This is someone who is going to balance the budget and reform Congress?
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) has requested nearly $2.3 billion in federal earmarks for 2009, almost three times the largest amount received by a single senator this year.
The Democratic presidential candidate's staggering request comes at a time when Congress remains engaged in a heated debate over spending federal dollars on parochial projects.
It also has gained traction on the campaign trail. Presumptive GOP nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), a longtime foe of earmarks, has called for eliminating what he dubs "wasteful Washington spending." Democratic front-runner Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) has spurned earmarks, seeking no funds for pet projects in the upcoming fiscal year.
Yet Clinton is continuing to request billions for earmarks, most of which will go to her home state.
The money is needed for homeland security, emergency response and health projects throughout New York, according to documents provided by her office.
No doubt the money is needed for those worthy causes - it just begs the question why she can't request the money in the normal budget process? Perhaps there are some FOB's in the mix - one reason to hide the spending. Or perhaps Clinton doesn't want to do the work necessary to shepard these programs through the Senate.
It certainly gives the lie to any claim she may have as a budget hawk. And it opens a potent vein of attack for John McCain to exploit if the need arises and she becomes the Democratic nominee.