The centerpiece of Dino Rossi's campaign: Labeling U.S. Sen. Patty Murray as a tax-and-spend liberal. Exhibit A has been his play to vilify earmarking—line items that senators and reps get into the federal budget. (Of course, those line items aren't additional spends—you have to knock out other expenditures to get yours in. Additionally, earmark items make up less than one percent of the federal budget.)

Nonetheless, Murray's knack for scoring earmarks—she ranked 9th last year—has been Rossi's metaphor for her out-of-control spending.

However, his critique just got a bit trickier.

Last month, Dino Rossi's campaign tried to undercut Murray's record as a champion for funding veterans' services—saying they believe Murray supports reckless government spending  that endangers "worthy" spending programs like the VA.

But guess where Murray's VA spending shows up.

This year, Murray secured nearly $1,000,000 (in earmarks) for two housing and service centers geared toward homeless Washington veterans and their families, according to

In addition, Murray's campaign office says she has made four veterans-related funding requests for 2011, which would total up to $1,375,000. These projects include a veterans' employment service center, job training programs for female veterans, computers for veterans' employment services, and community voicemail for homeless vets.

Murray's funding requests for veterans' job training programs undercut Rossi's critique. Rossi said in a press release last week, "When servicemen and women leave active duty, they need to know they can find a job. They need to know that their kids and grandkids won't be burdened by this massive debt. ... Senator Murray has put this in jeopardy as well."

We asked Rossi's campaign whether they found any of these spending projects objectionable; in response they sent us a link to Rossi's open letter to veterans with pledges to solve VA problems, but didn't answer the question.
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