'Parnell got rolled,' Berkowitz ad contends

Alaska Dispatch- October 5, 2010

The TV commercial shows the buttoned-down Berkowitz in, yes, a buttoned-down plaid shirt and blue jeans (and bright orange construction vest: nice touch!) standing in front of a newly paved road. He's holding a copy of AGIA -- the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act -- pushed through by Gov. Sarah Palin and now supported by Parnell that, among other things, threw state support for a gas pipeline to TransCanada and Exxon Mobil and committed up to $500 million in state money for preliminary work on the project.

But now Berkowitz throws AGIA (literally) under the giant rollers of the yellow road compactor as it rumbles by.
"Sean Parnell is giving TransCanada and Exxon $500 million for a gas pipeline but didn't require them to build it," Berkowitz says. "Sean Parnell got rolled."

Berkowitz, of course, has proposed letting Alaskans kick in part or all of their Permanent Fund dividend checks to help get a gas line built, another idea that is not quite fleshed out yet.

Still, Berkowitz intones, "We should build an all-Alaska pipeline ourselves with all-Alaska workers, and that's not getting done. Alaska isn't a place where we sit around and wait for anybody. And neither should your Governor."

That line could also be a metaphor for the campaign. Berkowitz certainly isn't waiting to get his ideas -- and face -- before the voters, either, although Parnell appears to be holding back on that front as well. For the past couple weeks, TV viewers have gotten to watch Berkowitz wrestle a four-wheeler around the North Slope carrying a propane tank that he ostensibly transports down to Anchorage, another slap at Parnell's inability to get the gas line built.

As of Tuesday, Parnell had not purchased any TV spots from the usual suspects (KTUU and other large media outlets), according to Berkowitz's campaign manager, Jon Blair, who keeps s close eye on such things. That was Parnell's strategy going into the Aug. 24 primary as well -- no media purchases until the last minute when he seriously drained his campaign treasury to counter a commercial whirlwind by GOP primary opponents Bill Walker and Ralph Samuels.

Blair says Berkowitz has "spent very carefully" throughout the campaign so he would have money left going into the final stretch before the Nov. 2 general and the ability to get his message out to voters.

Reports filed Monday with the Alaska Public Offices Commission showed that Berkowitz and running mate Diane Benson have about $80,000 left in the bank compared to about $40,000 for Parnell and his running mate, Mead Treadwell. Berkowitz and Benson also outraised Parnell and Treadwell in the five weeks since the primary by about $30,000.

UPDATE: Here's Sean Parnell's response, attributed to the governor himself, not a campaign spokesman:

"First, Ethan Berkowitz can't escape his record of supporting a North American gasline route no matter how many ads he plans to run. This is the same Ethan Berkowitz who supported the MidAmerican deal in 2004, even though the Alaska Gasline Port Authority was touting the 'All-Alaska' gasline at the time. Why didn't he support it when he had the chance? Worse, this ad comes the day after Alaska reaches the close of a second successful natural gas pipeline open season. We're in historic territory with a plan that allows for a route to Valdez for LNG export, and Berkowitz wants to stop and start over? Alaskans deserve a clear plan and real answers, not more gimmicks."