Obama picks Palin foe for Alaska pipeline job
President Barack Obama picked Larry Persily, a former-aide-turned-critic of former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, to be federal coordinator for Alaska Natural Gas Transportation Projects.
In that position, Persily — who became one of Palin’s most vocal in-state critics — would oversee plans for a massive, long-desired Alaska natural gas pipeline.
Obama asked Drue Pearce, the Republican who held the job in the Bush administration, to leave the post last month.
Persily is a former Alaska journalist who has worked for both Democratic and Republican politicians. He worked for more than a decade on oil and gas issues for three Alaska governors, including Palin.
He resigned from her office before she was picked as John McCain’s running mate on the ticket that lost to Obama and Joe Biden. Since then, he has been quoted repeatedly criticizing Palin.
For example, Persily called Palin a flamethrower, telling CNN: “She yelled fire in a crowded theater. She really did, in some of her speeches –‘palling around’ with terrorists and some of the other slurs she was hurling in the way of Obama and the Democrats.”
“That turned off an equally big chunk of the American public that found it distasteful, destructive, divisive, mean and ignorant. Whereas others said, ‘Way to go girl. You stick it to them,” he said.
On the Huffington Post website, Persily questioned Palin’s assertions in her stump speech and during her debate with Biden.
Some conservatives criticized the appointment as payback for Persily’s harsh comments about Palin.
Picture credits: A section of the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline is seen heading south near Glenallen, Alaska August, 10 2008. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson and Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin attends a signing for her book “Going Rogue”, in Fairfax, Virginia December 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Theiler