silent on.

So when it comes to plastic, Palin’s remark sets up an interesting dynamic in both tickets.

Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has joined in the call for increased credit card reform, announcing his idea for a Credit Card Bill of Rights. Obama’s running mate, Sen. Joe Biden, however, has a history of support for the credit card industry, a big industry in his home state of Delaware.

While Palin seems willing to entertain the notion of credit card reform, her running mate has been mum on the topic. McCain can’t even get a decent rate on his personal credit card, reporting that he pays 25.99 percent on his joint credit card with his wife, Cindy — a rate that’s just not offered to people with good credit. That’s more than 10 percentage points higher than the average rates of any class of credit card tracked by, and very close to the average penalty (default) rate of 26.9 percent, as reported in a new survey by Consumer Action.

See related: Credit cards and Joe Biden, Obama may reform McCain’s personal credit card rate, 3 presidential candidates, 2 credit card reform plans

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  • kmg

    It doesn’t hint any such thing. It is a generic bash-the-enemy response (Democrats are bad, reform-minded Republicans will think outside the box) that could have been issued in response to just about any question touching even obliquely on reform. It’s an embarassingly predictable response from a person with no governance experience at the national level.

  • Sara M

    Real Reason why McCain chose Palin : Sexist and condescending
    Also his poor record of voting against equal pay for women and opposing Equal Roles for Women in the Military
    should be the business of American women voters.