Early in the debate, McCain said that the amount spent on earmarks has increased greatly in recent years, that earmark spending has gotten out of control. We have done some research on this at CCPS, and have found that it is not necessarily true that earmarked spending has gotten so much worse. Although it is hard to count "earmarks" (in part because they are defined differently by different committees and agencies) and even harder to count the actual dollar amounts attached to them, we pieced together an aggregate dollar amount for each year from 1994-2006 and found that although the number of earmarks increased, the value of the earmarks as a total percentage of the discretionary budget did not change.
Senator McCain keeps referring to General Petraeus (who I love and have followed his story, in part because he has a PhD and has surrounded himself with a staff full of PhDs, something I am hoping to have soon). Does McCain know that Petraeus is actually no longer in Iraq, that he left on September 16? Here's the "Change of Command" video from Pentagon TV.