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Top Of The Ticket

Alaska will take 69%, thanks

March 22, 2009|Andrew Malcolm and Robin Abcarian

In a not really very shocking move, Alaska Republican Gov. Sarah Palin says she's not going to take all of the federal stimulus money available to her state because of strings attached.

In an equally unshocking but somewhat puzzling double move, the Democratic National Committee criticized Palin for leading the state that takes the most federal money per capita and also criticized her for not taking more of it.

On Thursday, Palin, the lipstick-wearing, gun-toting, snow-machine-riding darling of the GOP's conservative wing in last fall's presidential campaign, said she would accept "only" 69%, or about $642 million, of the $930 million available to Alaska.

The total acceptable to her includes $514 million for capital projects and $128 million for an increase in Medicaid reimbursements.

It'll be up to the state Legislature to decide on the remaining money and accepting or rejecting the federal regulations that come with it.

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'Newsmaker' may not make news

We are not making this up:

Barack Obama was elected commander in chief promising to run the most transparent presidential administration in American history.

This achievement and the overall promise of his historic administration caused the National Newspaper Publishers Assn. to name him "Newsmaker of the Year."

The president was scheduled to receive the award from the federation of black community newspapers in a White House ceremony Friday afternoon.

The Obama White House has closed the press award ceremony to the press.

From the president's official schedule:

"Later in the afternoon, the President and the First Lady will attend a reception with the National Newspaper Publisher Association in the State Dining Room, where they will be presented the Newsmaker of the Year award. This event is closed press."

Maybe they'll let the newspaper people pass the award through the White House fence.

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Maybe now he's buff enough

President Obama's second Southern California town hall, on Thursday, included an appearance by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger, recall, has supported the president's stimulus package -- one of the few Republican governors to have done so. And of course, his wife, Maria Shriver, made that famous last-minute endorsement of Obama on the eve of the California primary when her cousin Caroline Kennedy came to town and they appeared at an Obama rally at UCLA with Oprah Winfrey.

We are so happy to be able to now share one of our favorite moments on the campaign trail. We were there on Halloween, in Columbus, Ohio, when Schwarzenegger joined Sen. John McCain onstage and dissed the physical prowess of then-candidate Obama BIG TIME. Schwarzenegger has a deep connection to Columbus, which hosts the annual Arnold Classic bodybuilding competition. He told the crowd:

"The Arnold's Classic is all about building up the bodies and pumping up, and that's why the next Arnold's Class, I want to invite Sen. Obama, because he needs to do something about those skinny legs. We're gonna make him do some squats, and then we're gonna go and give him some biceps curls to beef up those scrawny little arms. But if he could only do something about putting some meat on his ideas."

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andrew.malcolm@latimes.com

robin.abcarian@latimes.com

Read Top of the Ticket, The Times' blog on national politics, at latimes.com/ticket.

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